TUCSON, Ariz. — Protests against police brutality are causing departments across the country to take a second look at their policies. That’s exactly what the Pima County Sheriff's Department planning to do. Sheriff Mark Napier has been responding to the public by email, phone and social media about questions they have about his department.
“We should always make ourselves available. These are very challenging times. There are ways on our website that you can send emails that go directly to me and I respond to 100 percent of them if you leave your contact information you will always get a personal response from me,” Napier said.
The Sheriff says Tucson is seeing most of the activity, but Pima County Sheriff’s Deputies are working with Tucson police to help keep the peace. As a matter of fact, one member of the community member told Napier to look at a key component that should be added to his current policy and now changes are on the way.
“We don’t have a specific policy of a duty to intervene we thought it was self-evident. If you see a peer doing something, they should not be doing engaging in unconstitutional activity you have a duty to intervene. We looked at that and saw we don’t have a specific policy on that and that’s a good idea,” Napier said.
Between 40 to 50 deputies and staff helped TPD by ground and air handle protesters in the city over the last week. They’re using thermal aircraft imaging to find large groups on the street. As for arrest the county is taking COVID19 precautions by holding protesters in a separate area from the general population to prevent the spread.
“We’re concerned not only for the people out there expressing righteous outrage and anger and the close proximity of folks is a public health concern,” Napier said.
Napier says working together with the community is best the way to make change.
“We need to hear from the community it’s a two-way communication,” Napier said.