TPD is committed to increasing equity—internally, in the department, and externally, in the community.
Internally, the department strives to hire and promote members who reflect the diverse community we serve. Externally, we work with the community to address their problems and concerns, to bring in appropriate resources and partners, and to put the right work in the right hands. We know that police response is not the solution to every problem. Alternative response, or co-response, is often a better, more effective solution.
Where an initiative is specific to a particular division, that division appears in parenthesis. Operations Division South, West, Midtown and East are ODS, ODW, ODM and ODE. Central Investigations Division is CID. Community Engagement Division is CED.
- TPD members attend community and neighborhood meetings and host outreach events.
- TPD works with and in City Parks to engage with the community, especially during special events (e.g. attending neighborhood association events, school events, ward events, and faith group events).
- TPD members attend neighborhood meetings; participate in neighborhood and park clean-ups, Boys and Girls Clubs programs, Goodwill programs, bike safety programs. (ODS)
- TPD participates in neighborhood associations and business coalitions to address community concerns, including: Alvernon Grant Initiative, 29th Street Coalition, 5th and Speedway Coalition, and more. (ODM)
Community Service Officers (CSOs)
- Far more than any other police department in the state, TPD Community Service Officers respond to a wide variety of calls for service without an armed officer accompanying them. CSOs are professional staff, not peace officers. They cannot arrest or detain people and do not carry a gun. TPD currently has 54 CSOs, with an additional 36 going through either Basic Training or Field Training. By comparison, TPD has 407 officers assigned to the TPD Patrol Division. CSOs are often deployed for community engagement.
- A Community Engagement Squad of Police Officers and Community Service Officers (CSOs) participates in outreach events, contacts targeted victims, and focuses on crime prevention. (ODM)
- TPD is adding to the job duties of CSOs, and a CSO is currently leading ODE’s community outreach and crime prevention efforts. Having an intern, possibly from one of our refugee groups, shadow our CSO, could benefit the department, the community, and the intern. ODW also uses CSOs to help with point control and outreach.
Gun Violence Reduction
- To reduce violent crime in areas where it is high, Place Network Investigations (PNI) bring together multiple government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and residents to address a wide variety of factors (economic, environmental, social) that create conditions conducive to crime and violence.
- TPD coordinates efforts with Parks and community groups to set up recreational opportunities for underprivileged youth living in PNI areas. One that we’re focusing on is creating a safe recreation area for underserved youth near our ODE PNI site, as there are no parks, playgrounds, or other recreational activities within walking distance of the apartment complex.
- Youth outreach: We partner with nonprofits that help at-risk youth, often at schools, to do outreach to youth affected by or involved in gangs. There has been a trend of youth, ages 13-16, recruited to join gangs through social media and being arrested for violent crimes such as homicide, aggravated assault, and armed robbery. These youth often come from minority or impoverished backgrounds. (CID)
- Violence prevention: Gun violence disproportionately affects minority and low-income neighborhoods, creating very serious quality of life issues for everyone in the community. TPD works proactively to address gun violence, often partnering with ATF on investigations. Investigators develop leads through speaking with patrol officers and community members in affected areas and through tools such as NIBIN, which compares gun casing and recovery data to a national database. This approach has helped identify suspects tied to multiple incidents, removed guns and narcotics from the streets, and prevented retaliation through quick intervention. TPD also conducts surveillance on people suspected of violent acts where probable cause for arrest does not yet exist. This often leads to additional information, search warrants, and arrests. (CID)
- TPD uses data to spot problems and trends, to design appropriate responses, and to evaluate the effectiveness of those responses. This includes call for service data, police reports, payroll records, and other records. Data management and analysis is appropriately prioritized by TPD (we are adding people to that division), as it is how we improve and provide better and more equitable service to the community.
- TPD’s new records management system, Axon, will be far more customizable than its old system. TPD is also moving from the federal government’s old Uniform Crime Reporting system to its new National Incident Based Reporting System, which impacts the design of the Axon RMS. NIBRS requirements also mean that TPD is engaging Lexis Nexis as the vendor to host a redesigned online crime reporting form, made necessary by the federal government’s increasingly stringent data requirements.
- Sexual and physical abuse: TPD is working with TUSD Family and Community Outreach, creating a curriculum for parents and students on how to protect themselves and others from sexual assault and physical abuse. TUSD schools are almost all Title 1 schools and serve a majority minority population. (CID)
- Domestic violence outreach: TPD members meet regularly with Emerge! and other community groups to offer domestic violence education in English and Spanish. (CID)
Mental Health, Substance Misuse, and Unsheltered
- Mental health diversion program: If a person is a danger to self or others, persistently and acutely disabled, or gravely disabled, officers can use discretion to transport that person to the CRC (Crisis Response Center), even if they have committed criminal acts. People can be transported voluntarily or involuntarily with an approved mental health petition.
- Mental health co-response: A CMT (Crisis Mobile Team – behavioral health professionals who provide assessment, stabilization, and may triage the person to a higher level of care) used to be embedded in TPD’s MHST (Mental Health Support Team) unit, but now CMTs are dispatched by the Crisis Line in response to requests from law enforcement or the community.
- PSCD/Crisis Line co-location program. TPD remains closely involved with this program’s operation, evaluation, and design. Crisis line supervisors are co-located in the 911 call center to triage incoming calls more efficiently and divert crisis situations to the crisis system as opposed to the criminal justice system.
- Substance use deflection program: patrol officers can deflect people with personal use amounts of narcotics and paraphernalia to treatment, rather than arresting them. Charges are not held over the person’s head regardless of whether or not treatment is successful. Overcoming addiction typically takes several tries. Substance misuse is a public health issue, and people with fewer financial resources to draw upon have difficulty accessing treatment. This program began in the summer of 2018.
- With TPD’s current conversion to Axon as its records management system vendor, more customizable data collection will better support efforts to address equity, e.g., adding fields to capture if a person is unsheltered or suffers from substance misuse or a mental/behavioral health disorder. Such information can help the agency pinpoint needs and develop responses that better serve the community and prevent further criminal activity.
- Unsheltered: The HOT (Homeless Outreach Team) partners with service providers, TPD patrol divisions, and other city departments to work on solving underlying causes of homelessness, as opposed to enforcement being the first response. (CED)
- SURT/HOT co-response: SURT (Substance Use Resource Team) and HOT (Homeless Outreach Team) officers co-respond with peer responders from CODAC and partner with a number of service providers. Program evaluation is being done by researchers with SIROW (Southwest Institute for Research on Women) at the University of Arizona. (CED)
- Recruiting women and minority police officers: TPD joined the national 30x30 initiative, committing to hiring 30% sworn female officers by 2030. TPD also eliminated the fitness test as a pre-hire requirement, after determining that women and people of color were disproportionately failing this part of the application process. Now, the fitness test is administered later, after recruits have received fitness and nutrition coaching in the academy. Recruitment promotional material features women and people of color and recruiting events are held with patrol division neighborhood events, to draw applicants from majority minority areas.
- Spanish-language outreach: TPD partnered with Arizona Bilingual magazine to have Spanish-speaking officers at AZ Bilingual events; TPD PIOs created a Spanish Facebook page, using 18 Spanish-speaking officers.
- Cultural awareness: Academy members and TPD leadership receive cultural awareness training.
- Historical walk: Officers go through a walking tour of the neighborhoods they serve, learning their history as they go. (ODS)
- Historical context training: TPD personnel meet with Pascua Yaqui tribal members to learn about the history of their neighborhood, including struggles they’ve had with police and other governmental agencies. (ODW)
- Old Pascua Yaqui neighborhood engagement: TPD hosts community building events such as movie and popcorn nights with officers; works with residents and businesses on crime prevention; collaborates with Thrive in the 05 initiatives; and members regularly attend neighborhood association meetings. Culturally informed officers provide security for Lent and Easter ceremonies, through overtime that is paid for by the Pascua Yaqui tribe through a grant. TPD is also working with the neighborhood to try to get the federal government to name routes used in Lent ceremonies as historical routes, which would allow funding for infrastructure to reduce the need for police to provide point control. (ODW) TPD meets with stakeholders throughout the community to address needs and issues – often with overtime deployments.
- Sugar Hill neighborhood engagement: TPD hosts a “Unity in the Community” block party at the Westside Service Station; works with residents and businesses on crime prevention; and members regularly attend neighborhood association meetings. (ODW)
- Historical context training: TPD personnel meet with residents of Sugar Hill to learn about the history of their neighborhood, including struggles they’ve had with police and other governmental agencies. (ODW)
- Hate Crimes Board and investigations: Created this board to further communication among various ethnic, religious, LGBTQ, refugee, and immigrant populations, organizations that serve these groups, and TPD. The board discusses current events, local cases, and provides training, with the goal of education and prevention. (CID)
- TPD is developing a program to integrate CSO coursework into CTE schools in Sunnyside and JTED, with graduates hired directly from the program. TPD is also working with City HR to build a comprehensive internship/apprenticeship program that removes some of the obstacles people from marginalized communities experience when applying to TPD (e.g., the requirement for two years of driving history when families may not have a vehicle).
- TPD, like other City departments, is converting its website to a new platform. As part of that process, images are being checked for Alt text and, where possible, captioning is being added to video content. Other web accessibility best practices are being followed. Video captioning and Spanish language translation is used for Microsoft Teams Live Events, both internally and externally.
- PSAs and other videos are being completed in both English and Spanish. As our partnership grows with the refugee community, some of their concerns could be addressed in videos in their own native languages.
- TPD collaborates with Casa Alitas and other nonprofits to serve asylum seekers, refugees, and their service providers. (ODS)
- Members participate in adult education and youth mentorship programs for refugee/immigrant community members. (ODM)
- TPD collaborates with Mahmoud Alabagi, who works with Afghan and Syrian refugees, on education for adults and education/engagement with the children. (ODE)
- TPD has an Office of Professional Standards that reviews cases of department member misconduct and mistakes, conducts investigations, and makes findings that are shared with the department member’s chain of command as well as academy personnel involved in officer training. Oversight is provided by an Independent Police Auditor (not a TPD employee) and members appointed by Mayor and Council to the Community Police Advisory Review Board.
- TPD conducted one of the nation’s first law enforcement agency Sentinel Event Review Boards in response to the Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez case. That report, its recommendations, and TPD’s implementation of those recommendations can be found here. https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/critical-incident-review/sentinel-event-....
- In 2022, TPD reorganized and created the Special Services and Innovation Bureau, bringing together the Analysis Division, Behavioral Science Unit, Community Engagement Division, and Community Engagement and Outreach Section. All are heavily involved in creating and measuring the success of various community outreach programs.
- The Analysis Division is creating two equity reports:
- Internal: Focused on internal procedural justice (matters that affect employees, such as recruitment, hiring, training, placement, promotions, assignments, and termination), this pulls data from several different systems and compares it in new ways. It takes an aggregate look at what has often been viewed only as individual events and includes recommendations to the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).
- External: Also intended for the ELT, this looks at how department members interact with the public through the lens of equity. It looks at the use of force, traffic stops, and arrests, among other things. Some of this data is from new sources. TPD also surveys people who call for service through an outside company, https://www.spidrtech.com.
- TPD partners with the Center for Policing Equity, https://policingequity.org, which helps police departments use data science for social justice. Per their website, the “Center for Policing Equity measures bias in policing. That means we can stop it.” They provide support to the department in reviewing how we capture, analyze, and present data.
- Some of the groups department members work with, through our Community Engagement Coordinator, include:
- Afghan Arrivals Steering Committee
- African American Student Services at TUSD
- Amistades, Inc. (serving Latino youth)
- Arts for All (serving people with disabilities)
- Black Leaders Coalition (community leaders and clergy)
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson
- Boys to Men (youth mentorship)
- Casa Alitas (serving asylum seekers)
- Casa de Los Niños (serving children and families, including foster care families)
- Chicanos Por La Causa Workforce (a group internship program)
- Community Food Bank
- Dunbar School/Pavilion
- EON Youth Lounge (a coalition through Goodwill REC)
- Emerge Center Against Domestic Violence
- Family Resource Centers – TUSD GAP Ministries (serving children in foster care and group homes)
- Goodwill REC
- Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Homicide Survivors, Inc.
- I Am You 360 (serving homeless youth who have aged out of foster care)
- International Rescue Committee (serving refugees)
- Juneteenth Festival Committee
- Juvenile Justice Community Collaborative
- Las Abuelitas After School Program – Primavera Foundation
- Lift Him Up Ministries
- Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (serving refugees)
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
- Mayahuel Prevention Coalition (preventing substance misuse and underage drinking in the Latino community
- NAACP Network for Equity and Education Development (NEED)
- Owl and Panther (serving refugees)
- Pillars and Bridges (serving the Black community)
- Pima Council on Aging (PCOA)
- Pima County Juvenile Court
- Tucson Refugee Ministry
- Urban League
- United Way
- Youth On Their Own
- World Refugee Day Committee