A new start Tuesday for the Pima County Sheriff's Department after the previous administration leaves under a cloud of controversy as new Sheriff Mark Napier took his official oath office.
“I’m very, very glad to be getting started and to do the work that the people elected me to do,” Napier legally became Sheriff at midnight January 1st, but was sworn-in during the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
Mark Napier told voters he'd trim the sheriff's department budget, specifically by not hiring people to fill high-paying administrative roles or eliminating them entirely. But he'll have to go beyond that, because the department is $5.7 million in debt.
Napier says he'll ask department heads and other command staff to find ways to save, without cutting response times, something his predecessor Chris Nanos said made trimming budgets difficult.
“We're going to have to look at our organizational structure and ways that we can consolidate and work smarter, better than we have been working,” Napier explained. “We're going to have look at a lot of things, so there will be no sacred cows; I think organizational structure is a place where we can flatten out and save some money.”
Sheriff Napier has said he has plans to develop policies to improve department-community relations and to eliminate cronyism, which he believes has plagued the department for some time. But he admits changing culture may be more difficult than even he anticipates.