KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 1/17/10, 7:30 AMPosted: Updated:
Host Bob Lee interviews Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor, who was sworn in May 8, 2009 as Tucson's newest police chief.
Villaseñor is a 29-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department.
Villaseñor says the biggest challenge he faces in the New Year is the City’s budget shortfall. He says a proposal by the City Manager to lay off police and fire personnel was rejected by City Council members (the night prior to this interview) but, he says, current vacant positions, and those of commissioned officers and firefighters who leave will not be filled. He says that means between 160 and 180 police officer positions will be eliminated through attrition and cutting of open positions. In addition, as senior officers retire, those positions cannot be filled. He says civilian positions will be evaluated and some could be cut.
Villaseñor says TPD has put in a second request for Federal Economic Stimulus money that would provide for the hiring of 139 officers over the next four years. He says, however, the City would have to continue funding those positions after that. He says the City would hope the economy would be better four years from now.
Villaseñor also says the City-funded graffiti abatement program will continue at least through June. He says TPD is working with the City Transportation Dept. in an effort to come up with a program that will utilize existing resources and personnel.