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How the killing of a Pima County constable could lead to reforms in the eviction process

Rapidly-rising rents and the effects of the pandemic on job opportunities and employment stability are two of the most vital factors in the eviction crisis many communities across the country are facing. In Pima County specifically, the job of serving eviction notices falls to constables.

On Aug. 25, Constable Deborah Martinez was shot and killed performing that duty. The tragedy has family members and the community wondering what could have been done — and whether any reforms could have prevented it.

Maricopa County constable Mike Branham says people in his position often respond to emotional situations.

“Someone is losing a house, someone else is having to evict somebody, certainly one of the biggest caseload increases in the last year or so has been orders of protection, which are also very dangerous,” Branham said.

He said constables can complete additional training to carry guns, but not all of them choose to do so.

For more about Martinez, the tragic incident in Tucson and the constable system, The Show spoke with Arizona Daily Star reporter Nicole Ludden.

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Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.