University of Arizona
As mentioned above, the University of Arizona was founded in Tucson in 1885. The founding of the University followed a push to establish a university that lasted for almost 25 years. Although Tucson was initially disappointed at receiving the university as opposed to other public institutions that were being funded at the time, the university has steadily grown over the years to become the centerpiece of the city. The university began accepting students in 1891 and has gradually added various professional schools over the years. The University of Arizona currently has over 43,000 students, which includes 34,000 undergraduates. Many of the University of Arizona’s professional schools are considered to be among the best in their respective disciplines.
Tourism in Tucson
Tucson features endless sunshine and desert scenery. The city is hope to a burgeoning restaurant scene and numerous ranches and resorts. The city is also home to a variety of historical and art museums. In addition, there are scenic drives that showcase the beauty of the area. The city is accessible through the Tucson International Airport, which is located eight miles south of the city.
Tucson has a historic district that reflects its time as a Spanish outpost. Some of the top attractions in Tucson includes the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, the Mission San Xavier del Bac, Saguaro National Park and Tucson National Park. Tucson offers spas, luxury resorts and affordable hotels that are a draw for potential tourists.
Downtown Tucson has established a reputation as a trendy urban area. It is regarded as a mix between an urban and Western environment. Downtown Tucson is both a center for business as well as a destination for tourists looking for quality restaurants and cultural events. Downtown Tucson has undergone extensive redevelopment in the past 20 years, and the pace of redevelopment has quickened in this current economic boom. Numerous businesses have either relocated to Downtown Tucson or have expanded their current headquarters.
Real Estate in Tucson
The Tucson real estate market is affordable for home purchasers. The median price of a home sold in 2017 in the Tucson-area is $189,900, which is after a 7.9 percent increase from the previous year. The price of homes in Tucson is generally affordable given the average income in the area. Although Tucson and Pima County were hit hard during the recession of the last decade, prices have rebounded since then. Home prices are in the midst of a long period of expansion. Apartments in Tucson are affordable as well with an average rent of $769. Median incomes in the Pima County and the Tucson area are lower than in other areas in the West. As such, real estate and apartment prices must remain reasonable. The affordable real estate serves as a draw to those looking to relocate to Tucson from other higher cost areas.
Tucson City Government
In addition to the Pima County government, the city of Tucson also has its own government. Tucson has a mayor. The current mayor of Tucson is Jonathan Rothschild. The mayor of Tucson is not given much power in the City Charter. The mayor presides over the City Council and has some voting power on the Council. The mayor also represents the city at various functions and ceremonies. The Mayor of Tucson is an elected position which is chosen by the voters at-large.
Tucson’s government is overseen by the City Council. These are partisan elected offices, and members serve four-year terms. The City Council has six members, and the mayor can participate in some of the votes, albeit without equal voting power. The last election for the City Council were held in 2017 when half of the seats were contested. The other half of the seats will be up for election in November 2019.
Tucson is run by a City Manager who has the executive power that the mayor would otherwise have in a city government. The City Manager is not an elected position. Instead, the City Manager is appointed by the City Council. The City Manager serves at the pleasure of the City Council. If the City Council so chooses, they have the ability to fire the City Manager. While the City Council passes legislation that sets the laws for the city, it is the City Manager that holds the executive power in the city. The City Manager plans and implements the budget while the City Council passes the legislation that appropriates money for the city government.
County Courthouse Overview and History
The County courthouse is the home of the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County. There is quite a bit of history that is attached the Old Courthouse. The old Pima County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Courthouse was constructed in 1928 using a unique form of architecture. It was constructed in the style of the Old Spanish Missions and us one of the most well-known and recognizable buildings in Tucson. It is located in the center of Downtown Tucson. Its address is 115 North Church Avenue.
When the Old Courthouse was initially built, it housed the courts, the jail, the sheriff’s office and a library. The county spent $300,000 on the construction of the courthouse and paid for it with a bond issue. The building was designed by architect Roy Place who designed many other courthouses around the same time in Arizona. The courthouse previously held the Pima County Superior Court and then the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court. After 1977, the Pima County Superior Court moved to a new building that was constructed for it.
The Old Courthouse had its famed turn in history. In 1934, the trial of infamous bank robber John Dillinger was held in the Old Courthouse. After his trial, he was escorted back to Indiana. The Old Courthouse has been featured in many different movies and television shows. The 1976 version of the iconic movie “A Star is Born” was filmed at the Old Courthouse. In addition, the 1956 movie “A Kiss Before Dying” also filmed scenes at the Old Courthouse.
The building was renovated in 1954, adding a south wing to the building. It maintained its appearance from that renovation until recently. After the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court moved out in 2015, the building underwent further renovation. There are plans to turn the Old Courthouse into a center with museums and a memorial. The ground floor will become an expansion of the Tucson Museum of Art. Numerous other tenants have signed on to occupy space in the renovated building. The newly purposed Old Courthouse is scheduled to open in 2020.
Today, the Pima County Courts are housed in several different buildings. The Arizona Superior Court is located at 110 West Congress Street in Downtown Tucson. The building was constructed in 1977. This court is the general jurisdiction statewide court. In Arizona, the Superior Court is an appellate court for justice and municipal courts. There is also a juvenile court housed at this location. There are over 30 judges that have chambers in this location.
The Pima County Consolidated Justice Court was housed in the Old Courthouse until several years ago. In 2015, it moved into its current home at 240 North Stone Avenue in Downtown Tucson. The court is part of the County Public Service Center, which was completed in that year. The building houses multiple county offices, and it was intended to provide county residents with the convenience of being able to visit several county offices under one roof. The building on North Stone cost $143 million to construct.
There are ten judicial precincts in Pima County. Each precinct has its own presiding judge. Eight of the ten precinct judges have their chambers in the courthouse on North Stone. There are two other judges who have their offices in individual courthouses that are located elsewhere in the county.
The Pima County Consolidated Justice Court is the court of original jurisdiction for Pima County. The court hears criminal and civil cases. It also hears small claims and traffic cases. The judges of this court are elected by the voters of the county.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department serves the unincorporated areas of Pima County. It is an extremely large sheriff’s department with an annual budget of $135 million. The department was founded in 1865. Currently, there are 600 sworn deputies as well as almost 900 civilians working for the department. There are six district offices and three satellite offices.
The department handles the entirety of Pima County that is not Tucson. Its territory contains almost 400,000 residents. The Operations Bureau is divided into four divisions which are the Patrol Division, the Specialized Response Division, the Criminal Investigations Division and the Administration Division. In addition the Corrections Bureau for the county is under the aegis of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. This includes the prisons and the related support services. The crime rate in the area covered by the county is relatively low in comparison to the rest of the state of Arizona.
The sheriffs of Pima County are chosen by public elections. The elections are held every four years. The last election was held in 2016. The current sheriff of Pima County is Mark Napier who was elected for the first time in 2016. Pima County has had several notable sheriffs over the years. Edwin Echols was the sheriff around the time of World War II. Echols was personal friends with Will Rogers, who campaigned for him when he ran for the office. Echols was involved with the rodeo and was nicknamed “Mr. Rodeo.” The longest-serving sheriff of Pima County was Clarence Dupnick, who was in office for 35 years. He won seven elections for his post and served until his retirement in 2015. He had a long list of achievements in his tenure as sheriff which included the construction of several prisons and the modernization of the department.
Tucson Police Department
The Tucson Police Department has jurisdiction within the city limits of Tucson. The Tucson Police Department was founded in 1871. At that time, Tucson was a high-crime area that was frequented by gamblers and robbers. Over the first 50 years of the department, the Tucson Police Department had over 30 different marshals and chiefs. Initially, the chief of police was an elected position. After 1930, the chief of police was appointed by the City Council.
The Tucson Police Department had a role in history as they were the ones who arrested John Dillinger in 1934. Dillinger and his gang had come out to Tucson in an attempt to evade attention and avoid capture. There was a fire at the hotel where he was staying, and the firemen found his bag that contained a large amount of cash. The firemen recognized Dillinger from a picture that they had seen in a detective magazine. They reported the information to the Tucson Police Department. The police engaged in a stakeout and Dillinger was captured without a single shot being fired. The Tucson Police Department succeeded where every law enforcement agency that had tried previously to capture Dillinger had failed. He was booked and processed in Tucson before being transferred back to Indiana.
Today, the Tucson Police Department has close to 900 sworn officers along with 200 civilians in their employ. The Tucson Police Department is broken down into five operations divisions that cover a geographic area of the city. The Tucson Police Department has faced challenges due to funding in the city and state budgets. The number of employees has remained relatively constant over the past 25 years although the city has grown dramatically in that time. Nevertheless, the violent crime rate in Tucson is the second lowest in Arizona, behind only Phoenix.
The Tucson Police Department maintains an active presence in the community. It also is active on social media. The current chief of police in Tucson is Chris Magnus. He was appointed to the job in 2016 after serving as police chief for 10 years in Richmond, California. The chief has a deputy and three assistants and reports to the Tucson City Manager. The Tucson Police Department often has to deal with riots that occur when the University of Arizona basketball team has success in the NCAA Tournament.
The Department of Corrections is under the auspices of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. All of the county corrections, including those for criminals who are apprehended by the Tucson Police Department, are handled by the Pima County Sheriff.
There are three locations for the county jail. There is an adult detention complex that is located in Tucson. There is also a minimum security facility that is located in Tucson. Finally, there is a district jail in Ajo, which is located over two hours away from Tucson. There are approximately 2,300 inmates that are housed in the corrections system.
Pima County has undertaken a program recently that is aimed at reducing the inmate population in the county. Pima County is attempting to find creative alternatives that would lead to fewer inmates. This would save money for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, which struggles with the high cost of housing inmates. The goal is to reduce the inmate population to below 1,700 prisoners.
The Corrections Bureau is divided into two sections. The first section handles operations. Its functions include intake, the minimum security facility and security services. The second section handles support services that accompany the actual incarceration. The function of this section include inmate processing, judicial services, logistics and medical services.
Pima County is relatively advanced in the technology that is associated with its corrections bureau. There is a program in the jails that allows inmates to have access to tablets. In addition, the jails employ full body scanners that are designed to protect inmates from sneaking any types of contraband into the prison.
The Distance Between Tucson and Phoenix and the Directions
Pima County is located in the South Central part of Arizona. It stretches all the way to the border between the United States and Mexico. Tucson is located in the eastern part of Pima County. It is located approximately 113 miles from Phoenix. The journey from Phoenix to Tucson is an easy one. In order to travel between Tucson and Phoenix, all one has to do is traverse the route by way of I-10. It takes approximately one hour and 40 minutes to travel between the two cities.
There are public transportation options that can get travelers between the two cities. There are numerous bus companies that transport passengers between Phoenix and Tucson. These buses travel frequently and the travel from one point to the other is relatively inexpensive. In addition, Amtrak offers train service between Tucson and Phoenix. Amtrak offers two trains per day between the cities and the journey is scenic and fast. In addition to buses and trains, there are shuttles that run from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix to various destinations in Tucson.