Tucson leaders react to Magnus’ nomination to lead Customs and Border Protection

The Biden administration nominated Magnus to steer Customs and Border Protection.
The Biden administration nominated Magnus to steer Customs and Border Protection.(kold)
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 8:29 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With his nomination to lead Customs and Border Protection, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus’ potential departure could leave the department in a precarious place, but city leaders say they are confident of a smooth transition if Magnus takes on the new role.

Right now, the Tucson Police Department is in the midst of a hiring and personnel crisis, with fewer than 750 deployable officers and dwindling recruits in training. Should Magnus seize the national nomination, a search for his replacement won’t be easy.

“It’s been a challenging time for our police department, and that’s symptomatic across the country,” Tucson council member Paul Cunningham said. “But, I really think that Chief Magnus has done a tremendous job as our police chief in these times, all things considered.”

Under Magnus, the department recently scaled back the number and types of calls they respond to due to staffing shortages. However, city leaders said he provided stability and leadership and hope to look for someone similar to fill his shoes. Magnus is known as a progressive leader who champions community policing.

“I think he leaves the organizations in a much better place than he found it, so we will continue to go down that path,” Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega said.

That process will likely look much like the one to hire Magnus himself, but Ortega said it’s too soon to tell as Magnus’ nomination still needs to be confirmed.

“I haven’t made any decisions about an interim step or an interim,” Ortega said.

Ortega and Cunningham said the department has many potential internal candidates and an interim will likely be appointed. Ortega said they will “explore all options” in an open and public process.

“He’s done a tremendous job for us. I also think he’s done a pretty good job in cultivating and developing a pool of potential candidates for his replacement,” Cunningham said.

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