Maricopa County and Arpaio Fighting Over Posse Members' Vehicles, but Issue Is Unclear

Maricopa County leaders and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are in some sort of fight over the insurance coverage of vehicles owned by posse members, but neither side is giving details.

The issue, whatever it is, led to recent news stories about the Sun City posse being suspended, but now Arpaio's office is saying the posse isn't really suspended.

A posse source tells New Times that it's true the west-side posse isn't suspended -- but that it might as well be, because members have been forbidden to drive anywhere as part of their duties.

"We're still in full force," the source says. "But I have no way of getting anywhere."

See also:
-Maricopa Posse Members Sent Home; Sheriff Arpaio Not Giving Details Yet
-Arpaio's Posse Vehicles May Retain Official Insignia; County Bends After Hail of E-Mails

The problem was revealed on Saturday at a 35th anniversary party for the Sun City posse, according to news media reports, leading to the suspension of posse activities. As reported, Commander Don Sampson sent an email to posse members stating that, "Effective immediately, on March 29, 2014 at 10:00 hours all activities of the Sheriff's Posse of Sun City West were suspended. The suspension will be in effect until such time as the command staff resolve open issues."

Then, a couple of hours ago, Sheriff's Office spokesman Deputy Joaquin Enriquez issued this short bulletin to local news outlets:

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio is working hand-in-hand with County Officials to resolve the issue regarding the use of Posse-owned vehicles. This has impacted a small number of posse patrols, though the Sheriff's Office has not suspended any posse operations. Sheriff Joe Arpaio expects the issue to be resolved quickly."
So, right away you can tell there's a discrepancy -- Arpaio's office is apparently denying what the posse commander said, which was that a suspension of operations had, in fact, at some point been ordered.

But it gets weirder.

A privately owned posse member's vehicle.
We called Cari Gerchick, county spokeswoman, and asked her to elaborate on what Enriquez means by "the issue."

Gerchick answered: "Risk management is trying to find an insurance policy that will cover cars owned by posse members in all legal situations."

Yet she was unable to clarify the statement, saying she didn't know much more than that.

Were vehicles owned by posse members previously not covered in all situations? we wondered.

Gerchick was not sure, but said she believes posse members and their vehicles were covered when performing official posse duties, and that the lack of coverage may have been for the personal use of their vehicles.

But that answer raises another question -- why would posse members believe they didn't need personal insurance for their vehicles, and doesn't the posse check to make sure members have insurance on the private vehicles they're using for posse duties? Gerchick didn't know.

Gerchick did believe, however, that "the issue" relates to every posse member with a vehicle. When Enriquez says only a "small number" of patrols were affected, we're not sure what he means. We're waiting to hear back from him on our follow-up questions.

Arpaio expects this issue to be resolved "quickly?"

Good luck with that.

UPDATE 5PM -- Arpaio's Office: Sun City Posse Halted Vehicle Use Itself Due to "Insurance Glitch"

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.

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If Arpaio's geriatric diaper Posse can't drive they can follow Arpaio's lead and ride thier thumb all day?!


Get em some of those adult tricycles. They could put those irritating bells on the handlebars and they could make "siren sounds' when pedaling to an emergency (like maybe a prune shortage at Golden Corral). We could even get em hats with flashing red lights on top. 

Wouldn't that be adorable?

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

This is what happens when you hire a bunch of criminals.


Don't they have like 50,000 golf carts in Sun City? Bam! problem solved.

Flyer9753 topcommenter

So let me see if I understand this....

When you use your personal vehicle on a job, you have to show proof of your own insurance and once hired you are then covered also under the companies policy for issues while you are on the clock.... dual coverage.

This is a requirement for several reasons and your vehicle is not covered by your employers insurance if you have an accident outside of working hours...

So why is it that posse members thought they did not need insurance again?? No matter what the counties insurance is not going to cover a personal vehicle outside of posse duties, nor should it.. 

hell I don't even think the county should be on the hook while on posse duties... it's a volunteer posse, they want to be there, if vehicles are needed then they can either drive a county vehicle if available or hire more actual officers with actual county vehicles who are actually TRAINED.

Why did posse members not think they needed insurance.. a combination of two things... old age stupidity and the sheriff lying to them I am sure

If the people wanted a posse, they would pay for one.. if these old farts with nothing better to do want to be posse members, they can pay to be posse members by themselves... I'm not paying for it.

I wonder how much this Joe lie and manipulation will cost we the taxpayer this time....

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Now the prune posse is complaining that their likely county owned vehicles aren't covered by county paid for insurance?

These twits are VOLUNTEERS. That means any and all expenses incurred by the posse needs to be paid for by the posse... Including their own vehicle and vehicle insurance.

Dontbelieveit topcommenter

joe You've put on one HELLUVA SHOW  THIS YEAR.....what's next ?you're really grasping for straws that aren't there anymore.... How's it feel to be INSIGNIFICANT? FUCKING BLOOD SUCKING PARASITE.

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Flyer, I predict this bullshit will cost taxpayers an arm and a leg....

Hopefully Judge Snow can put an end to the financial bleeding caused entirely by the Fetid Fossil of MCSO....

Hell, just the old man's racial profiling ways are costing us well over $30M....

This sick old man deserves to have his ass handed to him...both by Judge Snow and then by voters....

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