TPD is tops: Rare behind the scenes look at GemFair's super security
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- High end merchandise calls for high security at one of the Gem showcases getting underway at the TCC. And when it comes to guarding all the precious gems, Tucson police officers are tops.
The Gemfair Tucson! showcase is a big money maker even though it's not open to the general public. These are the gems that you see everywhere -- television, magazines, movies, billboards, models, celebrities, and even royalty. They're all wearing colored gemstones and pearls that may have been purchased at this annual Tucson showcase.
Lt. Fabian Pacheco walks the TCC as set up begins for these highend vendors. His approach to security here is simple. "This is serious business," he said.
So says the man who runs this dealer to dealer event, Douglas Hucker, CEO of the American Gem Trade Association. "I can't begin to speculate the total amount " because we're talking astronomical amounts of money inside TCC walls. He said when it comes to security, the Tucson Police Department is the best.
In fact, he said the TPD is so good at what it does that it's a model for similiar shows across the country. "We are the envy of the industry. Our security and it's the Tucson Police Department."
Lt. Pacheco said, "I think that's very impressive and it's an honor to hear those things from them."
Pacheco considers this detail a privilege as does his elite group of officers he handpicks for the job. "They've been working it for years. And if they don't do a good job in a particular year, they don't get to come back."
What gets them scratched off the list? "I need them vigilant. I don't need them complacent and not paying attention."
The secret to their security success is the trust that is built between vendors and the officers. "We've gotten to know the dealers.. for years and years. . sons and daughters work the event."
Pacheco says that kind of trust is the cornerstone of TPD's success and now many of the vendors expect it every year. The officers get to know who's who -- and what's what -- so they can anticipate any problems.