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Mesa Introduces New Police Chief

Ramon Batista
(Photo by Jimmy Jenkins - KJZZ)
Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista

Mesa named Ramon Batista as its new chief in May. Former Tucson Assistant Police Chief Ramon Batista said he was excited to get to work as the new Mesa police chief.

He said his first priority will be to communicate with his staff. Batista oversaw around 600 employees in Tucson — the Mesa Police Department and staff is double that size.

Batista said one of his goals will be to boost the ranks of female officers in the Mesa Police Department. He says over the years he’s seen the number of female colleagues increase but too often they are forced to choose between career and family. “I want to figure out how it is that we keep them, retain them and then promote them to ranks of leadership,” Batista said.

The new chief will oversee a budget of more than $180 million. In an effort to reduce costs, Mesa recently contracted with private prison operator Core Civic to house misdemeanor offenders at a facility in Florence. 

Batista said he was not familiar with the contract yet but would work to support diversion options to keep people from going to jail in the first place. 

“While I do have conservative upbringings, and I am a law-and-order kind of a guy, I don’t believe that incarceration is the answer to everything,” Batista said.

The new chief said he was open to discussing the contract for housing offenders at the Maricopa County Jail with Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Batista will take over as Mesa police chief in July.

For more with this with KJZZ's Jimmy Jenkins on The Show, listen here.

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.