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Outgoing Sheriff Mark Napier reflects on his tenure

Napier to leave office Dec. 31
Posted at 10:44 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 19:35:51-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said he would've served again if given the chance.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed. I'd like to be here for another four years. I have a heart of public service, what I've done my whole life."

Voters wanted change, to some extent, electing former Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos.

Sheriff Napier said his time serving isn't over.

"I still have a lot of service in my heart and a lot of gas in the gas tank."

He said he's received offers, will weigh his options but doesn't plan to leave to area.

"I'd like to stay in law enforcement in Southern Arizona in some capacity."

Napier saId he's proud of bringing what he calls a 'business' culture to the Sheriff's Department.

He said on his watch, the department kept a balanced $160 million dollar budget while returning $16 million dollars to the county over the last three fiscal years.

"I think over the last four years we've done a very good job of that. We've had budget surpluses; we now have a strategic plan. We have direction and stuff that we never had before."

On police reform, he said his department is a model nationwide during a year when law enforcement agencies have faced heightened criticism.

"We now have a level 1 accredited detention facility. Very proud of that, that we've now got an accredited detention facility."

Within his own department, discord has been well publicized.

At the start of his final year in the department, deputies reached a vote of no confidence in their sheriff.

Napier said this isn't unique and that he had plenty of support among his staff.

"It doesn't represent the entirety of the 1,500 employees that work here. The corrections officers, both corrections associations endorsed my candidacy for sheriff as did the Fraternal Order of Police and more than 60 of our sergeants and the majority of our command staff."

As to why he voters decided not to let him keep his Sheriff's badge, he said, party alignment.

"I think any Republican candidate would say that there was an anti-Trump sentiment out there and that probably adversely affected many republican candidates, especially in heavily democrat counties such as Pima."

He'll leave his position on December 31st, after which he'll be a private citizen after decades in law enforcement.

He offered a parting message to his deputies in the department.

"The people of this department are what makes the department run and what has made this department run for 155 years and will let it run for another 155 years."

Napier said he's currently working on a seamless transition to Chris Nanos.