January 2014 Field Release
A position empty for 12 years, Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik is proud to have promoted Christopher G. Nanos to Chief Deputy on Jan. 19, 2014.
Filling the Chief Deputy vacancy will ensure continuity and stability in the organization as we go through this period of leadership transition.
As the Chief Deputy, Nanos will be responsible for the overall management of the Department, reporting directly to the Sheriff. This promotion marks the first time since 2002 the position of Chief Deputy has been filled.
Chief Deputy Nanos has served in each of the Department’s four bureaus as he rose through the ranks. He brings nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience to his new role, with a strong emphasis in criminal investigations, particularly in violent crimes and narcotics. He will be second in command of more than 1,500 employees.
He began his law enforcement career as a police officer in the El Paso Police Department in 1976 before joining the Pima County Sheriff’s Department as a Corrections Officer in 1984. He was promoted to Deputy Sheriff later that year. Chief Deputy Nanos worked as a patrol deputy and a detective in the Sex Crimes and Homicide Units prior to his promotion to sergeant in 1992, where he had a strong focus on drug interdiction. In 1999 he was promoted to lieutenant and oversaw the Green Valley and Rincon Patrol Districts, Internal Affairs, and Criminal Investigations. In 2009, Chief Deputy Nanos was promoted to the rank of captain and led the Criminal Investigations Division. In May 2013, he was promoted to Chief of the Investigations Bureau. He has received repeated recognition for his dedication and community work, to include volunteering for Special Olympics, working with homeowner associations and neighborhood groups, and serving as a past Board member for the Southern Arizona Child Advocacy Center.
With his promotion, Chief Deputy Nanos will further our historic precedent of serving this community.
The Communications Section is currently in the process of aggressively re-constructing and implementing the new-and-improved Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Training Program (basic training for new dispatchers).
The first stage of the program is called the Basic Communications Training Academy. Taught at the Pima Emergency Communications Operations Center (P.E.C.O.C.), the academy consists of a standardized curriculum, taught in a formal setting, and includes classroom instruction, practical exercises, observation time in the Communications Center, as well as periodic quizzes and exams. The Basic Communications Training Academy is specifically designed to prepare trainees for the demands that they will face during the second stage of their basic training.
The second stage of a new dispatcher’s basic training, the Communications Center Training Program, is a standardized, twelve-week program that is conducted in the Communications Center. The program consists of four distinct phases of on-the-job training and complies with all key elements of the nationally-recognized “San Jose Model.” During the Communications Center Training Program, trainees are exposed to increasing expectations and responsibilities, in a professional and real-world setting, on a daily basis. Additionally, they are required to perform the duties of a dispatcher while under the direct guidance of a qualified Communications Center Trainer. Each work day, trainees are evaluated (rated) in 28 standardized categories according to standardized performance anchors.
The heart of any training program is the men and women who serve as the actual trainers. With that in mind, in October 2013, the Communications Section began taking the necessary steps to create and implement a standardized, customized, and mandatory training curriculum for all trainers. That project required the development of new and meaningful terminology, training standards, standardized forms, a course manual, and lesson plans.
The first-ever Communications Center Trainer’s Workshop was implemented in December 2013. The workshop’s 3-day (24-hour) curriculum parallels the Department’s existing programs for Field Training Officers and Corrections Training Officers in many ways; however, it has also been specifically customized for the members of the Communications Section.
Recently, on December 30, 2013, 15 students from the Communications Section completed the Communications Center Trainer’s Workshop and earned a well-deserved “Certificate of Achievement.” Those individuals are now qualified and prepared to train new dispatchers.
Friends for 20 years, Mo Othic and Alex Tisch knew each other in high school and both ended up joining the Pima County Sheriff's Department. Mo became a Deputy in August 2000, with Alex following in February 2003. They knew that one day they could be saving each other's life in the line of duty, but they never knew it would be something entirely different. Mo was born with only one kidney, and when he found out in June that his only remaining kidney was failing, he knew that his life hinged on finding a matching donor.
Deputy Othic reached out to his extended Department family in search of a donor. 25 employees called in to be screened. Only 4 people were tested when a match was found on the 3rd person tested - Deputy Alex Tisch. The decision to donate his kidney to Deputy Othic was a selfless act, providing the opportunity to save the life of his longtime friend. On December 18th, 2013 the surgery was performed at hospital in Phoenix. The procedure went well and both deputies are expected back to work in the coming weeks.
On October 16th and 17th, 2013, the Pima County Adult Detention Complex hosted three auditors from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). The NCCHC has offered a voluntary health services accreditation program since the 1970s. Based on the NCCHC Standards, the process uses external peer review to determine whether correctional institutions meet these standards in their provision of health services. NCCHC renders a professional judgment and assists in the improvement of services provided.
During the audit at the PCADC, two of the three auditors spent a large portion of their time in the medical areas, concentrating on the administration of inmate healthcare. The areas were scrutinized for cleanliness and favorable housing conditions for inmates who have mental health or health issues. The auditors spoke to both the inmates and the staff. The third auditor spent a majority of her time touring the rest of the facility, including Administrative Segregation Units, the Mission Facility, Remanded Juvenile Unit, ID, kitchen, and general population for males and females.
The auditors were very happy to announce that they would be reporting zero discrepancies for our site. The lead auditor said that she has been doing audits for the NCCHC for over twenty years and that our facility is one of the “cleanest facilities” she had ever been in. She added, “Every jail has a certain smell, they all smell like a jail. This one does not smell like a jail.” The auditors commented on the security and medical staff’s knowledge and friendliness, noting that even the inmates were complimentary about our staff and the level of medical care they receive from ConMed.
While the official report will not come out until March 2014, the auditors said they were very pleased with their visit and that we should expect a favorable outcome. This type of outcome would not have been possible without the continued effort of everyone who works in this facility, including maintenance, environmental, custodial, security, ConMed, supervisory staff, and everyone else who does their part to make this one of the best correctional facilities in the country
Another shooting, anniversaries of past horrific events and tragedies, bells ringing, candles lit in remembrance; all too common and too close in frequency. Unfortunately the vast majority of these crisis situations involve a suspect with some type of mental illness. How do these situations come to be? How can we derail or prevent these occurrences?
The recent wave of mass shootings and the increased calls for law enforcement assistance related to mental health issues and seriously mentally ill people is the crux and catalyst for taking steps to remedy and intervene before it is too late. The Sheriff’s Department recognized the need to take a different approach when dealing with individuals with mental health concerns. As a result, the Mental Health Support Team (MHST) was created toward the end of 2012, and the results have been extremely positive.
The concept of intervening and getting mentally ill people the help they need is nothing new to law enforcement, but the approach taken and processes utilized are what sets the MHST apart from others. The future of how the Department prepares, trains, and handles these types of contacts and incidents has morphed into a program that is believed to be the first of its kind nationally.
In a recent town hall meeting, on the eve of the three-year anniversary of the January 8th shooting, Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik announced the creation of a regionalized group addressing the issues of the mentally ill. This group includes law enforcement, the courts, and treatment facilities. This group will look at aspects involving mental illness on a regional level.
The Department has already prepared for the upcoming changes in the mental health arena by implementing several long-range strategies to better equip personnel with dealing with these situations. New deputies will start receiving an initial training block of 16 hours while attending the academy. This will be followed by attending the 40 hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) early in their careers. This course will be offered 3-4 times per year. The goal is to train the entire Department in the area of recognizing someone in crisis and be familiar with signs of someone exhibiting behavior of mental illness.
Although the forecast for the future may hold more of these types of cases, with the training, networking, and understanding of the many entities involved our community will be safer, and those who need the mental intervention will be able to get the care they need.
Deputy Ryan Roher has been a member of the Traffic Section since 2007 and has been recognized as the Operations Bureau Deputy/Employee of the Quarter four times. That says something about a person’s work ethic and dedication and Deputy Roher is definitely deserving of this title once again as he continues to surpass all expectations.
Deputy Roher has a broad scope of responsibilities that consume every minute of his work week. These duties include traffic enforcement, investigating hit-and-run accidents, DUI incidents, serious injury and fatality collisions, issuing and presenting cases to the Grand Jury, and participating in DUI Task Force Deployments. In addition to managing these duties, Deputy Roher consistently goes above and beyond his assigned duties to assist others at every possible turn.
On November 20, 2013, Ms. Heather Clauss, misdemeanor supervising attorney for the Pima County Attorney’s Office expressed her sincere appreciation for Deputy Roher’s continued assistance and support of the Pima County Attorney’s mock trail training program. She stated that Deputy Roher was a “valuable resource” and the Pima County Attorney’s Office was “fortunate to be able to draw on his knowledge and expertise.”
On November 21, 2013, Mrs. Barbara Ricca of the IBM Environmental and Fire Programs expressed her gratitude for Deputy Roher’s bicycle commuter safety presentation. She described Deputy Roher as an “expert in the field” and praised him for his “ease with which he covered the topic.”
Deputy Roher was also commended by his peers for his enthusiasm and professionalism while teaching Title 28 at the Basic Training Academy.
Deputy Ryan Roher constantly displays dedication, drive and concern for a greater cause by relentlessly pursuing his desire to impart critical knowledge onto others. For his consistent commitment to law enforcement and public safety, Deputy Ryan Roher is hereby recognized as the Operations Bureau Employee of the Quarter for the Support Operations Division during this fourth quarter of 2013.
On November 12, 2013, Deputy Steven Copp was off-duty and traveling in the area of Ina Road and I-10 with his family when he observed a vehicle stuck on the train tracks. As he approached the vehicle, he could see that the occupants were still inside. The occupants turned out to be a 63 year-old man and an 84 year-old woman. It was obvious they had no idea of the danger they were in since the railroad crossing arms were down, indicating there was a train approaching.
Deputy Copp took hold of the female passenger’s hand and escorted her away from the train tracks and ordered the male driver away from the tracks as well. After ensuring there were no other occupants in the vehicle Deputy Copp made telephonic contact with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Communications Unit and advised them of the hazard still present on the tracks. Approximately 30 seconds later the oncoming train struck the vehicle.
It was later determined that the driver had attempted to cross the tracks when the front tire of the vehicle slipped between the rails. Deputy Copp placed himself in danger knowing a train would be coming down the tracks at any moment, but his actions most assuredly saved the lives of the two elderly citizens.
For his brave actions, Deputy Steven Copp is hereby recognized as the Operations Bureau Deputy of the Quarter for the Patrol Division this fourth quarter of 2013.
On December 22, 2013, Ms. Stacey Williams was assigned to answer 9-1-1 calls in the Communications Center. At approximately 0120 hours, Ms. Williams received an incoming 9-1-1 call from a cellular telephone. All that could be heard were muffled voices, making it seem as though someone had accidentally dialed 9-1-1, which is a common occurrence. Following established procedures, she continued to verbally query the open line; eventually, one of the voices began speaking to her. The caller, a cab driver, gave his location and told Ms. Williams that he was being held at gunpoint by two (2) male subjects who were refusing to pay their fare. Ms. Williams quickly entered the information and had the call “received for dispatch” in less than a minute.
The suspects could be heard in the background talking to each other and the cab driver. Recognizing that the suspects might catch-on that the cab driver was speaking to 9-1-1, Ms. Williams was careful to only ask “yes” or “no” questions. And to help ensure the victim’s safety, she had the cab driver outwardly pretend that he was speaking with his wife. Despite the limitations placed on her by the proximity of the suspects, Ms. Williams did an excellent job of gathering information for the responding units and continued to reassure the victim that help was on the way.
Ms. Williams’ professional demeanor helped keep the victim calm and responsive throughout the call. The full measure of stress that the victim was under did not become apparent until he spotted the responding deputies and broke down sobbing. Ms. Williams, recognizing that the victim was not yet safe, continued talking with the cab driver until deputies actually arrived on scene. At the conclusion of the call, Ms. Williams thanked the cab driver for the way he handled himself during the incident.
Throughout the incident, Ms. Williams was not only concerned for the safety of the victim but the responding deputies as well. Despite being limited to “yes” or “no” questions, she made sure to obtain updates on the location of the weapon and the suspects.
Deputies arrived in less than ten (10) minutes from the time the call was entered due to Ms. Williams recognizing the seriousness of the situation and her timely entry of the call for service. She followed procedure, balanced the need for information with the need to keep the victim and responding deputies safe, and provided excellent customer service. Both suspects were arrested and booked for aggravated assault.
Ms. Williams is a consistent team player and is a significant asset to the Communications Section. She regularly volunteers to work overtime to help ensure that minimum staffing levels are maintained. She is a well-rounded and skilled dispatcher that has career-based aspirations with the Department.
Dispatcher Stacey Williams shows great dedication to her profession, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and the community she serves. The Administrative Bureau is proud to recognize Stacey Williams as their Employee of the Quarter. Congratulations!
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