NEWS RELEASE – June 8, 2020
WHO: Tucson Business Owners, Inc.
WHAT: Statement on Minneapolis, MN Police Defunding
National news reports indicated over the weekend that nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced the intention to defund and dismantle the city’s police department following the killing of George Floyd. Council President Lisa Bender told CNN, “We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe.” 1 In light of the Minneapolis announcement, Tucson Business Owners, Inc. issues the following statement:
Tucson Business Owners, Inc. asks the Tucson City Council to increase funding and staffing levels for City of Tucson Police. The Department is currently below staffing levels needed to adequately provide public safety for its mission “to serve the public in partnership with our community, to protect life and property, prevent crime, and resolve problems”. Recent riots in downtown Tucson have cost businesses untold hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and combined with COVID19 obligatory shutdown, has created a severe economic downturn. Tucson needs increased public safety, and Tucson Police needs additional funding and more officers to fight crime and protect life and property and prevent crime.
According to the May 5, 2020 budget report to the Tucson City Council, “The Tucson Police Department has been impacted by unprecedented reduction in sales tax and state shared revenue. The loss in revenue will have a significant impact for expense reductions in the 2020/2021 budget. This includes the consolidation of two recruiting classes into one in August and cancelation of recruiting classes in 2021.”2 This means that current staffing levels of police on the street (not counting training officers) will remain below the 1000 officer threshold, and staffing remains underfunded – at levels of two decades ago when population was less. (City of Tucson Population 1990-417,929; 2000-487,105; 2010-527,167 and 2020 estimate 553,871) 3
A recent post by Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres noted that Tucson is the only city in the nation who voluntarily adopted the 8 reforms that reduce police violence. The Tucson Police: banned chokeholds and strangle holds, require de-escalation, require warning before shooting, requires exhaust all alternatives before shooting, duty to intervene, ban shooting at moving vehicles, require use of force continuum and requiring comprehensive reporting. 4
Tucson Business Owners, Inc. is a group of local owners who advocate with municipal and state government leaders, educate group investors about issues and policies affecting profitability, and to undertake sustainable marketing to communicate values.