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Sheriff discusses lack of staffing, plans for 2022

Sheriff discusses lack of staffing, plans for 2022
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 19:52:15-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Crime in Pima County has been relatively low compared to Tucson. But for Sheriff Chris Nanos, it’s not enough.

“If you don’t think the homicide rate seeing in the city, and the violent crime you're seeing there, record homicide rates, if you don’t believe that’s not going to spill into the county, oh my goodness, we’re in trouble,” Nanos said.

In 2021, the Sheriff’s Office reorganized jurisdictional boundaries to decrease response times. Nanos says this worked, but he still needs more staff to see significant change.

“We have not seen an increase, but we haven’t seen the decrease that we would like,” Nanos said.

The Sheriff’s Office used to have around 1,600 employees, but now that’s down to 1,320.

“You cannot reduce your police forces by 25-30% and not expect to have an impact,” Nanos said.

Nanos expects problems to grow if his officer head count remains low.

“I have one accident investigator," Nanos said. "I have 3 or 4 DUI guys. Look at our due fatalities, the due fatalities are rising significantly. Fatalities in general are rising significantly.”

Nanos is most concerned about upcoming retirements, specifically of corrections officers. He’s hoping to organize four corrections officer academies in 2022.

“The corrections side of the house is critical," Nanos said. "Forget the mandate, we’re down already 70 some bodies, and that attrition rate is 3.5.”

Nanos says he plans to request funding to hire more staff at the County’s upcoming budget meeting.