Paul's Note - November 14, 2019

Chuck Ford passed away last week. He ably represented the residents of Ward 4 for two terms from 1979 to 1987.

My family and his shared meals together and I golfed with him occasionally. What was always great about speaking to him was his relentless positivity about our community. He knew we had problems, but he loved Tucson and Tucsonans.

If you didn’t know him personally or as a public servant, you’ll no doubt recognize his name because the old Lakeside Park is now named for him. This wasn’t just a matter of his colleagues slapping his name on something because they felt he deserved the honor, but his work on the council helped save that park when the dam failed.

Much of our park system on the east side can be attributed to Chuck’s advocacy. It’s a legacy I was happy to contribute to when we completed improvements to Jesse Owens Park, a park he had renamed shortly after Owens’s death.

Thank you Chuck and my sincere condolences to his widow, Doris, a wonderful force in this community in her own right.

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I’d like to send well deserved congratulations to the cross country team at Ward 2’s Gridley Middle School. The boys won their first state title and seventh city title this year. The girls team won the city title. Congratulations to their coaches, Tim Watson and Jeri Saiz.

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Chief Magnus sent us an update. The first question many of you have is how many officers do we currently have? There are 795 deployable sworn with an additional 44 non-deployable sworn (medical, FMLA, military deployment, administrative leave, etc.), plus 59 in training (Basic Academy, Field Training, etc.), 48 Community Service Officers (CSOs).

We have also trained a new class of SWAT operators. Among the seven officers certified is Officer Ariel Giessuebel, Tucson’s third female SWAT operator and the second trained over the last five years.

Another piece of good news is that crime is down significantly in all categories except aggravated assault, which ticked up slightly (2%) over this time last year.

  2018 YTD 2019 YTD Difference

Homicide

44

36

-18%

Sex Assault

414

414

0%

Robbery

1063

964

-9%

Agg. Assault

1679

1683

+2%

Burglary

2825

2150

-24%

Larceny

19751

15013

-24%

Auto Theft

2186

1819

-17%

Another thing he noted was some of the work that Assistant Chief Hall is doing:

On October 7, 2019, Assistant Chief Kevin Hall presented to an Arizona Legislative Ad Hoc Committee at the state capitol on police-driven alternatives to arrest with a focus on treatment as an alternative to jailing addicts with “pocket drugs.” The presentation was received with great interest by the committee members and there was an unusual level of questions and engagement.

Assistant Chief Hall also met with multiple stakeholders within the city and county to determine next steps on pending changes effective Jan. 1, 2020 related to the service of (domestic violence related) Orders of Protection. This new process, mandated through the Administrative Office of the Courts, requires law enforcement to serve all orders of protection within their jurisdiction. The process, database, and training have yet to be provided by the state and much confusion exists. The AZ Criminal Justice Commission staff will present a training and informational session on Nov. 20th in Tucson where the department hopes to gain greater clarity as to the expected process and potential increase in workload. This TPD project is headed by Lt. Troy Perrin with assistance from the department’s legal advisors.

As a former probation officer, I know that both of these proposals will have a positive effect on our community and I’m glad to see Chief Magnus and Chief Hall working on them.

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We met as a council to certify election results this week, which gives me another chance to thank all of you for the tremendous support you gave me on election day. I really appreciate it.