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Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos talks plans for future, concerned over number of deputies

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos has been on the job since Jan. 1 and already he has ideas about police reform, working with county officials and changing his jail.

Nanos was previously sheriff back in 2015 for just over a year.
As he gears up for his second run in charge of the department, Nanos has many ideas for improvement, but he says his top priority is when you call them they show up, fast.

When Nanos left the department after former sheriff Mark Napier won the election back in 2017, he said staffing numbers were at 1,500.

Now, they're down to 1,376, which concerns Nanos regarding their ability to respond to calls quickly.

"If I don't have the staffing in the field to do those things in a timely manner I would hate for you to call us and it take us 20 minutes to get to your house because you needed help," said Nanos.

Things get more complicated when you factor in the effects of COVID-19. Around 100 more employees are currently on pandemic leave due to COVID-19 symptoms. That shrinks the number of working employees below 1,300.

"We need to staff the field appropriately, that needs to happen first," said Nanos.

While staffing numbers are priority number one for Nanos, that's not the only item on his to-do list.

"Working with the county attorney, working with the prosecutors in the courts and the defense attorney's, shrinking the footprint of my jail," said Nanos.

He also mentioned that with the regime change he believes there is some division that exists in the department and that he wants to actively work towards an inclusive, united workforce.

"Their job is to support each other and help each other, take care of one another, my job is to take care of them. I want them to know that I support them and they need to know that I support them, they need to see it and they need to experience it," said Nanos.

Some in the department are set to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, the first step in bolstering their numbers.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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