Paul's Note - December 10, 2021

At Tuesday’s Mayor and Council meeting, my colleagues and I voted to make Deputy Chief Chad Kasmar the Chief of the Tucson Police Department as current Chief Chris Magnus was confirmed to lead US Customs and Border Protection. 

Magnus has been a reformer at our police department. Things haven’t always been smooth or perfect, but he’s brought change and that counts. I know he’ll do a great job at the CBP. 

Kasmar is a native Tucsonan whose family has been in Tucson for three generations. He is a proud graduate of the best educational institution in the state, the University of Arizona. 

My first interaction with Chief Kasmar was seven years ago when he was placed as captain in Operations Division East, the patrol division that covers most of Ward 2. We developed a strong relationship and I have appreciated his candor about issues facing the department. 

Two more recent roles give me hope for what Chief Kasmar will be able to do. He took leave from the Deputy Chief position for a while to head up our Public Safety Communications Department. That department is where all the men and women that answer 911 calls work. What he found was a department full of top-notch employees, but who were working in an environment that didn’t always allow them to do the best job they could. He enabled many reforms there and that process will continue under the leadership he helped bring to there. 

The other role has been taking on leadership on the review panels for critical incidents. One of the reforms that Chief Magnus brought to our department is a robust opportunity for citizen oversight of police activities, including an expanded role for the Citizens Police Advisory Review Board and, most notably, the various review panels that are now known as the Sentinel Event Review Board. Chief Kasmar was a big part of shepherding last year’s SERB that reviewed two deaths in TPD custody that produced over 50 recommendations, many of which have been implemented by the department. 

Chief Kasmar comes in at a tough time for TPD. Like every department in the city, TPD has a staffing and retention issue, and two recent incidents have shaken the confidence of some of the people it serves. The fact that he is willing to step into leadership now says a lot about him and I’m confident he will make us all proud. 

The Fourth Avenue Street Fair is this weekend, so here is your chance to buy quirky holiday gifts for that hard to please relative of yours. The 51-year-old, family-friendly tradition attracts more than 600,000 people each year. The Street Fair hosts artists from around the world, and includes food, local entertainment, and plenty of fun.  

The fair is produced by the North Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, Inc., a local nonprofit. The funds are used to support Fourth Avenue’s infrastructure, invest in local neighborhoods and other nonprofits, and create other free community events throughout the year on Historic Fourth Avenue. 

Keep in mind that this also means traffic restrictions. Fourth Avenue will close south of University Boulevard to Eighth Street, with the exception of Sixth Street, for the annual Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair. Additionally, the following side street closures will be in place: Fourth Street and Seventh Street between Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue, Fifth Street from Third Avenue to Herbert Avenue, Eighth Street from Hoff Avenue to Fourth Avenue 

All closures are scheduled to reopen by approximately midnight on Sunday, December 12, 2021. 

To accommodate the street fair booths, the Sun Link Streetcar will make temporary route adjustments and Sun Tran buses will provide service to streetcar passengers around the Fourth Avenue Street Fair closure.