Meet the Sheriff
About Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik
A veteran of over 50 years in local law enforcement, Clarence W. Dupnik has served as the Sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, since his appointment in February 1980. County voters endorsed the choice nine months later by electing him to his first four-year term and ratified that decision by re-electing him six additional times.
Since Sheriff Dupnik has been in office, the population of the unincorporated area of Pima County has increased from about 191,216 in 1980 to more than 365,950 in 2009. The Sheriff is known nationally for his implementation of innovative and effective law enforcement programs throughout his distinguished career. Here are some highlights of his successes, earning his agency's reputation as "one of the nation's finest":
- Oversaw the 1984 construction and implementation of one of the first direct-supervision correctional facilities in the nation. Direct-supervision facilities allow correctional staff to interact directly with inmates within housing units. This philosophy has resulted in reduced violence against staff and other inmates within the facility.
- Created the vision and helped implement the plan to transition drug enforcement efforts into the Pima County/Tucson Metropolitan Counter Narcotics Alliance which involves several local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
- Instituted a mandatory drug testing program for all Sheriff’s Department applicants and a random drug testing program for all employees. With advancing technology, the mandatory drug testing program was expanded by adding hair testing for drugs. The Sheriff’s Department was one of the first law enforcement agencies in the country to utilize hair testing as part of a drug testing program.
- Served as a founding member of the Command Group of the Arizona Alliance Planning Committee - a joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, in cooperation with the military, designed to reduce the influx of narcotics across the Southern Arizona border.
- Organized a national and international award-winning crime-prevention program, using Arizona's first trained law-enforcement volunteers, now numbering more than 200 men and women operating in the Tucson, Green Valley, and Ajo communities. Services provided by volunteers include public fingerprinting, crime scene security, traffic control, Neighborhood Watch administration, and preventive patrols in neighborhoods and County parks.
- Oversaw the creation of the Pima Regional SWAT team. This accomplishment resulted in the largest, most capable tactical team in the state of Arizona and the only FEMA type 1 tactical team in the southern region of the United States. The Pima Regional SWAT team is a collaborative effort comprised of officers from seven Pima County law enforcement agencies and medics from various local emergency medical support agencies. The program includes several distinct elements: Tactical, Negotiations, EOD, Canine, and Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS). These elements work together to resolve dangerous incidents that pose a risk to the lives of the residents of Pima County.
- Implemented a Regional Explosives Ordinance Detail (EOD) consisting of several local agencies and resulting in the only EOD team in the nation to which ATF and FBI agents are formally assigned. This Regional EOD team is equivalent to three FEMA Type 1 teams and is the only one in the nation that includes an integrated investigative element.
- Created the Pima County Regional Law Enforcement Memorial Service to honor all regional law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate price and died in the line of duty. The Regional Memorial Service currently recognizes and memorializes 47 federal, tribal, state, county and local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty while serving in Pima County. This annual event brings together over thirty area law enforcement agencies to honor the community's fallen officers at one event.
- Started the first Border Crime Unit that offers a mechanism for federal, state and local law enforcement to cooperatively address the rising violence from the illegal human and drug trafficking trades. The Border Crime Unit has grown from an initial assignment of a sergeant five deputies to a multi-agency task force comprised of two sergeants and eighteen deputies from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, United States Border Patrol agents, and officers from the Department of Public Safety. The Border Crime Unit has become a national model for Border Crime task forces.
- Presides over the implementation of an interoperable regional public safety communications system of unprecedented proportion that was made possible by voter approval of a $92 million bond. This communications system will provide area public safety agencies with state-of-the-art radio equipment that will allow reliable interjurisdictional communication between law enforcement and emergency medical first responders.
- The first law local enforcement agency to provided pre-emption equipment that allows all patrol vehicles to activate intersection signal lights to phase to “green” as they approach during an emergency response or pursuit. This equipment has resulted in improved response times and increased safety for patrol deputies and the motoring public. Despite the fact that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has one of the lowest officer to citizen rations (1.4 to 1000), response times compare favorably or better with most other metropolitan law enforcement agencies.
- Implemented a Dial Dictation System (DDS) that allows deputies to quickly dictate reports over the phone. This system minimizes the time a deputy is not available to provide emergency response and patrol the local neighborhoods, thus resulting in faster response times. The DDS Unit is staffed by civilian personnel who dictate the recorded reports, thereby freeing deputies to respond to calls for service.
- One of the first agencies in the country to deploy a taser less lethal device to every commissioned officer, as well as to many Corrections Officers within the Pima County Adult Detention Center. This accomplishment allows personnel to safely handle violent subjects while at the same time reduce the risk of serious physical injury or death to law enforcement officers and suspects. The deployment of this critical tool has led to reduced litigation, resulting in cost benefits to the agency and citizens of Pima County.
- In 2006, reinstituted the Pima County Sheriff’s Department's (PCSD) Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy to train commissioned law enforcement personnel. In conjunction with the regionalization concept of tactical elements from adjoining agencies, and due to numerous requests from local law enforcement agencies, the PCSD academy became a regional law enforcement academy in 2008. The first graduating class included deputies with the Department, as well as officers from the Marana Police Department, Oro Valley Police Department and the Sahuarita Police Department. The Sheriff's Department also partnered with the United States Air Force in 2011 by inviting military police to attend the regional academy to be certified as peace officers in the State of Arizona.
- Implemented Advanced Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) as a 40-hour course offered to commissioned, corrections and civilian personnel. In 2011, 32% of deputies are C.I.T. trained, a percentage that exceeds the national standard by more than 10%. C.I.T. trained personnel are better able to identify, manage and help individuals suffering a mental crisis while reducing the potential for violent escalation.
- Provided each deputy with a smart phone that enables them to access criminal investigation data bases, Department manuals, policies, procedures, reference materials, and immediate notifications of updates to those materials. Deputies are also able to instantly transmit photos of lost children or other individuals, including photos of suspects. The phone also serves as a back-up communication device to the dispatch center.
- Enabled the issuance of AR-15 variant patrol rifles to deputies, giving them a long gun platform for both urban and rural applications. The current issued weapon is the Rock River Arms Tactical Car A4 equipped with an Aimpoint Red Dot sighting system for improved accuracy and faster target acquisition. Pima County is one of the first agencies in the country to utilize a carbine rifle as standard issue and still issues a Remington 870 shotgun to all qualified deputies.
- Provided each patrol officer with the latest in Mobile Data Computers (MDC) allowing patrol sergeants and deputies to monitor call activity, see the location of other patrol units through GPS mapping, provides immediate access to the Sheriff’s Department’s Records Management System and local and state Criminal Justice Databases. MDC’s allow personnel to access and view reports and mugshot photos while in the field.
- Provided each detective, bomb technician, traffic investigator and Patrol Commander with the latest in Netbook computers. These Netbook computers provide wireless internet access to the Sheriff’s Department’s Records Management System and local and state Criminal Justice Databases allowing investigative personnel to view reports, photos and conduct crime analysis while in the field.
- Created and implemented one of the first and most comprehensive first responder field trauma programs in law enforcement by providing all deputies with a law enforcement version of the latest U.S. Military battlefield trauma kit. The Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) were issued in June 2010 along with classroom and hands on training. The IFAK is designed to treat gunshot and other penetrating injuries. It has been put to use on numerous occasions by deputies treating victims of violent crimes, most notably during the response to the January 8, 2011, shooting involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The use of these kits and their contents is credited for saving numerous lives that day.
- Enabled the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to become what is believed to be the first agency in the United States to utilize fixed wing Helio-Courier aircraft for tactical patrol support. These aircraft have been outfitted with some of the most advanced technology available and have led to significant increases in criminal apprehensions and enormous cost savings over more traditional aircraft operations. Currently implementing a helicopter program to be utilized for border crime and search and rescue operations, thereby reducing response time and providing for increased safety for law enforcement and the citizens of Pima County.
With the county growing at such a rapid pace, it has been important to Sheriff Dupnik that the Department always provides a high-quality service to the public. Under his leadership, we have opened several district offices within the metropolitan Tucson area as well as in the outlying communities of Ajo, Green Valley, Catalina, and Robles Ranch. In all, there now are six district offices and four substations accessible to the public, as well as the central headquarters building at 1750 E. Benson Highway in Tucson, the focal point for criminal investigations, data processing systems, communications, and records.
Sheriff Dupnik also has overseen the implementation of new, state-of-the-art maximum- and minimum-security adult detention centers in Tucson and a new medium-security detention facility in the town of Ajo.
Clarence Dupnik remains active in many professional, civic, and fraternal organizations, including the National Sheriffs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He has been the long-time Arizona representative with Operation Alliance. He is a board member of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, the Arizona Law Enforcement Officer Advisory Council, and the Arizona Peace Officers Standards & Training Board. He is an advisory board member of the National Narcotics Interdiction System as well as an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Tucson.
Born on January 11, 1936, in Helena, Texas, he was raised in Bisbee, Arizona, and later attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. He graduated from Keeler Institute in Chicago, the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville, and the Urban Affairs Executive Institute at M.I.T. He joined the Tucson Police Department in 1958, and subsequently was promoted through the ranks from Patrol Officer to Major in charge of Field Operations. He left TPD in 1977 to accept the position of Chief Deputy with the Pima County Sheriff's Department, a job he held until his appointment as Sheriff by the Pima County Board of Supervisors 2½ years later.
Sheriff Dupnik's law enforcement experience in policing, supervision, and management is thorough. He has been an effective police officer, supervisor, and manager for many years. As Sheriff, he oversees a smooth-running department of 1,513 employees and an $118 million budget.
« Return to About Us