Rios: It's Time to be Honest
During the past three years, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office has seen reforms which have resulted in improved law enforcement service to Pinal families. Unfortunately, Chairman Pete Rios continues to spread misinformation. Mr. Rios has a past history which shows his hostility towards law enforcement, including on December 29th, 1996 when he was intoxicated, called his wife a "whore" and slapped her in the face in front of deputies of the Gila County Sheriff's Office. Not only was Mr. Rios not arrested for the incident, he attempted to use his position as a state senator to get out of the charges; he then made a complaint on the deputies who were only doing their job. This complaint was much like the complaint he made against the Hayden police officer and Chief of Police last year after he was stopped for speeding and failed to obey the orders of a police officer. Both complaints made by Rios were full of false allegations and both were later unfounded.
More recently, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office received a complaint regarding criminal allegations committed by Mr. Rios including fraud and failing to live in the district he represents. The case was conflicted to the Attorney General's Office and now is being investigated by the FBI.
Now to clarify some of the latest misinformation stated by Mr. Rios:
- Several Pinal County Sheriff's Office employees have been fired and later appealed their firings through the Merit Commission. Mr. Rios appointed the head of the Democratic Party to lead the Merit Commission. The merit commission has overturned firings which would be upheld by any other law enforcement agency or merit commission in the state. Every time we have asked to have Mr. Joe Robson removed from the board, it's been turned down. The board has in fact said, we can't fire somebody just because they lied while in the performance of their duties as sworn law enforcement officers. We are forced to appeal every decision and, as a result, a Superior County Judge has upheld firings and said that the Merit Board has overstepped its bounds.
- The County Budget office initially reported our office was projected to exceed our operating budget by 3.2 million dollars. After further research, they discovered a main reason was because of an MOU (wage contract) the Board of Supervisors signed with an employee organization after our budget was set and they failed to fund the cost increases. Fuel costs have also dramaticlly increaeed and there was no budgeted increase. Despite this, our Sheriff's budget will be balanced.
- The National Sheriff's Association holds an annual conference every year which provides training specific to our member's positions. This year we sent 25 members to the conference. While Mr. Rios has attempted to make it all about me receiving the National Sheriff of the Year award, he fails to mention how our Adult Detention Center was recognized as the first ever to receive their National Accreditation with a 100% score, our Tactical Team Commander was a guest presenter, our Honor Guard was asked to present the National Colors, our office was recognized for cutting emergency response times in half and our members received the mandatory training hours needed in order to maintain their law enforcement certifications. The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission agreed this was well spent money as it only cost $2,000 per person for an entire week worth of training.
- As proof of transparency, recently allegations were made against me that are completely false and baseless. While I have both explained publically and show documents which prove the truth in an effort to maintain transparency, I have asked for the Attorney General's Office to investigate the allegations. I have full confidence that the investigation will clear by name.