Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever's Death Conjures Friendships that Were Strained or Non-Existent

Thumbnail image for dever sheriff.JPG
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever
Death has an odd way of manipulating memories.

While the death of Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is evoking standard heartfelt condolences to his surviving family members, reactions from two particular camps in neighboring Pinal County also are altering reality.

See also: Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County Dies in One-Car Wreck

See also: Larry Dever Is a Real Arizona Sheriff

Consider Southwest Border Sheriffs, a shadowy group with close ties to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu that is being investigated for allegations it unlawfully influenced local elections.

Dever called it "fraudulent."

With a black band stretched across a Cochise County sheriff's badge, the group announced on its website that it is "deeply saddened" by Dever's death.

That message posted on September 19, the day after Dever died in a single-car crash near Williams was followed by:

"Although we did not always see eye to eye on many things. But all in all we are in the same fight and on the same side. We mourn the loss of a true patriot and fellow law enforcer. Larry Dever will be sorely missed by many!..Rest In Peace Hero!"

The message dismisses how Dever himself described the group to the Arizona Republic in August.

Dever said to the daily newspaper that he didn't believe the group had "legitimate ties with law enforcement," and instead was "trying to benefit" from similarities to an existing organization: the Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition, whose membership includes sheriffs from all 28 counties along the U.S.-Mexico border. Dever, whose county includes the border region, was a member of the coalition.

Dever said Southwest Border Sheriffs "co-opted our badges and symbols and put it on their releases and made it sound and look like it was an extension of our group. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

"When I found out who the leader of the group is, I sent him off a nasty gram and said, 'You need to cease and desist pretending to be something you're not and using the word sheriff in anything you're doing, period, because you haven't been authorized to do that,'" he said. "It's a fraudulent publication."

And, not surprisingly, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, also made the rounds on local media to talk about his reaction to Dever's sudden death.

On various talk shows, Babeu emphasizes that he and Dever were friends and that he co-chaired the Border Sheriff's Coalition (the real one) with the Cochise County sheriff.

Babeu doesn't mention that he and Dever had a falling out after New Times disclosed that Babeu's ex-boyfriend -- a Mexican national -- alleged Babeu made threats against him, and that the sheriff and his attorney wanted him to sign an agreement to keep silent about their relationship.

It was a messy affair that involved the Pinal County sheriff's sending half-naked photos of himself, posting sexual details about himself on a hook-up site for gay men, and texting menacing statements to his former lover. Both men have since been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in simultaneous state investigations.

And none of it sat well with Dever.

It's unclear who removed Babeu's photo and biographical information from the Border Sheriff's Coalition website -- but it had been taken down and only Dever was listed as founder of the group.

Dever opened up to former New Times writer Paul Rubin, telling him that he felt blindsided by Babeu, who owed much his credibility to his association with Dever.

"Paul's life is his life," Dever told New Times. "But if he wants to be a public official in Arizona, well, that might not be playing out for him as he planned. I didn't see it coming, but . . . he might have told us [sheriffs] something about his personal life if it was that loosey-goosey. We were blindsided. I'm not big on that."

Dever also revealed that Babeu never returned his phone calls after New Times' story on Babeu broke.

More from Larry Dever is a Real Arizona Sheriff:

Last year, Babeu gave Dever a large, exquisitely framed photograph of the two of them alongside U.S. Senator John McCain at a press conference.

Babeu scribbled a few thoughts about Dever on the photo with a silver marker: "You're a great friend and excellent sheriff. Thanks for all your mentoring."

Dever never did find a place for it in his Bisbee office, instead sticking it against a wall, facing inward.

"Symbolic in hindsight, huh?" he said to Rubin, allowing himself a wry smile. "Paul is someone I am not comfortable with at this point."

But on that Saturday morning in February, as Babeu was about to face the media to try to keep the scandal from spinning out of control, Larry Dever reached out with his morning phone call.

Dever says he wasn't sure what he was going to say, but he just couldn't fathom why a popular lawman and aspiring congressman would be so dumb as to post provocative photos and reveal intimate details of his sex life -- on gay websites, no less.

Dever says he also was struggling with the revelations about Babeu's homosexuality, which he says he knew nothing about until reading the story.

Dever says Babeu didn't respond to his phone call or to an e-mail he also sent that day.

"Life is full of surprises, good and bad," says Dever, with a backward sweep of a hand as if to brush away Babeu. "Loyalty and trust is my big thing. I have to have that in my life, and I do. Honest, you don't have to agree with me or my politics -- or even like my dogs -- for us to get along. Just be straight up with me, tell me what you're really thinking."

That was straight from Larry Dever's mouth.

But Babeu's version of history no doubt plays better on right-wing shows.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

In just a few words..............Sheriff Dever was what a Sheriff should be .....................Straight shooter no bullshit. Good man  you will be missed by those who genuienly cared about you Larry!


Let me say that Sheriff Dever was not a "high profile" l.e.o. in the sense that he sought the spotlight.  Let me be clear about that.  That was not his manner, so don't you whackos out there try to start any nonsense.


If you don't agree with my first post, then so be it.  But don't try to insinuate that i, in any way, am bad-mouthing Sheriff Dever with my "high profile" phrase.  That phrase was not directed toward him.  The good sheriff got his highly regarded reputation by being a great sheriff and not a politician.  Which, is a whole hell of a lot better than i can say for some of the other sheriffs in this state.


To you intelligent readers i apologize for having to parse and detail some of the aspects of my previous post for the benefit of those few readers who just want to troll, have something to say, and want to be read.


Never forget Sheriff Dever.  Keep him alive in our minds and the words we about him.




No one is going to say it, so i'm going to say it.  Something is awfully "stinky" about this man's death. 

What the hell is a "one car collision", "a one car roll-over collision"?  What the hell is that?

This sheriff's popularity was in direct opposition to those who want to attain his level of stature and respect amony other l.e.o.'s and the citizenry as well.


I say be mindful and watch carefully the investigation of his death and the findings that are put out for us to consume.  Or should i say forced to consume?  Without Sheriff Dever around there will be a serious void of high level repected law enforcement in this state.  The other "high profile" sheriffs in this state will try to step in, and they will fool many.  But just as one other commenter stated "they aren't even qualified to carry his hat"


So far, in my view, all the findings regarding Sheriff Devers death sound a bit specious to say the least. 


Pay attention everyone, the spin machine is spinning.  


This story is a bit disingenuous.  When Gabby was shot, the entire community rallied, including those who had opposing views, and no one ran out to point out hypocrisy amongst the Dems who had previously opposed Gabby or for whom Gabby previously opposed.


Character. That is what life is about. Dever exemplied the word. Babeu mocks it.


We all know Monica is incapable of an original thought.  Who did she "borrow" this story from this time?


The day after Dever died, there was a story about how BooBoo and Arpaio mourned the loss. All I could think was "You two aren't qualified to carry his hat."


@phoenixnewtimes You are Stupid, you post stories about babysitters killing MULTIPLE children (Lisa Randall)


 @yourproductsucks Your issues with Alonzo have clouded your mind.  The point isn't that Babeu & Dever had "opposing views."  (Although they were of wildly divergent moral character, both were conservative Republicans.)  It's that Babeu has sought ghoulishly to falsify their relationship for attention-seeking and political reasons.  It would have been possible for him to pay his respects in a way that honored the truth and kept the focus on Sheriff Dever, but he turned his back on that path.  That's an entirely different matter than people of differing views coming together to mourn a good man taken too soon --- which, in an authentic testament to Sheriff Dever, we've seen since Tuesday, as people from across the country and of all political views have expressed their deep admiration for him as a man & public servant, and joined in mourning his loss.   



As for Babeu, everyone who knows this character has seen the creepy alacrity with which he homes in on funerals and memorial services as opportunities to make himself the center of attention and maybe appropriate for himself some of the reverence we feel for the dead,  What kind of person would do that?  It's some ghastly mix of narcissistic pathology and a cynical project to construct political authority for himself.  It's also an abrupt change from the weeks before Sheriff Dever's death, during which Babeu's online apologists, angered by his public criticism of Babeu & his cronies, stooped to the most outrageous slanders against him.  Sheriff Dever's real friends will not soon forget.  


 @yourproductsucks That's an easy one, Slick. Arizona Republic, just like it is stated in her article. That previous Repub article, along with the earlier Paul Rubin interview with Dever both helped Monica in painting a better picture of Babeu jacking the pooch with his "Larry was my firend" lines he is using with the news interviews since the crash.


Ask Babeu to show us a photo of him with Dever in the past seven months.


Ask Babeu why he didn't return "his friend" Dever's call on Feb. 18.


Reflect on Dever, concerned and  reaching out, calling his friend Babeu on the morning of his "coming out" press conference. Dever didn't get a call back from Babeu until the Rubin story (mentioning the unreturned call) ran a couple of months later. Yeah, what a friend.


Instead of whining about Monica, take a little time and look into Mike Presnell and Ryan Studrick. These are close associates of Babeu. These are low-grade JT Ready wanna-be's: Southwest Border Sheriffs and Border Narcotics Intelligence.


Paul is working with these two and their two bogus groups regularly. Dever called them fraudulent. Who ya' gonna believe?





@BriannaWinter @phoenixnewtimes I throw away every copy of your shit magazine I come across. Prove it was me.


 @TellTheTruth  To answer your last question, I'll believe Larry Dever over Paul Babeu and Mike Presnell any day of the week.  Presnell's reference to himself as a "fellow law enforcer" is another affront.  Sheriff Dever never had to invent fake badges for himself (much less by the scores) to make people think he was a law enforcer.  He was the real deal.


@BriannaWinter @phoenixnewtimes I should start throwing away your metal cages too.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault