Clarence Dupnik has been a local law enforcement officer for more than a half-century, including 28 years as Pima County sheriff.
Republican Harry Shaw offers no reason for voters to end Dupnik’s service to the Tucson community.
Dupnik started as an officer with the Tucson Police Department. He rose through the ranks and in 1977 left to join the Sheriff’s Department as chief deputy. Three years later, he was appointed sheriff and has held the position since.
It was Dupnik, a Democrat, who has been responsible for leading the department’s transformation from an organization that was deeply infected with corruption to a respected department that has the technology and deputies to provide law enforcement services to tens of thousands of people who live in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Compare Dupnik’s quiet efficiency to the bellicose circus that has engulfed the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office under Joe Arpaio.
The challenges facing the Pima County Sheriff’s Department are enormous.
The county shares a lengthy border with Mexico, meaning the smuggling of drugs and humans as well as other related crimes spill into Pima County.
And because of financial pressures, the department is understaffed, needing about 180 more deputies to reach the national average in deputies per 1,000 residents.
Dupnik cannot possibly take on the federal job of chasing down illegal immigrants while still providing law enforcement services to county residents. But he has formed a border crimes unit to go after those who commit crimes after entering the country illegally.
Shaw has worked for several law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Corrections. He now works security for Raytheon Missile Systems.
Shaw blames Dupnik for not doing more to prevent crime and says he will put more deputies on the street and “close down the border.” He says he can do that while cutting costs and providing better services to residents.
How? Shaw wouldn’t say, with the ludicrous claim that Dupnik would undercut his campaign by implementing Shaw’s plan before the election.
The Tucson Citizen endorses Democrat Clarence Dupnik for re- election as Pima County sheriff.