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First day for new TPD chief

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 07:35:36-05
It was the first official day with the Tucson Police Department for Chief Chris Magnus.
 
Magnus will now oversee more than 900 sworn officers. He is replacing Chief Roberto Villaseñor who retired in December. 
 
Before taking the job with TPD, Magnus was the chief for the Richmond Police Department in California since 2006. He's credited with reducing homicide rates in the city. According to Richmond Police, there were 40 homicides in 2007, and 21 in 2015. 
 
"Crime reduction just is not something that either the police or the community can do alone," Magnus said. "They've got to work together so one of my goals is to figure out ways to bring us even closer together and strategize on how we can bring crime down."
 
At his first press conference in Tucson on Tuesday, Magnus answered questions about topics such as immigration and the TPD Air Support Unit. While on his first day Magnus spent time meeting many in the department, he plans to immediately start going on ride-a-longs with officers and meeting with groups in the neighborhood. 
 
A few weeks ago, Magnus says he was in town visiting and met a number of city leaders and groups, and hopes to continue to get to know the community.
 
Like many other communities around the country, another issue, Magnus says he plans on tackling is the city's budget challenges.
 
"The challenge becomes, how do we continue to provide the high quality services that the community both wants and expects, and yet also deal with the financial realities that we're going to be facing at least for the next couple of years?" Magnus said. 
 
Last month TPD grounded the Air Support Unit, after complaints were filed within the department. When asked if Magnus would consider regionalizing that unit, he said he would look at the pros and cons before making any decisions. While nothing is off the table, he says he will look at every possibility before making any big changes within TPD.
 
"I don't think you can make good change until you really absorbed information, done your due diligence," Magnus said. "I want to talk to people not only in the department, but out in the community. I really believe in getting a lot of input and feedback hen it comes to decision making."
 
While across the country there is often mistrust between the community and law enforcement, Magnus hopes to change that. The chief plans to remain as accessible and transparent as possible. When it comes to immigration, he says human trafficking is a huge issue here he plans on directing resources to.
 
"Even the community where I came from in the Bay Area, human trafficking in many ways has become the new stock and trade for gang members who used to be profiting off of drug dealing," Magnus said. "It's now human trafficking and we're now seeing so many ways that takes it's toll."
 
Magnus says he also plans on learning Spanish because he knows a large part of the population speaks the language, and says it's long overdue.
 
Magnus and his husband moved to a home which he says is centrally located so he is able to travel around town quickly. When he was asked what surprised him about Tucson, he says that it is geographically very spread out. 
 
"It's a little surprising having worked in the Bay Area, everything is incredibly compact," Magnus said. "To come to a place so spread quite far apart adds a different dimension to how policing is done."
 
Magnus began looking into the job here because he says TPD is "on the cutting edge of doing a lot of progressive things in policing." For now he's enjoying getting to know his officers and the city.
 
"People really have been exceptionally kind, and we appreciate that," Magnus said.