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Tucson Police Chief testifies before senate subcommittee in Washington

Posted: 10:31 AM, Dec 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-13 00:51:14Z
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The chief of the Tucson Police has testified before national leaders in Washington on Wednesday afternoon.

Chief Chris Magnus, bringing his expertise from his 40-year career in law enforcement to the table, testified as part of a panel in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on "transnational cartels and border security." Magnus testified alongside scholars and researchers on the topic matter.

During his time at the stand, Magnus was firm in his belief that cooperation between local police officers and federal enforcement was key to managing local and border crime, but felt differently about the border funding, citing stats from Customs and Border Protection.

"According to recent stats from the CBP, 80 percent of drugs intercepted at the border are seized at ports of entry," Magnus said. "Directing federal resources into improving staff and infrastructure around ports of entry would be far more effective than halting the movement of drugs and guns across the border and simply constructing new barriers between these ports."

Going a step further, Magnus said that he and his team feel like the wall wasn't a good use of federal resources.

Specifically, Magnus referenced the sentiments of Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier, who called the border wall a "medieval solution to a modern problem" in an interview with the New York Times podcast "The Daily."

While Magnus was supportive of local and federal enforcement cooperation, he shared concern about eroding trust with immigrant communities.

"Climate resulting from the current rhetoric and crackdown on immigrants undermines trust and poses major challenges to police officers," he said. "As a result, an already marginalized community is less inclined to turn to us, making it much harder to apprehend criminals. And when crimes go unreported and unsolved, the cartels go unchecked and increase their power. "

Magnus also said he wanted to make sure that federal law enforcement responsibilities were not put on local officers, to avoid diverting "very limited resources that (TPD) critically need(s) to keep our communities safe."

Before testifying, Magnus previewed what his speech could entail in a tweet Wednesday morning:

The panel convened at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Magnus was part of the second panel in the hearing. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost testified in the first panel, along with a top DEA official and others.

See the full list of panelists and watch a live stream of the hearing from earlier at the Senate Judiciary Committee's website .