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Candidate commentary

Napier: Pima County sheriff leading on cultural, organizational change

Over the past almost four years I have had the honor of serving Pima County as your sheriff. I have been in law enforcement since 1981, serving with a police department in Iowa, then the Tucson Police Department and Glendale, Ariz., Police Department.

During that time, I held virtually every type of position in a law enforcement agency as an officer, sergeant, commander, or executive-level commander. While going through my career I realized law enforcement was becoming increasingly complex and more would be required of me to be an effective leader.

I went back to school to ensure I was prepared to lead in this changing and challenging environment. I obtained a B.S. in Social Psychology and then a master's degree from Boston University in Criminal Justice. Upon graduating from Boston University, I was hired as an educator in their online master's in criminal justice program. I instructed in that program for 15 years. Finally, I have attended several of the nation's premier executive-level leadership training courses.

As your sheriff, I have worked hard to bring to the department much-needed cultural and organizational change. We now have a strategic plan, a racial profiling policy, a specific plan for meaningful law enforcement reform and are more engaged with the community than we ever have been.

We have committed ourselves to better fiscal management and to operating in a more businesslike manner. We have unbiased and objective promotional processes that ensure people rise through the department based upon merit. We have increased compensation for deputies and corrections officers to ensure that we can recruit and retain the best and brightest.

We now have a sheriff's Community Advisory Council and are developing a Citizen Review Panel to ensure more structured engagement between the community and the department. By any objective measure there are a lot of positive things happening at the department.

I am running for re-election because there is more work to do. We need to fully implement both our strategic plan and our reform plan. This includes the hiring of Community Engagement Specialists. The CES personnel will address calls for service that involve substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness. They will be a better tool than deputies, who are primarily focused on enforcing the law.

These are important to how we serve the community.

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We are in the process of developing a new Rural District to better serve the western part of the county. We have obtained grant funding to hire 10 additional deputies to staff the district.

We need to continue our efforts to engage the community and define the role/functions of the Citizen Review Panel. The CRP will provide the department input during the review process of serious discipline and use of force issues. We need to develop a sustainable and responsible compensation plan for our employees.

This has been a challenge for a long time. I would like to continue my advocacy and strong voice on the human rights aspects associated with border security. This is a personal passion. These are but a few things I would like to work on during the next four years.

Republican Mark Napier was elected as Pima County Sheriff in 2016.

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Alexis Egeland/Cronkite News

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier at the White House in 2018, attending an event supporting immigration and border officials in the face of calls by some to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


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