RICHMOND ( CBS-SF) — In what he referred to as the most difficult decision of his career, Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus said Wednesday he has officially accepted the top cop position in Tucson.
Magnus said has been approved by Tucson city officials as the replacement for retiring police chief, Roberto Villaseñor.
Throughout Tuesday’s news conference, Magnus reiterated that the decision to do so was “bittersweet.”
“I think most (people) know how close I felt to this department and this community,” he said.
Magnus had gained a significant stature in Richmond for his efforts to introduce community policing after coming from a police chief post in Fargo, North Dakota.
Under Magnus’ leadership, Richmond has also experienced a dramatic reduction in murders, including a 33-year low of 11 murders in 2014, according to police data.
“I couldn’t be more proud of where we’re at now and the direction we’re going to continue to head, whether I’m here or not,” he said.
But, he added, “there’s still work to be done.”
Magnus referenced in particular to an incident on Tuesday evening in Richmond in which a man and a 5-year-old boy suffered serious injuries in a shooting into their vehicle.
Magnus said the episode “highlights the fact that this is always going to be a work in progress.”
He said that type of violence often stems from the sort of neighborhood or gang disputes that Richmond police has been creating strategies to prevent.
Richmond police are “following the right playbook,” he said.
“But I’m never going to say, ‘Mission accomplished,'” he added.
When pressed for answers on whether he should be leaving now, given the recent uptick in Richmond crime, Magnus spoke to a confidence in the department’s personnel and programs already in place.
As for his own career, he explained that the timing was pivotal.
“I’m not getting younger,” he said. “I’m at the point where if I’m going to have another adventure or opportunity in my career this is the time to take it.”
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