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Changes to 'Red Tag' ordinance, TPD to begin enforcement

Published: Aug. 17, 2016 at 12:41 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:19 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - In a unanimous vote at a recent meeting, the Tucson City Council has agreed to adopt some new changes to its 'Red Tag' ordinance.

The Tucson Police Department is starting a new pilot program to increase police presence at certain neighborhoods near campus, in an effort to enforce these changes.

Ward 6 councilman Steve Kozachik said during the first month of school, TPD will assign an officer "specifically to unruly gathering duty" in neighborhoods around campus. This will go on every Saturday in September from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

"Typically in the past, what's happened is if you're a resident, and you've got some big party going on next to you, you call 911 and it falls to the bottom of the priority list," said Kozachik. "In this case, the police are specifically assigning an officer to the areas around campus with this duty specifically in mind."

University of Arizona Police Department public information officer Rene Hernandez said the departments are still sorting out details in terms of who will be assigned to do what and said the program will roll out as early as Aug. 27.

Terry Nordbrock, who has lived near the UA campus for 20 years, says she doesn't mind living near students, though she's seen several parties get out of hand.

"There were three houses in my neighborhood that had large groups of students and the party would just go from one to the next to the next," said Nordbrock. "We've had problems where people didn't stop partying and it would happen night after night."

TPD has also become "a formal member" of the Campus Community Relations Committee, which is made up of different neighborhood association representatives and several UA departments. This is a first for TPD according to Kozachik.

"I really like the idea that the young people have places where they can get together and have their parties," said Nordbrock. "I'm just hopeful that it isn't harming their neighbors."

In addition, the city is also looking at increasing 'red tag' fines. Right now, a first offense will cost $500.

Aiden Allen, who graduated from U of A in June, said he's had to deal with three 'red tags' both on and off campus.

He recalls a time when he and his friends were tailgating at his former residence near North Mountain Avenue and East 10th Street and were given a red tag, though he claims he reached out to his neighbors to avoid any issues prior to the gathering.

Allen said he's spent hundreds of dollars in fines and is asking neighborhood associations for better communication with students living nearby.

"We're part of the community too, you know, we should get a say and talking about the neighborhood and what goes on here," said Allen. "It's a college town and if you want to throw a tailgate on a Saturday in the middle of the day, it's not like you're trying to sleep or anything. I think that's totally reasonable."

The city is expected to get a report on TPD's pilot program in mid-October.

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