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County supervisors finalize jail's blue ribbon commission

Commission members, timeline and charter set for new jail study
Pima County Jail
Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 21, 2023

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County may be on its way to building a new jail—if the county's newly-formed blue ribbon commission recommends it.

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos approached the Board of Supervisors in December of 2022, asking for a new jail. Nanos called building conditions "deplorable."

Tuesday, the Board voted 4-1 to approve the roster commission members, its timeline and a charter for its upcoming tasks: "To assess the need for a new Pima County Adult Detention Center or improvements, as well as funding options."

The ten-person commission is chaired by former Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp, and consists of the following additional members:

  • India Davis
    • Former Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) Corrections Director
  • Frank Hecht
    • PCSD Civilian Advisory Review Board/Retired Corrections Captain
  • Jack O’Brien
    • Pima County Public Defender’s Office
  • David Olanik
    • Sundt Construction
  • Wendy Petersen
    • Retired Pima County Justice Services Director
  • Grady Scott
    • Pastor, Grace Temple and Missionary Baptist Church
  • Chris Scheafe
    • Real Estate Development/Member of Rio Nuevo Board
  • Roberto Villaseñor
    • Former Chief, Tucson Police Department
  • Paul Wilson
    • Former PCSD Bureau Chief

The commission is scheduled to meet at least once monthly, with a deadline to submit its findings by September.

Supervisor Steve Christy of District 4 was the sole 'no' vote, voicing his concern about the scope of the commission's work and the diverse backgrounds of the commissioners. Christy said only one person on the roster works on the construction industry, and further said he'd like to see five or six more.

"What we really need is information on the jail first, and then we can proceed with these other things," Christy said.

Supervisors Rex Scott, Matt Heinz, Sharon Bronson and Chair Adelita Grijalva voted yes.

Anne Simmons is the digital executive producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing or by connecting on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.