TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - According to Police Chief Chris Magnus, the Tucson Police Department is currently facing staff shortages. As a way to provide immediate relief to the situation, Magnus plans to rearrange staff and lower demand-relief for certain patrol calls.
He says the most expident way to reduce the demand involves changing service delivery. This means TPD will keep from allowing less critical calls from even appearing on it’s patrol board.
“Simply put, we have all thought about and identified those calls that should not involve a police response, and probably never should have,” said Magnus. “Now is the time to turn those thoughts into action.”
But these changes won’t take place overnight. Magnus says they’ll be phased overtime in a considerate manner, and it will allow officers to concentrate on calls that actually require attention.
Chief Magnus plans on the following near-term and long-term changes for calls “coming off the board”.
Coming off the Board, Near Term:
* Contraband at schools, hospitals, and courts (except firearms)
* Deaths at medical care facilities
* Non-criminal homeless calls on public property
* Loud music/loud noise calls
* Medical check welfare
* Uncooperative victims at hospitals
* Non-criminal transports (medical, detox, shelter, etc.)
Coming off the Board, Longer Term:
* All code enforcement
* Trespassers inside certain abandoned properties
* Civil matters (Landlord-Tenant disputes, child custody issues)
* Mental health check welfares (see note below about CMT)
* Suicidal subjects (see note below about CMT)
* Panhandling, UIP, DIP
* Financial crimes
* Abandoned line
“This list is not all-inclusive, as we are looking at every type of call for service, but it’s a start that will get us moving in the right direction.”
These calls, instead, will be handled by Crisis Mobile Teams. Magnus says CMTs will be utilized whenever possible; and the more they’re used, the more staffing these units will get... which turns into more jobs, and increased use of the units.
“More training on this will be coming shortly but the bottom line is that if you have a situation that they may be able to help you with, or that they may be able to handle outright, then make the call,” he said.
But that’s not all, TPD will also be placing more officers on the street and patrol divisions will re-bid as soon as possible in order to facilitate the following:
* Traffic Safety officers will spend at least half of their time taking calls for service (they will be able to maintain certifications)
* The majority of Prisoner Transport Unit officers will return to patrol
* Some academy staff will return to patrol
* The majority of the Mayoral Security detail will return to patrol
Magnus says he recognizes these changes are only a temporary fix to the ongoing problem, and he will continue to search for service and process improvements.
“If you have any ideas, now is the time to bring them forward,” he said.