Paul's Note - October 18, 2019

In 1881, 22 citizens of Tucson met at the Gem Tavern to organize Tucson's volunteer fire company. They selected Jack Boleyn, who owned a dry goods store, as chief. The company had 22 buckets, 6 axes, 9 picks and 2 shovels. Within two years, the city funded a regular (and better equipped) fire department and kept Boleyn on as chief.

27 people have served as chief since Boleyn's time. Number 28 was pinned on Monday, Chief Chuck Ryan.

Chief Ryan comes to us from Fairfax County (Virginia) Fire and Rescue, which had 1,400 commissioned personnel serving 1.1 million citizens. There he served as an assistant chief. His duties included overseeing fiscal services, information technology and fire prevention services. He served with that department for 25 years. In that time, he attained every rank in that agency and served as an instructor at the National Fire Academy.

He didn't come to the fire service in a traditional way. He graduated from the Franciscan-run Siena College and went on to graduate from Pepperdine Law School. He first connected with Fire and Rescue as a volunteer firefighter/EMT in 1991, but was hired by the department in 1994. 

During the ceremony, there was a lot of talk about change in the department. Ryan also recognizes that a lot of great and innovative work has been done at Tucson Fire. For example, it was Tucson Fire along with the University of Arizona that developed compression-only CPR, which is the current standard across the country and has led to many people in our city surviving heart attacks. Ryan himself pointed to Tucson's TC-3 program, which is an innovative way our emergency personnel now treat people that feel they have to use 911 frequently. In his remarks on Monday, Ryan said that his department used our program as a model for one they developed there.

Welcome to Tucson and welcome to Tucson Fire, Chief Ryan. There is a lot of history and high standards you have to live up to, but you have our city's confidence.


Every quarter, the command staff for Operations Division East of the Tucson Police Department (also known as Team 4) meets with neighborhood leadership and interested citizens. They call it the Division Advisory Committee and they met this week.

Captain Justin Lane reported an alarming statistic, 16 incidents involving break-ins or thefts of vehicles. That’s 16 in the past week. He said that all but two of those cases would have been prevented if the owner had locked their car doors.

He also noted that most cars built in the past decade cannot be hot-wired, but there are still things that car owners should be worried about. One is that when you buy a new car, there is often a “valet key” in your driver’s manual. A potential thief would know to check for this. Also, make sure that your car keys are stored far enough away from your car so that the chip in your key doesn’t activate your keyless entry system.

ODE got a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety that will allow them to keep motor patrols on the road for more hours. One of the focuses of their enforcement will be to prevent pedestrian accidents here on the east side.

If you are interested in being part of a future Division Advisory Committee, please contact my office.