Former Cop Exposes Neglect Of Police Department By Tucson Leaders

On Monday, former Tucson Police spokesman, Officer Brandon Tatum, revealed the deteriorated condition of the Department’s morale and ability to respond to citizens’ needs. Tatum, who was hired away from the Department this month by a top internet publishing company, addressed the failing conditions in an interview on the James T. Harris radio show.

“It is bad,” said Tatum when asked about morale in the Department. “Now that I’m not a part of it, I feel comfortable speaking out about it, but man if you ask police officers who are on the front line, boots on the ground, taking calls every day, it is not a good situation at all.”

“In my opinion – of course I worked in one division – the morale is terrible. The morale is low. We were seeing officers not coming to work; calling in sick, taking vacation time, at alarming rates.” Because of this, said Tatum, “at times you will see squads put out two people on one shift.”

Tatum said the morale and lack of officers is something that “no one wants to talk about.”

“I think that we have the ability to call people out from their homes and help out. We can hold people over on shifts. So, we do the best we can to have coverage, which is costing the City money because people are going to be on overtime,” explained Tatum.

As hard as the officers try to do what they can with the little they have, according to Tatum, calls for service are going unanswered due to a shortage of personnel. “It’s getting worse,” said Tatum. “I’m afraid that it’s going to get so bad it’s not going to be controllable.”

Tatum described arriving at work and finding that 30 to 40 calls for service were yet to be responded to. He reported that some victims wait up to ten hours before an officer can respond to their call. “We’re talking about people, who have been waiting for us to respond for 10 hours. I’m talking about people that have been burglarized – and this is the one that makes me so upset. If someone burglarizes your house you feel violated. Somebody came into your house and you have stuff laying everywhere -evidence – and we don’t have enough officers to come to your house in a reasonable period of time.”

“We have probably the best trained police officers. The most equipped police officers. As individuals these are great men and women doing the best they can,” said Tatum. “We are just stretched too thin.”

Related articles:

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Steller Writes Him Up: Sunday’s Comic

Tucson Police Officer’s #Takeaknee Video Goes Viral

Harris asked Tatum about Police Chief Chris Magnus, who is rumored to be hostile towards the officers and employs questionable promotion practices. “He doesn’t care about morale. He’s going to do what he’s going to do. He doesn’t care, and I can tell you that I can’t think of one officer I know, that agrees with him. I don’t know of one officer – boots on the ground – that respects him. Of course I’m in one division, so I’m going to keep it in perspective, but I don’t know anyone who respects him. None of us wanted him as police chief. We wanted Malik Aziz from Dallas, and so a lot of us feel that we got spit in the face by the City Council when they hired him and gave him a $20,000 pay increase.”

Magnus, an open supporter of the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement was considered the politically correct pick. [Related article: Magnus Picked For Tucson Chief Of Police Spot]

Tucson is currently the most dangerous city in Arizona. While that fact is commonly known, the City Council has done virtually nothing to improve the situation and assuage residents’ fear.

Emails published by the Arizona Daily Independent show that at least one member of the City Council, Steve Kozachik, is aware of the growing concerns. [Related article: Kozachik, Elias Emails Reveal Key Reason For Tucson’s Crime Problem]

31 Comments on "Former Cop Exposes Neglect Of Police Department By Tucson Leaders"

  1. I listened to that interview and as I’ve said before, if you don’t get the Star and the local media to report on this, nothing will change. The ADI can’t do it alone! Are you listening people?

    • The Oracle of Tucson | October 17, 2017 at 3:37 am |

      Don’t expect any real news from the star. The star might as well be considered the city and county propaganda rag.
      They’ll consistently only report what news they think you need to know while ignoring anything remotely objective.
      As readership fades away the advertiser’s will leave and the ADS will be little more then a garage sale.

      The Oracle

      • an example of this – the shooting at snake bridge two days ago, the report from police “Hispanic” subject sought, ADS – specifically removed that word in it’s published description. WHY? It was word for word from the police description ‘except for the word’ “Hispanic” in the subject sought description. Unbelievable they would censor this word in it’s ‘version’ of the ‘the news’

  2. Aw, gee, the COT will simply throw another sales tax pitch and fool the taxpayers one more time. Isn’t that how they work? SSDD in a liberal led city and if you don’t think its important for prospective businesses that might want to move to Tucson? Simply look at the schools, the police force and its statistics, and then drive the streets. The liberals and no growthers have won.

  3. no one shows up for a burglary – ROTFLMAO – of course not and they have not for years! We’ve had trucks taken, vandalized, parts ripped off numerous times.. we finally left the city to the county. Much better! Our neighbors have been robbed, I’ve stopped druggies at the front doors of neighbors houses ready to go in – called police who have done nothing. Kozachik brought us two drug treatment facilities and an office in one square mile – the neighborhood is now full of junkies – an armed carjacking just this past weekend within a block of the house with the search on all sides of our home. Great… lock and load – didn’t have anything better to do for the weekend. Guess we have to leave the city as well. This Kozachik AHole is a one man crime wave! Buses full of druggies arrive every morning from downtown area? …. wonderful. Oh these are the people in suits ready to go to work as Kozackik announced them to be. Never a neighborhood notice. Cunningham lost his election of the people by the people of his own area and still got office because of the D’crats from other districts voted him in! WHY CAN’T WE BE REPRESENTED BY WHOM WE IN THE DISTRICT ELECT? ZAPOTE’s SOB’s at COT is why… Just say’n. BTW – in one location we had over 15 incidents of theft, vandalism, car break in’s.. etc. Never a cop. Oh file a report… we’ll send it directly to the dump?

  4. BTW – my opinion – close TPD with TUSD – let the sheriff take over as the county law enforcement department – county wide.

  5. Move out of Tucson | October 17, 2017 at 8:13 am |

    Lets not leave out the terrible management at Tucson Fire Department. Liars and Cheats over there not to mention the rampant bullying and hazing problem they still cannot seem to get a handle on. They have a Chief over there who attempted to re-cert his Paramedic position without out taking proper steps. The State office of EMS caught him, but he still holds his same position in the department. Lets hope you don’t need this Paramedic at your house at 2 AM when your dying. This is just one example of a Tucson Fire employee. But what do you expect from Tucson.
    And Tucson Police, I cant believe they can find recruits. It is know officer retention for TPD is very difficult. The crime and drugs in this town are out of control. It is impossible not to stumble upon on crime in this town or to avoid becoming a victim. Its just bad. And people are right, calling 911 is a joke. Seems at best if they come you get a disgruntled officer. What worse, the stupid voters just approved a sales tax increase. Now the zoo wants a bond. Where is PETA to shut down the animal prison? The other problem with this town is there are so many problems, beyond normal problems of a town, that it makes your head spin and one could write all day long about it. The police force is a good place to start repairing problems and certainly a top priority in civilized society. Seriously though, right now, all you can do is move out of the City if you can, its the only option. Take your business out, take your self or your family out. So sad.
    There is an election coming up….and put the liberal incompetent leaders out of office. Then the police Chief and the Fire Chief can be fired and competent leaders hired. And that goes for all the incompetent City employees.

  6. What do you expect from a democrap run town clowncile?

  7. I know…let’s declare we are a sanctuary city. LOL

    This is what happens when you let elected liberals discriminate against all other applicants during the hiring process.

    Vote them all out.

  8. This town hasn’t had a decent mayor since Lew Murphy and we’re beginning to look more and more like San Francisco. What a proud moment! I thought it couldn’t get worse. I stand corrected.

  9. Below is a letter written by a TPD operator who just quit, to us, his coworkers & also to Tucson city manager Michael Ortega. Our now former coworker is right: someone is going to die (unnecessarily) before any steps are taken by the people who have the power to improve things here.

    >>> Jeremy Bancroft 9/26/2017 5:05 AM >>>

    Friends and Coworkers;

    I wanted to take a few moments to say goodbye to everyone and express my thoughts on the current state of communications.

    As you may know, I have family reasons as to why I have to leave, but I can honestly say, the current situation occurring with TPD has made the final decision much easier. As I stated, when I started here I was thrilled to be paid to be able to help people. Now my job here has morphed into one where I spend a large part of my shift fielding complaints about hold times and response times. Also, I am forced to try to limit how often I help people by not entering calls whenever possible, knowing that help won’t come anytime soon, and by calling people back in attempts to cancel their calls for help. This isn’t what I signed up for and it can really get draining over a 12 hour shift.

    Perhaps it’s easy to live in a bubble and begin to think this is normal behavior, but don’t fool yourself. It’s not. Someone calling 911 and being on hold for 12 minutes is not a normal occurrence across the country, nor should it be here. ..yet we seem to have accepted it. And when I say “we”, I mean everyone from the calltaker who has given up hope and isn’t giving 100%, all the way up to the city manager and city council. How can anyone who knows about this problem sleep at night without making immediate changes? How can anyone who knows about this problem not be here taking calls in person? Just to clarify, _the city manager and city council know we have 911 calls holding for many minutes DAILY and they have NO current solution and nothing changing TODAY._

    Calls CANNOT hold for 12 minutes before we answer them. …and then we have the nerve to go on KGUN 9 and say we are close to ZERO hold times?? Shame on us for misleading the public!

    Small child wandering alone – on hold for 6 minutes
    Man lying face down in the dirt – on hold for over 8 minutes
    Breaking glass and people screaming – on hold nearly 9 minutes
    A physical fight – on hold for nearly 9 minutes

    These are occurring daily. By national standards, 90% of all calls need to be answered within 10 seconds. The last time I checked personally, we were at 67% and those numbers would be even lower if we checked today. Despite what we present to the media, we are not anywhere close to being at zero hold times.

    Not too long ago I was forced to disconnect from my trainee to answer a priority line that was ringing for a long period of time. The first thing I heard was a male screaming at me: “WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG TO ANSWER?!? THEY’RE SHOOTING AT US!!”

    And I’ve heard other calltakers express similar stories. We are taking on additional liability and are forced to make life and death decisions nightly besides the ones we are paid to make. Do you stay with your trainee as rules dictate, or do you help the person who could very well be dying?

    I chose the latter because no one person’s job is more important than a life. Not mine, and not yours. Are city leaders okay with these decisions being made regularly? Do I hang up with the current caller hoping they call back if the situation changes, or do I stay on the line and allow the calls holding to continue to hold?

    While I agree with the premise of consolidating fire and TPD, there is NO doubt in my mind that it was gone about horribly wrong. Instead of normalizing our staffing numbers and THEN beginning to cross-train, we said “Eh, the citizens who are having life and death emergencies can wait”.

    All this has done is cause calls to hold longer than before, and caused more and more calltakers to leave. Our turnover rate is worse than that of Walmart’s and we should be embarrassed about that; but more importantly, we should be shocked and appalled that we are daily putting the lives of citizens in jeopardy. And for what? To save some money? To rush through the city manager’s plan to merge? How can any future plan be placed ahead of our citizens’ current safety? We send TPD calltakers to learn how to answer fire calls while our own emergency calls wait on hold.

    The recent PSO and TFD raise (it was the 1st one in 5 years) is really just a band-aid while we wait for HR to figure out how much other cities pay – something that has so far taken many months, and something you and I could have done in a few days. In fact, I did call 12 cities myself not too long ago and discovered we were paid 11th lowest of the 12 if I remember right. Wouldn’t it make more sense to establish and approve new positions before forcing people to train and perform them?

    As we’ve been saying in Commo for some time, it will likely take someone dying while waiting to be connected to a PSO (and the family going to the media) for there to be any urgency and any real changes – something that almost occurred recently and was in a KGUN9 story. Sadly though that news agency dropped the ball and didn’t seem to notice the citizen complaining of her time on hold while tending to a shooting victim.

    I believe Administrator Jackson and Lt. Rohr are doing what they can, but beyond that there seems to be a serious disconnect. ..and perhaps we contribute to that by going on the news and insisting everything is great and how we are close to our goals.

    – Bringing back former employees will help, right? None have returned.
    – Hiring temp workers will fill the gap! Zero have arrived on TPD side.
    – Light duty officers can answer calls! I see none here.
    – PCSO could send help! We probably haven’t even asked.

    Instead, so far the answer has been, straight from the senior minutes: Work more overtime. But who exactly is supposed to work this overtime? We are all already on 12 hour shifts.

    I think we can agree what the actual solutions are:

    1. Make pay comparable to other cities
    2. Hire enough calltakers to handle call load
    3. Promote from within
    4. Give regular feedback
    5. Offer bonuses and raises regularly

    I’m not even going to try to address call response times…

    Despite what this job became, I will always be proud of my time with the Tucson Police Department. I want my coworkers to know that I fought every day to make this a better place to work. I hope that one day soon I will hear back from you and you’ll be able to tell me that things have improved. Perhaps you will get paid what you deserve and the citizens will, in turn, be able to receive the help they need. Until then, try to remember how important you are to the citizens, and that this IS a noble job you are doing. Be proud, because not many people can do what you do every day.
    Bancroft 52989

    • Thank You for your input and for bringing the Real problems to light. I will do whatever I can to help. I’ve been placed on hold for what seemed like an eternity while I watched my neighbors try to run over each other. It was well over three hours before police could respond. Now I understand.

  10. If,as retired Officer Tatum suggested, the number of officers on the streets of Tucson at any given time is just 52, that works out to about one officer per 10,000 people, and didn`t I hear something about officers having to “police” weeds on private property as well?
    Vote for Gary Watson and Mariano Rodriguez for Tucson City Council and vote no on all bonds and tax increases until they prove their priorities are our priorities. It`s NEVER TOO LATE for a change!

  11. Tucson is dwindling in stature in respect all thats left is bureaucrats twisting the sponge for every last drop. UofA largest employer county, city, state, fed’s with DOD, interior, homeland, enforcement and courts. The whole of the tax base is the support it take to keep the governments going. If your not one one of these buses you have not future here. TUSD is the representative pulse of the community 5 entities in federal court pointing fingers, on who has what, who was cheated, who owes, who gets, who decided when balance is done. Tucson is DONE! ALL THAT’S LEFT IS PROTECTING THE CIVIL SERVANTS and that tax base is getting smaller and smaller.

  12. I get supplies on Ft Lowell Oracle to 1st the strip center people call it mini Mogadishu. gets ripped every ear for about 10,000 now has spit systems for AC because the all-in-one units keep getting ripped.

  13. The police chief and mayor know how bad the crime is, first hand! They still don’t care!

  14. and they wonder why folks want to be armed to the teeth… duh! Issue arms to everyone – I’ll trust in my fellow armed citizen .

  15. Guitar Girl | October 17, 2017 at 8:35 pm |

    I had the chance to hear Marana’s chief speak recently. I heard that his officers are very happy with him and I could see why. He was a perfect example of what a leader should be. Too bad he can’t be TPD’s chief.

  16. Hey Gotham Southwest Mr Mayor and Major Arcana Magus El Commandante of Police! Sounds like the natives are restless! Maybe tired of the BS and a little bit sick of worrying about loved ones being stabbed in their sleep by drug addicted predatory zombies. I have never seen a city so mismanaged and I have been to wars! Here’s an idea! Send a cactus to Amazon! Maybe Bezos will buy TPD and salvage it! Oh wait, 7B in tax cuts might be more attractive. Damn Mayor of Newark with his brain and thoughts and such. Just keep riding your Mr Roger trolley around in circles while waving to the U students. They dont know you so they will probably wave back while sulently wondering who those disturbed old men were.

  17. Larry Hartman | October 18, 2017 at 7:12 am |

    Having lived in Tucson in the 70’s and having recently returned to live, I think I have a unique personal perspective on this City.

    Tucson seems to be a dichotomy. At once, a burgeoning young metroplex while, at the same time, the Old Pueblo. Both of these realities have rough edges so they chaff each other.

    It seems as if this city is still at war with itself. Perhaps prepetually. Arizona by and large a deep red state surrounds an island of blue progressives. Of course the University has contributed greatly to this fact. I see comparisions with Austin.

    However, due to many factors, Tucsons infrastructure has eroded faster than most other cities I am familiar with,(Detroit excepted). From, schools, to roads to public services, it has slipped behind other cities its size. Gravity and lack of traction are excellerating this decline.It will be extremely hard, maybe iumpossible, to overcome this condition.

    If it doesn’t, then maybe the no-growthers do win, as one commenter said. The Old Pueblo will continue to shrink and wither from benign neglect until it’s just like the Old West again. A dusty stop over on the way to somewhere else.

  18. Jack skellington | October 18, 2017 at 10:28 am |

    The chief ordered tpd to respond to a car break in involving his vehicle. Everyone else is forced to file an online report. He also utilized the rapid DNA process to solve the crime in a timely manner.

  19. Thank you AZ independent for covering this story. This is the tip of the iceberg there is much more neglect and mis-management going on. Please keep up the investigative work and publish more on this topic!

  20. Another goodbye letter from another TPD/TFD Communications employee who just can’t afford to work here anymore:

    >>> Dalila Rodriguez 10/17/2017 2:45 PM >>>
    It is with sadness that I leave today- sadness and hope. There has been so much that I’ve had the opportunity to learn while working here. There are so many good people I’ve had the honor to work with and learn from. I don’t leave out of want but out of need, our pay does not allow for me to commute for so long making an already long day longer than it has to be.

    I hope that the city will finally address the unfair pay issues and that you will be treated with the respect you deserve. Though I do add, I’ve seen so many positive changes since TFD took over; we are very fortunate to always have our vacation spot available to us, regardless of how short staff we are due to sick leaves and employee shortages. We are lucky to be able to answer 911 calls from our radio positions, leaving our queue mostly empty. We are extremely lucky to work in an environment where we always send help right away and don’t spend so much time having to apologize to citizens because there is no unit available, but be prepared to deal with these situations as you continue with the cross training.

    I leave knowing all too well just how frustrated we all are. Some of us have sent emails or talked about changing things with little to no response. I know what it’s like to come in on a day we are short staffed and sit 911 with one other person while transferring to TPD knowing each call will hold for minutes due to their low staffing as well. Some days we will answer the 911 call and hear a fight or a domestic violence situation and transfer it on the priority line only to hear it ring and ring and ring. When I sit over at TPD and take calls there it is very frustrating to try to provide good customer service while keeping the call as short as possible to be available for the next one because the queue is red. It’s extremely frustrating and unfair to see our fellow calltakers be unable to take vacations or breaks due to staffing. I’ve sat here and heard so much anger towards the consolidation that is not only being pushed on us but on management as well. We seem to feel like we are getting nowhere, we are short staffed and we send some of us to train on “the other side” only to create more staffing shortages and frustration, but I remain hopeful. I remain hopeful that you will find a way to make the consolidation work because I whole heartedly believe it would be easier for a citizen to speak to one person than to be transferred three times. I hope that you will continue to push your ideas and opinions on how to make this transition easier because you work the positions and you know what it’s like when callers take their frustration of having to wait for an answer out on us. Only you can continue to write emails and talk to your supervisors, making suggestions on how to make these changes work. Push to be a part of the policies that need to change or the new ones that need to be created because you sit and work these positions for 12 hours a day! I am hopeful that management will be able to listen and accommodate accordingly, that they will continue to take into consideration how you all feel about what is going on and about how to make it work better. I am hopeful because I am tired of seeing calls hold for long periods of time, I am tired of us not being able to provide citizens with the service they need, and I am tired of seeing us slowly become complacent.

    It’s sad to know that we use to be one of the best places to work “back in the day.” It’s insulting to know we are still on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to pay even after our raise. I know that this can make it difficult to want to come into work each day, I know it gets confusing to follow rules depending on who the supervisor is, and I know it’s hard to not look at other jobs that pay more without requiring so much of us. I know that it’s frustrating to receive more and more emails asking for us to do more work but being unable to get a raise. I completely believe you deserve more- better pay, fair discipline, fair treatment, more understanding, and more help- but for now, please remember that what you do is honorable, that you help save lives, and that you make a difference each and every day you work.

  21. Maggie Sammons | October 18, 2017 at 1:59 pm |

    What “division” was this guy in ?

    • Dwayne Wolfswinkle | October 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm |

      What difference does it make it appears it is the same conditions department wide.

  22. Tucson Animal Farm.

    Criminals good,
    law abiding citizens bad.

  23. AMEN to this one!! A prime example of the incompetency of the Top management of Tucson Police Dept. and NOT of the line officers . For some
    reason the City of Tucson Govt. as a whole is incompetent. A while back TPD and the city started destroying forfeited and confiscated weapons, instead of selling them as State Law requires. I, and many people I know, cannot believe that not one person in the City Govt., from the Mayor, City Manager, City Council, Police Chief, City Attorney, etc. DID NOT KNOW the State law in reference to that law.Is there a ” Pied Piper” somewhere in town that they all follow, and not question anything!!?? They thought they were above the law when it came to this issue,. but as soon as the State Attorney General put the light in their faces and told them they were not above the law, all of them all of a sudden became “enlightened” when they were told they would also lose funding for city services. And the Mayor and City Council want their salaries raised!!! They must all think the citizens of Tucson are idiots… but an old saying goes- ” Nothing pleases me more than to be seen as an idiot… in the eyes of morons”

  24. A prime example of the incompetency of the top City officials, from the Mayor, City Manager, City Council, Chief of police, City Attorney, etc., NOT the line officers.
    Most recent example is that of EVERYONE in Cit Govt. thinking they were above the law, when they started destroying forfeited and confiscated weapons, instead of selling them to qualify for funding for city services/needs, as State Law requires. They all thought they were above the law until the State Attorney General enlightened them and told them they were NOT above the law. They all of a sudden stopped the practice. I, and many people I know, cannot believe that NO ONE in Tucson City Govt. questioned the practice. There has to be a “Pied Piper” in town that everyone follows, regardless of the issue, until they are ” called out” on it.

  25. The shootout last night at Tanque Verde and Wrightstown, is the second gun violence this month at that intersection. Crime is up and something is wrong. Who are these people and where are they coming from? Do they live in the area? If not why are they coming to that area?

    We all know that sanctuary cities ignore crimes, and it gets worse. If we confront it we can control it.

    Figure it out Chief or else you are done here.

  26. They have to many officers sitting at desks and not enough boots on the ground. I’ve been told this by a couple of officers. Thats why it takes so long for them to reply to calls. They are catering to the elite in Tucson at their desks. Are votes could stop this. Make calls to your congressmen.

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