Paul's Note - August 30th, 2019

As I’ve written before, the officers of Tucson Police’s Operations Division East (also known as Team 4), which covers all but a handful of neighborhoods in Ward 2, have adopted new tactics to fight crime on our side of town.

They have been very effective. If you look at what are called Part 1 crimes (homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny from motor vehicles and auto theft), they are down significantly. This past July, there were 202 Part 1 crimes reported. In July of 2018, there were 389. That’s nearly a 50% decrease.

This doesn’t only come from tactics, but from the hard and smart work from our police officers. Also, we’ve done a lot in the last 18 months to bring our staffing numbers to levels that match other cities our size, both through a pay package that helps us retain good officers as well through recruitment of new ones.

I worked hard with both TPD command staff and the Tucson Police Officers Association on getting that pay package passed. We are also working on something else that’s very important: getting more officers on the streets.

We currently have 831 officers, but we have 45 in training, either at the academy or in field training. We have authorized three academy classes where we hope to train 20 officers each next year. The target is 925 officers by fiscal year 2022.

We are actually in a recruitment period right now that goes through September 16. If you or someone you know would be a good fit for our department, have them make a visit to www.jointucsonpd.org. All applicants need to be 21 by the time the 22 week academy is over.

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I’ve been advocating for more aggressive water conservation in our community and stormwater harvesting is a big part of that. Our monsoon this year has not been up to the torrential standards we are used to, but still we get a lot of water this time of year. Instead of letting it run into the streets where it can cause all sorts of problems, wouldn’t it be better to water our landscapes with it?

My colleagues and I set up a program, paid for by Tucson Water’s conservation fund, to do just that. It’s a program run by Tucson Clean and Beautiful.

Tucson Clean and Beautiful works closely with neighbors to help them envision, plan, and realize small scale stormwater harvesting projects that can mitigate flooding and increase tree canopy along their neighborhood streets. If your neighborhood association is interested, please visit https://tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org/trees-for-tucson/neighborhood-stormwater-harvesting/

I know that several Ward 2 neighborhoods have taken advantage of this program, and it’s already done a lot to help increase the greenery along our streets.