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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA PTS director seeks seat as Pima County Sheriff

Jordin O’Connor
Jordin O’Connor / Arizona Daily Wildcat Mark Napier, who just won the GOP primary, is running for sheriff.

Serving the public has always been a passion for Mark Napier.

Currently working as the University of Arizona Parking and Transportation Services’ assistant director of operations, Napier has spent time in the Army Reserve, served as a police officer and is hoping to be named Pima County Sheriff in the upcoming November election.

Napier said his entire life has been dedicated to public service and trying to make a difference, and added that he wants to continue serving Pima County because he’s seen how beneficial to a community a good police officer can be. Although Napier loves working for the university, he would have to resign from his job if he was voted Pima County Sheriff, he said.

“The university is just a great place to work, and I love the atmosphere of the university and being around students and faculty and staff,” he added.

Napier starts his day at 6 a.m. working on his campaign before heading to the UA. He clocks in at Parking and Transportation Services at 7 a.m. and spends about nine hours there, managing CatTran, parking appeals and parking enforcement. After work, Napier works on his campaign again by visiting communities, meeting people and engaging in discussions about his plans for Pima County if he were to be elected.

But Napier is careful to keep the campaign separate from his day job, according to PTS Director Dave Heineking.

“As far as candidacy, that is a completely outside-of-work endeavor that he’s doing, so he doesn’t campaign at work,” Heineking said.

With a bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Park University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University, as well as 28 years of law enforcement experience, Napier believes he can make a positive difference for Pima County, he said.

Napier also served in the Army Reserve from 1981 to 1987 while he was a police officer in Iowa, where he grew up. He’s been married to his wife, a nurse at HealthSouth, a rehabilitation hospital in Tucson, for 29 years, he added.

Napier’s children are all in their 20s now, and the two oldest — his 28-year-old daughter and his 26-year-old son — have since moved out and now work at Raytheon. His 24-year-old son just started his career as an officer for the Tucson Police Department and his 22-year-old daughter is a pharmacy technician.

His family has been very supportive and helpful throughout his campaign, Napier said. Being a father, husband and a police officer was not easy, he added.

“My kids, for many years of their lives, never had Christmas,” he said. “They had special Christmas, which was whatever day off I had.”

During his 21 years with the TPD, Napier said he’s dealt with a diversity of cases from hostage negotiation to investigations and narcotics cases. Napier worked his way up from officer to sergeant, lieutenant and then captain. He retired as captain of TPD in 2008.

Before coming to Tucson he spent six years working for the Marshalltown Iowa Police Department where he was a police officer, training officer and SWAT team member.

“He’s a sheriff that’s going to be active in our community,” said Sherese Steffens, Napier’s campaign team captain. “He’s got new ideas about how to get the sheriffs out into the community to aggressively address crime problems before they happen.”

Tucson is in need of someone who will do a better job with tax dollars, Napier said. If elected, Napier intends to moderate crime control with a combination of community-oriented policing, information-driven policing and community problem-solving, he added.

Napier also wants to address border security and property crime. According to his website, Napier supports the Second Amendment and SB 1070. He also attributed his love of taking cases in South Tucson to his familiarity with the area.

“If you want to be a police officer and you want to make a difference, you go where you can make the greatest difference,” Napier said. “The people are great down there, but there’s a crime problem.”

Napier will be running against Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who has been in office since 1980, and plans to beat Dupnik by reaching out to local neighborhoods, businesses and non-profits to address their issues.

“I think it’s time that we had a visible, engaged, energetic and professional sheriff in Pima County,” Napier said.

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