TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After an incident in which a man was killed in Santa Rita Park earlier this month, a new effort has launched in which Tucson police, the fire department, and local parks and social service agencies are helping to increase enforcement and assistance opportunities for those who frequent the park.
"This effort is a part of the Community Policing approach, and I want to thank our Police Chief, Chris Magnus, for bringing back this approach and for this to be used in Santa Rita Park," said Ward 5 Councilmember Richard Fimbres in a recent newsletter. "The work to make the park and neighborhood safer is ongoing and those who need help are getting it."
According to the Ward 5 council office, police have increased walking patrols, bicycle patrols and have placed additional car patrols in the Santa Rita Park area.
Two TPD lieutenants have been assigned to oversee the park effort and coordinate with the surrounding neighborhoods.
Ward 5 chief of staff Mark Kerr said local social service agencies such as Primavera, La Frontera and Old Pueblo Community Services will have intake coordinators go to Santa Rita Park to reach out to those who may need help.
"There are people who are homeless, who need help and there are agencies who are working with us to get these people they assistance they need," Fimbres said. "Remember, homelessness is not a crime."
The Ward 5 office also says the Tucson Parks and Recreation department is looking at the feasibility of offering classes from the recreation program in Santa Rita Park.
In addition, Tucson Fire's new TC3 program, a recently launched program which unites the health care and social service communities to help those in need, are also a part of the ongoing effort.
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