Pinal County is very fortunate to have a true Christian leader, family man, and a professional law man as a candidate for Sheriff. I am a US Navy veteran of the Korean war. I served as a sworn Deputy in the 1960's for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. I have been the Chief Judge of the Gila River Indian Community Tribal Court for over 20 years. Most recently, I was the Governor of my Community for many years. In April 2010, I hired Chief Derek Arnson. He was the first non-native to serve my community as Chief of Police. Chief Arnson put together a 5 year strategic plan which provided our community a more effective and efficient manner of providing public safety. Chief Arnson is a man of great compassion. He was instrumental in helping our community receive millions in federal grants; most notably, the building of a woman's shelter for victims of abuse. Chief Arnson restored honor and professionalism to a police department which was rampant with abuse of power and authority. He held his officers accountable! In fact, several of these officers were terminated and place on the Maricopa County Attorney's "Brady List' for dishonesty and other reasons. One of thes officers, a female, punched a prisoner to the base of his skull while he was handcuffed to the rear, all because she was mad at him. This assault was captured on video and was sent to the ACLU, FBI and other outlets, including AZPOST. The officer still has her AZPOST certification and is attending a local Phoenix law school. Prior to Chief Arnson's arrival, this was acceptable as "status quo" behavior.
On about September of 2010, Chief Arnson informed me that my chief of staff and now, Governor of the community, Greg Mendoza, had come to him requesting he (Arnson) hire his (Mendoza's) college friend as a new police commander. (This individual is and was a Gila River Community member.) Chief Arnson informed me that Mendoza had asked him some 3-4 times if he would hire his friend. I informed Chief Arnson that he was to have no more contact with Mendoza and that I would take care of keeping Mendoza from interfering with police business. I removed Mendoza as my chief of staff due to his interfering not only with Chief Arnson, but with our department directors. Mendoza was later elected to the tribal council. He quickly ran and won the Governorship.
On October 31, 2011 I received a very disturbing phone call from Chief Arnson. Chief Arnson informed me he had just received a phone call from Mendoza which was rude and unprofessional. Chief Arnson stated, Mendoza said to him, "I heard from a reliable source that you (Arnson) are not supporting me for governor because of my "lifestyle?" Chief Arnson said he informed Mendoza that was very offended by his comment and that his sources are wrong and that he (Arnson) is not supporting any candidate because he is not a voter in the community. Chief Arnson went on to explain that he was not for sale and could not be bought. Chief Arnson continued to tell Mendoza that any honorable chief of police will not be swayed by politics, but rather serve the people not an agenda.
This recent press release from my community is unwarranted and has harmed Chief Arnson. Currently, Mendoza is not making good decisions as governor. The current sheriff, Babeu and Mendoza are personal friends. It is unfortunate that Mendoza would stoop to the promptings of Babeu and shed such untruths upon Chief Arnson's character. My community has now suffered too because of this false information. The Gila River Indian Community has never in the past released information of any kind with reference to any employee or their employment status to the public. It goes against our sovereignty. Himdag, as passed down by our elders across hundreds of years, teaches us respect for all things, including the value of a promise, abiding by the law and concern for the welfare of others. This is a very sad game of politics at the expense of a good man, Chief Arnson. Chief Arnson received excellent evaluations each year and was an asset to our community as he will be to our county. He has my vote!