First, in order for any prosecution to move forward regarding a crime being committed, a police report must be taken. This report must provide the facts and circumstances, in chronological order, as to what occurred. This report must also identify the probable cause which was used or determined which justify making an arrest. In other words, a set of facts or circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime has been committed. This report must be submitted in a timely manner to the County Attorney or prosecuting authority. Additionally, if an individual was arrested on felony charges and was booked into jail on related charges, the law enforcement agency that made the arrest has 48 hours to produce a written report citing its probable cause and circumstances of the arrest. If this is not done within 48 hours the suspect or individual is released from jail. As stated above, I have yet to hear what percentage of this 62% was related to untimely submission of reports. As of today, it has all been attributed to the current county attorney.
Secondly, one of the responsibilities of the Sheriff or chief of police is to ensure that individuals who commit crimes are arrested, prosecuted and convicted, if warranted. To have it any other way would be a waste of taxpayer funds. It is the Chief Executive’s responsibility to make sure violent offenders are placed in jail and eventually prison to keep them away and off the streets. Perhaps yet another percentage of the 62% is related to a lack of proper report writing training, a lack of adherence to policy and a lack of supervision. To simply blame the current County Attorney's office with full culpability would be to turn a blind eye to the realities of police work. It takes great leadership, great relationships, and great care to achieve quality public safety. It takes a Sheriff committed to Pinal County and only Pinal County. Perhaps the minimal (4 years) law enforcement experience prior to becoming sheriff is now being exposed by these egregious percentages (62%) of violent offender releases.
Why is this information now being brought to the attention of the voter? Perhaps it is the same reason the current Sheriff explains being overspent on his budget by 3.2 million. He says “it's because I was only allocated $1.78 per gallon for gasoline.” I would remind you that the last time gas was this low was when President Bush was in office. Does this mean the current Sheriff was unsure or unaware of his budget three and half years ago as it related to price per gallon?
Lastly, the current Sheriff has confused many voters. He says his crime rates are the lowest ever. Yet in the next breath he reminds us of the 62% most dangerous criminals being released and not prosecuted. He reminds us of the drug cartels in our backyards and of the hundreds of pursuits weekly and monthly. I guess a politician will say whatever he needs to say to be re-elected. I guess a politician will also recruit whoever he needs to recruit to be re-elected. Is Pinal County safer? Put experience above politics!