By Nikki Lee
Hello friends. I want to send a huge congratulations to all of our graduates, and a special shout out to our Vail School District 2020 seniors! Whether celebrating a promotion or graduation from preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, trade school, community college, or university, I’m incredibly proud of each of our students who worked hard to finish strong, under very challenging circumstances. To the parents and caregivers who supported our graduates, I acknowledge you. As a mother of three, I know how hard it has been to keep all of the plates spinning while also making sure our children’s educational milestones are accomplished, and I salute you. While there is still uncertainty around our upcoming school year, I’m confident that our community will continue to pull together and we will keep looking out for each other. We each have our roles in the community, and I have been focusing on keeping our core services running safely for our city staff and community members.
The COVID-19 pandemic has required the Tucson Police Department and Tucson Fire Department to adapt new ways of serving our community in a manner that keeps the public, officers, and firefighters healthy. As of May 15, Tucson Fire has responded to a total of 1,264 COVID related calls citywide and 127 of those were from Ward 4. You may have seen Tucson Police Officers or Community Service Officers wearing face coverings while out on patrol. You may have also had interactions with officers or CSOs virtually, over the phone, or in an outside setting rather than inside your house or business. You may have even utilized our recently updated online reporting system that allows you to report certain types of crimes and get a report number any time of the day or night. These and other steps have been taken to help minimize the amount of face to face contact officers have with one another in order to limit the spread of the virus. As more has been learned about how the virus is passed, Tucson Police adjusted their protocols to allow for a gradual easing of restrictions. A great example of this is our motor officers returning to their primary goal of traffic education and enforcement. They were temporarily used to support our patrol personnel in the event illness prevented large numbers of our officers from coming to work. Keep an eye out for more traffic engagement in and around your neighborhoods and businesses as our motor officers return to their bikes.
Tucson Fire serves south east Tucson from 2 stations. Station 19 (9700 E Esmond Loop) has recently undergone some interior improvements to enhance our firefighters’ and paramedics’ health, safety, and wellness. Tucson Fire, in partnership with the University of Arizona, has conducted studies which showed our personnel have been exposed to cancer causing carcinogens at fire scenes and even at our fire stations. We are taking measures to mitigate these risks using the data collected in the exposure studies, through new station designs and existing station remodels like Station 19. Tucson Fire Station 17 (5270 S Houghton Rd) also serves Tucson’s south east region, and a new piece of response equipment has been added to the station. A Polaris Ranger 1000, called “UTV2” in the Tucson Fire fleet, is an off-road vehicle that is specially-equipped with a patient stretcher and an attendant seat for an EMT or paramedic. The city’s south east side includes many bike and hiking trails that have limited access, and no access by traditional ambulances or fire trucks. This new vehicle matches Tucson Fire’s capabilities to the response environment by allowing for rapid access, treatment, and transport of injured people who are not within close access to a roadway, parking lot, or trail head.
To learn more about the Tucson Police Department and Tucson Fire Department, I invite you to participate in my Ward 4 Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, June 24 from 5:30-6:30pm, where Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus and Tucson Fire Chief Chuck Ryan will give an update on their departments and allow the community to get their questions answered. A link to access the virtual town hall is on the Ward 4 website at www.tucsonaz.gov/ward4.