There are a lot of things to talk about this week, and I want to get to as much of it as possible. I am really concerned about our local hospital capacity. Please stay home as much as possible, always wear a mask & wash your hands often. Please support our neighbors whose homes are in danger of burning down in the Bighorn wildfire.
Finally, we need to talk about what we all found out about this week. I want to apologize in advance if I don’t address every issue that the horrible incident involving three members of the Tucson Police department and a young man named Carlos Adrian Ingram-López.
I urge you to remember his name: Carlos Adrian Ingram-López. He was a young father who was loved by his family. He was going through a tough time. Many of us have loved ones who have gone through tough times, and many of them come out of it. As we continue with the difficult conversations over the coming months, keep him at the front of your mind.
The incident prompted our police chief to offer his resignation. The Mayor, City Manager, City council members as well as members Mr. Ingram-López’s family agree letting the Chief go would be a mistake. We also agree there was a failure within the department to communicate the seriousness of this incident to top leadership, and that needs to be dealt with. Not being apprised of situation until 2 months after the incident is unacceptable. That being said, the body camera footage and much of what allowed the public to grasp the horror of what happened are examples of many policies that Chief Magnus has implemented. I want those policies to continue. I am relieved to report that as I write this, I have gotten word that the Chief Magnus has made the decision to remain In his position.
There will be a review from the department above and beyond the one done by TPD’s Office of Professional Standards. The review of the conduct of the individual officers has been done, and the next step is up to the Pima County Attorney’s office as to whether the officers will be charged with criminal misconduct. However, questions about training, equipment and procedures need to be answered. Chief Magnus has implemented an additional review process for critical incidents like this. The public will be given the chance to see what comes of it. I am further proposing that TPD develop a criteria for critical incidents and initiate a procedure that requires the video and other pertinent information be reviewed by the Chief or Deputy Chief and a special appointed civilian not employed by City of Tucson within 96 hours of incidents like this. Furthermore, I feel that information must be released to the public in a timely matter.
TPD offers several resources to officers for response ranging from TPD’s own Mental Health Support Team to simply calling the Fire Department who can offer EMS support in incidents like this one. We have a drug deflection program which allows people who are facing drug charges to seek help in lieu of jail. We have a homeless protocol program which allows facilitates the engagement of people in crisis with social workers in the field instead of criminalization.
TPD has started and expanded the Community Service Officer program. These are unarmed but trained officers who do things from taking burglary reports to patrolling parks. I’d like to see that program expanded further.
Many of these resources were either supported or initiated by Chief Magnus.
I’d also like to see us use the Fire Department’s excellent TC-3 program as a model. TC-3 is their team to respond to calls when a fire truck would not be the best response. They work with social agencies to identify needs, particularly of those who call frequently. It is not a perfect fit, I know, but I’d like to see those ideas inspire something at TPD.
I was a juvenile probation officer for twelve years, for some of that time I was a resource officer in the Sunnyside School District. I never wore a gun; I was armed with little more than my Master’s Degree in Social Work. However, my training allowed me to be in situations with some rather dangerous people but not have to resort to anything more than a stern conversation.
I wasn’t dealing with the same day-to-day peril that a police officer does, I’ll admit that. But it also goes to show that there are calls that we don’t necessarily need to send a police officer to. There’s a call for a fleeing armed robbery suspect, definitely yes, send an officer. The response to a kid vandalizing a wall at a local playground? Maybe we can develop a system of resources that more appropriately address certain calls for service.
We are Tucson, and something good can come out of this. In the coming months despite all of the challenges we face, we will stand together, heal together and thrive together.