By Alma R. Gallardo
Sheriff Napier, tells us about you?
Grew up in Iowa where I was a Police officer for 6 years before I
moved to Tucson in 1987, this was 30 years ago,. I took a position with the TPD where I worked mostly on the Southside by choice, I enjoyed the Southside the people, the culture and the food of course. I was a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and a captain on the Southside.
Went back to school while on the force to get my undergraduate degree in social psychology, I got my masters degree for criminal justice from Boston University.
In 2008. I decided it was time to retired from Tucson police, and went to the city of Glendale to work as assistant director of the Glendale police department for a year, after that, I decided to retire from the force and went to work for the university of Arizona; until the opportunity to become sheriff came, and the rest is history , I guess.
We asked Sherriff Napier some question on his new role:
AG - What is Pima County Sheriff"s Department doing to optimize security?
MN - Well, we meet a lot with our federal partners; I was at a meeting for an alliance to cut back trans-national threats, like drug smuggling and other criminal activities, it was a very formal briefing on threats coming from the border. Next month, I will be going to Washington DC to participate in a committee in an international association of chiefs of police, a committee to find policies to combat trans-national threats, like terrorism, drug dealing, human trafficking. We police the area in cooperation with our federal partners to keep the people of this county safe.
AG - What is the department doing to address the general concern of immigrants regarding deportation in our county?
MN- My department will not participate in deportation, that"s not our job, we are not federal immigration agents, we will not become federal immigration agents, that"s not part of our task, we sent out a one-and-a-half-page document as a press release to all media outlets, defining our position on immigration; that is a federal responsibility not a local law enforcement responsibility.
AG- What message can you share with the community who is afraid for deportation?
MN- My department will not be doing that, it is not part of our role, I cant speak to what the trump administration might do in the future, I have heard from the Director of Homeland Security, who I met personally, that here is no plan for mass deportations, or random knock on doors in the middle of the night, we wouldn"t even know how to go about doing that, so I don"t think that"s a concern right now.
I just want to remind everybody that Mexico is our friend, Mexico is our trading partner, we are not at war with the Mexican people, they"re not our enemy, they"re our trading partners they"re our neighbors, they"re our friends, and we understand this part of our country better than any other place in the nation.
AG -What is your opinion on international relations between AZ and Sonora?
MN- I think like governor Ducey always says, that Mexico is our trading partner, there is about 9 billion dollars that come across the border to our country, and about 9 billion dollars that goes the other way, Mexico is our friend it has always been our friend and it should always be perceived that they"re our friends. We are not at odds with the Mexican people or with Mexico, and there shouldn"t be a hostile relationship; that"s what we see. In this part of the country, what irritates me is rhetoric that comes from hundred and hundred of miles from here, of people that think they know better about what happens in here than we do; this is our home, we know what happens here, its stressing to me that people who have never been in this part of the country, truly have no understanding of this part of this country, or the culture here. Our relationship with Mexico as a trading partner, I just don"t understand, if you go to any of our malls, you will see all the Sonoran plates, and plates from Sinaloa, these are people coming here to shop, and to trade with the us, and that"s a good thing for everybody.
AG- What can we expect from you and your team in the following years?
MN- think we will continue to work to professionalize the department, where we have a whole three-page project list that we will be providing strategic direction to our department with. I think you will see a lot of changes, we will become leaner and a little bit more efficient, and I think we will embrace more proactive policies than we have done in the past
AG- How will you invite the community to come to the department?
MN- I don"t close my doors to anybody, I am meeting with supervisor Elias, he"s got some people that are very concerned about immigration, and immigrants rights, and I meet with them on a regular basis to discuss things, and although we may not always agree, it is ok because it"s the matter that we disagree that"s important, and so we can"t have any understanding if we don"t communicate, so to isolate yourself.
AG- What is the position of the department with Hispanic media?
MN- Some days ago, I met with some representatives for ACLU about concerns of immigrant"s rights, so I could close my door to them because sometimes they can be uncomfortable, but we don"t, we open our doors and make sure we communicate back and forth, and so I will meet with any media outlet, any group that my schedule allows me to.
AG- What is your opinion on diversity in the pima county?
MN- Well, we have always enjoyed diversity in our county, we have a large Hispanic population, and there are people who come from all over the world to settle here; because if you look around, well today is kind of hazy and icky, but when you look at all the mountains and the beauty of the Sonoran desert, and our proximity to so many things; the grand canyon, San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, Sonora and all those places that very close to here, we live in a wonderful place, and we should embrace diversity, that"s what makes us a good and strong community.
AG- Do you want to give a message to our community in general and to the youth?
MN- I would hope that the Hispanic community would not be overly fearful of the rhetoric coming out of Washington DC right now, there is a lot of loud stuff coming out. The way that we police this area of Pima County has not changed, and we welcome our friends from Mexico to come up here and to not be afraid, because they are our partners and they are not our enemies. So I would hoe that they would take that and come here and of course obey the law and do good, like we want everybody to do; but shop and enjoy our food, our culture, events, and because we have a valuable relationship, and we always have and I hope that we always will!
To the youth, to pursue their dreams and continues with higher education, that pays back!