Paul's Note - October 4, 2017

Tucson lost one of its finest citizens this week. Roger Tamietti, former Tucson Fire Department captain, union leader and friend to many of us passed away on Wednesday morning after cancer surgery.

I came into this job with a lot of swagger, but I was quickly overwhelmed. I met Roger on my third day. He was the friendliest guy of any of the people I had met in that first week, and the only one that made me feel like I was up to the job. He had a way of making everyone around him comfortable. It was his gift, and not one that you will find many people have.

Roger came to my parents’ house to meet me for breakfast once, he had my mom’s homemade bagels. He’d always ask after my mom by name after that, and wonder when the next time would be that he could have some bagels.

I was proud to call him friend. When he retired we lost a great fire fighter. Now, we’ve lost a great leader and a wonderful human being. I’d like to extend my condolences on behalf of the entire city to Roger’s family: wife Suzi, children Dustin, Sloan, Erika, Lindsey, Candice and Arlee and all of his grandchildren.

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My staff had a conversation with the police this week. They’d like to remind people to call 911 in an emergency. I know that sounds like the same thing we’ve been hearing for decades, but there are so many channels for people to get in touch with police now that sometimes neighbors will post on Nextdoor or Facebook or e-mail someone in police command rather than calling 911.

Sometimes they even call the Ward 2 office. My staff is great, but they aren’t equipped to do anything about that suspicious person walking down your alley.

Captain Lane, who heads up police operations on the East side, gave an example. Let’s say that there is a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood. If a call gets made to 911, the details are logged. It is likely a low priority call, so it could be a while before there is a response. However, even if the vehicle is gone by the time a patrol unit gets there, detectives will have the information about the vehicle available for follow up. That information would likely never come to anyone’s attention if it is put up as a post on social media or an e-mail to another city official.

Rather than being for reporting specific incidents, Nextdoor is a great tool for finding about trends in your neighborhood. For example, if you want to alert your neighbors about a rash of stolen mail in your area. The police are also on Nextdoor and give advice.

Speaking of the police, they have hired more community service officers over the last year. They can handle non-emergency calls, like taking burglary reports. They also are doing some simple code enforcement, things like weeds and inoperable vehicles. If you call our office for these sorts of code enforcement matters, you’ll notice that they are able to respond right away where a code inspector called out for a more complex issue may take a few days.

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I’ve told you before about the Helping Hands group that meets at my office every Thursday between 10 – 12. They’ve been here knitting and crocheting blankets and other items for hospitalized veterans, neonatal units and the homeless for years. I’m proud they are here at my office.

They are always looking for new knitters and crocheters, by the way. If you can knit or crochet and have some time to come in, they’d love to have you join them.

They are also participating in Project Mittens. Project Mittens is a program that distributes hats, mittens, scarves and blankets to the most vulnerable segment of Pima County’s population. Pima County Public Library branches serving the neediest areas of Pima County distribute the items throughout the winter months. To date over 5,000 items have been given away.

Of course, Helping Hands is knitting and crocheting these items themselves. You don’t have to. Just bring your donations down to our office and we have a special collection box for them.