Paul's Note - December 3, 2021

I can’t leave unaddressed the two incidents involving the Tucson Police Department this week. I’m limited in what I can say given that there are ongoing investigations, but I will say that both left me very concerned and angry.

Each incident is being investigated by both the Office of Professional Standards, TPD’s internal affairs division, and as a criminal matter (there has been a referral to the County Attorney). In these sorts of cases, the two investigations need to remain separate. Officers are compelled to testify when OPS is involved, but they retain Fifth Amendment rights when it comes to a criminal investigation.

Given that both incidents involved officers who weren’t on regular duty, I don’t think there will be a Sentinel Event Review Board like there were for last year’s deaths in custody. At some point, however, I would like to see some evaluation of training and other aspects the say we did with those tragic situations.

Mitch Kagen, who serves as the Independent Police Auditor, has been present during questioning about both incidents. Mr. Kagen works not for TPD but the City Manager, so there has been some outside, civilian oversight of the investigation.

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As announced at the Mayor’s State of the City on Thursday, the city is getting a new website.

The old website was a bit clunky, searches wouldn’t always work and my staff would run into issues when they would try to edit the Ward 2 portion of it. Management of the site is going to be contracted to Granicus, who run the software that sends out the newsletter.

Those of you that have called my office may know Chris Desborough. Chris is visually impaired and has been asked to participate in the design to make the site easier to use for people that are visually impaired. For example, a page where selections can only be made by using a map can be impossible to use for someone that is blind.

Keep in mind that the sort of changes to accommodate the visually impaired means there will be other options to use the city’s page, which will make it easier for other users too.

Chris has been in my office for a number of years and, as far as I know, is the only seriously visually impaired person on the city payroll. He’s made all of us in our office more aware of those issues and I’m glad he can bring that experience to the city’s web redesign.

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There are some changes in the Ward 2 office. Katie Bolger, who has served all of us since I was first appointed to the council, will be moving to her home ward to run the office of newly elected Ward 3 councilmember Kevin Dahl. Katie has been a valued counsel to me on a number of issues, particularly on water policy.

My new Chief of Staff is Steve Arnquist. Steve led Regina Romero’s Ward 1 staff before she became Mayor so he is familiar with city issues. He’s still moving into the office, but I’d like all of you to give him a Ward 2 welcome.

Chris Desborough, Odessa Draheim and Ted Prezelski are remaining on my staff.

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I learned this morning about the death of Frank Salbego. Frank was a Korea-era US Army vet, the long-time president of the East Side Neighborhood association and a friend to me and my entire staff. He was a lover of the game of game of golf (he’d brag of his scores) and of the Chicago Bears. I’d like to express condolences to Emma and his family on behalf of my staff.