Please take a moment of your time to read this letter from our President about Proposition 205. Share it far and wide. We need your support.
***My name is Paul Sheldon. I am the President of the Tucson Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1. I am writing this with the hope of explaining why the only vote you should cast on Proposition 205 is no.
Proposition 205 is cleverly named to deceive you, the voter, into believing that a no vote would somehow break apart families. “Tucson Families Free and Together” hides the financial realities and tries to give you an impression of local law enforcement that is simply untrue.
In the last 12 months, the Tucson Police Department was required by law to make 23 SB1070 inquiries. Of those, only 3 required a response from the U.S. Border Patrol. Of those 3 responses, only one person was taken into custody by the USBP. Simply put, the idea that Tucson Police Officers are targeting illegal immigrants is not true.
Even more alarming is the amount of money that the city and the police department stand to lose if this proposition passes. Currently, the city receives one-quarter of its annual budget from the state of Arizona with shared revenue. That is 125 million dollars that could potentially be wiped out from the city that is just now crawling out of the recession.
Also, at stake is federally supplied grant monies. The Tucson Police Department currently uses 11 million dollars annually in federal grants. These programs include NIIBIN, the guns, and bullets tracing program, the Counter Narcotic Alliance, Child Sexual Assault, Child Pornography, Stone Garden and the COPS grant. The COPS grant in particular currently funds 28 positions within the department.
Now the proponents of this proposition will tell you that the money would not be lost. They have no way to prove that and try to gloss past it. They will then tell you that many cities have successfully argued in court to keep federal funds. What they don’t want you to know about is The City of Los Angeles v. Barr. This case was decided in July by the 9th Circuit Court which of course also holds jurisdiction over Tucson. In that case, the city of Los Angeles sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the loss of their COPS grant money. The DOJ withdrew the grant from the city because of their own version of a sanctuary city law. The 9th Circuit Court ruled in favor of the DOJ, allowing the federal government to deny the grant due to the sanctuary city status. The court made it very clear, if Proposition 205 passes, the Tucson Police Department will lose its COPS grant and 28 positions will be defunded.
I don’t need to remind anyone that the Tucson Police Department is already woefully understaffed. Compared to 1999 when there were 1,100 police officers to cover the city we currently stand at 800. Residents of the city of Tucson already wait hours for a police officer to respond. Do you really believe that the community will be safer with fewer officers? I do not.
In closing, “Tucson Families Free and Together” is a wonderful sounding proposition title that hides a dark reality of a huge financial penalty that the city of Tucson cannot afford. I implore you to look beyond the deceptive title and look at the stark reality we as a city would face if this passes. As President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tucson Lodge #1, I urge you to vote no on the sanctuary city Proposition 205.***