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Chief plans to move fast on re-organization

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 06:58:53-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus is planning to move fast on his re-organization.  He says a lot of the changes he wants should happen in the next two months. They serve are facing a major re-organization designed to make police do more with less.
 
Right now Tucson Police is officially allowed to hire 992 officers, but Chief Magnus says the department hasn't had that number for years and couldn't afford to pay and equip them if it had them so that number needs to shrink.
 
"...and that's really a level in the mid-800s."
 
Magnus says he wants to pump up patrol so he'll be moving about 70 officers back onto the streets.  He says it's wrong to say they were on desk jobs but he feels with budgets tight it's better to move them off special assignments, with extra pay, and put them on patrol.
 
He hopes to make them more effective by moving some money into better communications as basic as cell phones that help police share data.
 
"A big portion of this re-organization is going to lead to what we're calling real time crime center.  Which frankly Tucson is overdue for pushing out information about hot spots about Key offenders, using the most appropriate technology to do this so we are sharing with detectives, our officers working the sectors, the specialized units and so forth."
 
He plans to move functions like traffic and detectives out of central offices and into different parts of the city.
 
Citizens tell us they're angry when a burglar hits their house and police say to file a report online.
 
Will putting more police on patrol could end that?
 
"It's not acceptable that people should be filing burglary reports online. Property crimes are rightfully one of the largest concerns of residents in any community.  My intention is we take those types of crimes very seriously in fact this is why I think our burglary and various property crime detectives need to be assigned geographically to specific districts."y to add to roughly 830 officers he foresees now.  But it's important to point out TPD is already having trouble recruiting as many as it's wanted."
 
Magnus says patrol is TPD's most important function so he's re-organizing to move about 70 officers out of special assignments, with their higher pay, and shifting them to patrol.
 
He says he understands those officers will not want to give up their incentive pay.
 
"Let's face it. What has happened in the past, not unlike in many communities is that this process of giving so many different assignments and positions a five percent pay differential has really been sort of a back door way to give pay increases."
 
The chief says those special slots were more than desk jobs and those officers did good work but he sees them as more useful as patrol officers on the street able to really watch over their neighborhoods and see crime patterns as they emerge.
 
Detectives will also move out of central offices with the idea they will become more tuned into their assigned areas.
 
The chief plans to merge the downtown division into the west side section but have special enforcement in downtown's entertainment area. 
 
His plan should save about $14 million, but he wants the city to pull $7 million back into the department to pay for things like new academy classes and desperately needed new police cars.