Sheriff Arpaio to Visit Posse in Sun City to Discuss Vehicle-Insurance Problem

westbrook-posse-vehicles.jpg
Image: Ray Stern
Sheriff's Office vehicles displaying government plates, in apparent violation of a 2012 Sheriff's Office policy change, sat idle on Wednesday.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will reportedly discuss the snafu over vehicle insurance for posse vehicles in Sun City today.

Meanwhile, we found out that a third posse unit has parked its vehicles, contradicting information put out previously by the Sheriff's Office (which didn't respond to our inquiries about the fact on Wednesday).

The problem seems to have begun when a Sheriff's Office representative sent a memo on March 24 to posse units operating vehicles with government plates to let them know they were in violation of a July 2012 policy change.

See also:
-Maricopa County Posse Vehicles Violate Policy, May Lose Authorization by April 24

The Sheriff's Office won't say what spurred the memo or answer questions about it. But the posse vehicles, which are owned by the posses, haven't been operating within the policy for a while, it seems.

The memo by Lieutenant David Toporek, commander of the MCSO's Enforcement Support Division, as we reported on Tuesday, had included a copy of a July 31, 2012 revision to posse policy.

"No Posse Branch vehicles or equipment will have government issued plates. The branch shall maintain primary insurance coverage on all such vehicles and equipment," the policy reads. "Vehicles owned by a Posse Branch that are used for Office related operations shall be inspected annually by the Enforcement Support Division. A record of each annual inspection will be maintained at the Enforcement Support Division for a period of three years."

The policy change, in turn, originated from the county in 2011, according to county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick. Back then, the Sheriff's Office agreed to various changes in response to the discovery that it had misspent tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds that should have gone to jail operations.

The Sheriff's Office crafted the July 2012 memo after taking advice from former county employee Rebecca Francis, who was for a time in charge of reviewing county policies, Gerchick says.

It's still unclear if the posse vehicles are covered by county liability insurance or not -- Lisa Allen of the Sheriff's Office seems to think so, writing in an email on Wednesday that her agency's officials don't believe it's necessary for the posse vehicles to be parked.

But posse members, after receiving the March 24 note from Toporek, are worried they'll be personally liable for claims related to their use of official law-enforcement vehicles.

At the Westbrook Village posse, an independent, non-profit corporation based in Peoria, cars and SUVs marked as Maricopa County Sheriff's Office vehicles sat idle yesterday morning in the parking lot. Captain Bill Sandvig, commander of the Westbrook posse unit, told us he'd been asked by Arpaio's office to refer all questions to the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office, as we mentioned, wouldn't answer our questions on Wednesday.

Posse members use the vehicles to back up fire and police units, conduct welfare checks on senior citizens, and perform a long list of other activities and duties. Allen told us she'd heard that the Sheriff's Office would have to hire about 80 new deputies if operations were to stop at the Sun City posse alone, which has also parked its vehicles this week along with the posses Westbrook Village and Sun City West.

The other 54 posse units in Maricopa County may be operating without the proper insurance, in violation of the 2012 policy, or some of them may have also parked their vehicles. Posses have 115 marked vehicles and an unknown number of unmarked vehicles displaying government plates.

The posses won't be shutting down at any point, but their ability to provide services -- which is funded by area residents -- is hampered severely without their wheels. And the posses are at odds with Arpaio as to the extent of the problem. A statement by the Sun City posse calls the problem a "county-wide suspension" of the vehicles, which the Sheriff's Office disputes.

The Sun City posse statement says:

"Most all Posse Vehicles are out of service and suspended per action of M.C.S.O. This is stated as an insurance issue.

Please note that Sun City Posse in uniform are working the Sun Bowl, funeral watches and other activities in their own personal vehicles. The Sheriff hopes to resolve the Insurance issue as soon as possible. Patrol Cars are off the streets.

This is a County-wide suspension, and affects ALL Sheriff's Posse vehicles per Enforcement Support which is the central command of all Maricopa Posses. However some Posse units have resumed use of vehicles as this policy was issued in 2012. No Posses were ever told. Sun City, Westbrook, and Sun City West have decided to follow Enforcement Support suggestions."

No posses were ever told about the 2012 policy change?

Arpaio's got some explaining to do.

He'll be holding a news conference with County Supervisor Clint Hickman at the Sun City posse's headquarters at 3:30 p.m. today, reports yourwestvalley.com, the website of the Northwest Valley Newspapers' Daily-News Sun. We're still waiting this morning for confirmation from the Sheriff's Office, which we asked on Wednesday to notify of us of any upcoming news conferences.

UPDATE: At 9:33 a.m, the Sheriff's Office emailed reporters at local news outlets, including the Phoenix New Times to let them know about the news conference.

UPDATE: Sheriff Arpaio & county resolve posse-vehicle insurance problem. County to continue covering insurance costs, says Supervisor Clint Hickman.
We'll have a post with more details in the morning.

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75 comments
wherewasi
wherewasi

I personally have major issues with the whole concept of the posse. We have a bunch of non-POST-certified persons, mostly older guys, running around in uniform, in vehicles that appear to be MCSO' s, armed, playing cops and robbers. Living out a dream during retirement that they weren't't fit to fulfill in their youth? And when one of them kills an innocent person, then what?  Arpaio is setting tax payers up for a mind-blowing lawsuit. Andy didn't let Barney have bullets for a reason! I know they do community service projects unrelated to law enforcement and think that's great. But, that is all they should be doing. No uniforms, no guns, no black SUVs.   

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Where's Robert (JAFfy) to cry and scream that Snow should be thrown from the bench and support his hero?

He's been eerily silent since I called him out for being a woman beater (he supported the Tucson PD for pushing a woman out of the way during a basketball game.)

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

If Sun City wants it's own cops, it should PAY for it's own cops.  If it wants to use the posse for this, Sun City should be paying the insurance on the Clown Car Posse vehicles - the county shouldn't give government HANDOUTS to Sun City just because Sun city is too cheap to pay!  This is WELFARE for the Sun City clown show....

lennygarbo
lennygarbo

Will there be donuts? I hope there'll be donuts. I'm willing to patrol Sun City in my golf cart if need be. My oxygen tank and my walker fit in back pretty well. Thank God the meeting is at 3:30, I can't miss Bill O'Reilly.

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

I have to wonder if MCSO has the responsibility for insuring the cars simply because they are outfitted as police vehicles and as such are considered "emergency vehicles" by state statute. It seems to me that even if I used my private vehicle to assist with any formalized police activity it would fall out of normal coverage with my insurer, thus requiring an additional rider on the policy, if available.


That said, I don't think the taxpayers of the entire county should be paying to insure some privately owned vehicles used for the "feel good security" of the local posse. How about if each citizen in each posse area pays additional property tax to cover the expenses of "their" private patrol vehicles? Fat chance with that.


Each posse is supposedly a 501 (C) 3 non-profit LLC and as such they SHOULD be responsible for all cost associated with the private security firm that parades around looking like members of the county sheriff agency.


If they want to play cop let them pay the tariff.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Ok, Joke just told the Insane Clown posse that WE THE TAXPAYERS will BE GIVING THEM HANDOUTS for insurance on the privately owned clown cars, so they can PLAY COP and dress in a uniform!

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Clint Hickman deserves to be booted out on his ass. 

Why should my tax dollars be used to pay for illegally registered vehicles? The posse is not/are not county employees/government officials. Let those fools pay their own way.

 

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Seems Joke's visit to the Prune Posse was not on the news, but the court hearing by Snow about the Joker sure did!  The Joke has been given 7 days to clean up his crap and pull his head out of his ass!

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

The real story here would seem to be that, despite changes in policy on paper, MCSO has continued to misappropriate funds to subsidize special services for those parts of the county where the voters are most likely to support Arpaio.


DNichols
DNichols

Memo to M.C.S.O. Posse:

Sun City Posse members prior to the Blow Hards visit please have some one that can see  inspect the sidewalks where Arpaio will be walking for any portruding cracks, and make sure the buildings property insurance is current.

Thank you.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Has any posse vehicle been involved in an accident or otherwise had to file an insurance claim since the policy change?


I'm also curious about vehicle maintenance.  Does the county change the oil and replace tires, etc?

soulalibi
soulalibi

I agree with TC below. Don't expect any valuable or detailed information to be given to the public from that fragile geezer of a political thug. All we are going to hear is the same usual trite diatribe: "I'm the Sheriff!" 


But his white haired feeble supporters will surely lap it up just fine and dandy. Like the strays feasting on scrap out of the garbage bin.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

So, the posses have been driving without proper plates or insurance for almost 2 years.  Time for a "MCSO Posse Tent" in Tent city, as they broke the law!

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

>> Zero confidence training will be adequate

>> Unannounced visits to MCSO (let's hope the old man doesn't stonewall the judge like he did with the DOJ).

>> Not tolerating anymore of the old man's bullshit.

Yeah, I'd say Snow is pissed.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I'm waiting to see when the old man slips up again so Snow can finally kick his ass into gear Flyer.

It's just a matter of time Joe....

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Flyer9753  its like dealing with little kids. every time you ask them or point out something........they get the hang dog look and mutter the standard "i'm sorry.........i wont do it again" and yet a few hours or days later............there you are staring down at the top of the head of a sulking 5 year old with his head hanging and muttering the same line he said last time. 

"i'm sorry"

NO...........NO YOU ARE NOT...........you are just sorry you got caught AGAIN.

Snow needs to start meting out punishment. Joe says it works that way. after all people who havent even been convicted for their crimes are punished in his jails just as equally as those who have been  convicted, and he says that makes sure they dont want to return..................so start punishing the crap out of Joe and his upper command so they wont want to return to court

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@Dontbelieveit  

The Federal Court really needs to put MCSO into receivership and stop all the bullshit.
Until that happens there will never be any honor or integrity in MCSO

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@Dontbelieveit  

Why in the fuck are the tax payers footing the bill for these volunteer clown posse members is what I want to know.

>>Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a county official now say posse vehicles will be covered under by the county's self-insurance pool<<

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@TommyCollins  


Tommy.  The Joke and his posse understand the law just as much as they understand quantum physics.....

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@WhoKnows  the posse visit was on abc15..............it was about a 15 second shot of some guy saying something while he was fumbling with his mic..............so you couldnt hear what he said. all you could almost make out was him thanking them for their patience and that things would be resolved 

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@WhoKnows  

Do you have a link? I would love to read it. 

I got called in to my job today (which sucked, because I was looking forward to the old fool's public ass whipping by Snow today) so I couldn't go ...

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@WhoKnows  

Lol I doubt the old man will ever pull his head out of his ass.... he's just too dim to me.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@valleynative  i agree, but unfortunately for the people in Sun City who love him..............he has been misappropriating more than usual and the "Joe fiscal hi-jinks" has now bled over into their territory too.  i wonder how they will try to shift the blame away from Joe?? no matter how you look at it, its his problem. MCSO is his agency and the posse operates off of MCSO. Joe also says the posse is HIS program...............ergo, this F***- up is Joe's problem (and if we could get his agency audited, we would find out just what else is Joe's problem)

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@DNichols  Also make sure Jaffy has changed his depends recently

hcc1
hcc1

@valleynative  each posse is responsible for the purchase, maintenance repairs etc.  The county picks up the tab for liability only.  Fire, theft etc are covered by the respective posse's.  

What people miss here is the Posse's save the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually by volunteering and paying for their own equipment and uniforms including vests etc.  


So for the county to have to pick up liability ONLY and save tens of millions of dollars annually a year is not a bad deal. 


I know Arpaio isn't well received by all but in this case he actually does save the county a large amount of money if the county had to pay wages, taxes and additional equipment to replace them with paid employees. 


It does save the taxpayer in the end.  



valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows  

Wrong.  They've had valid plates and insurance.  They've simply had those plates and that insurance coverage in violation of MCSO policy.

Why is that distinction impossible for you to grasp?

Dontbelieveit
Dontbelieveit topcommenter

@Cozz I'm going to show up unannounced and make sure there isn't any baloney going on," Snow said.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Cozz  soon that just might be the outcome. the judge is getting angrier and angrier every day................and since a judge is the one who decides your fate............its best not to have a pissed off judge on your case

Dontbelieveit
Dontbelieveit topcommenter

@Cozz I think they're dipping into the locked up drugs. One day they are next day they aren't then they change the rules to fit their needs! WTF are they going to do next?.

azweasel
azweasel

He picks the corn out and plays with it.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@hcc1 @valleynative 

I understand that without the posses, the County would have to pay more to cover Sun City and Sun City West, but do you understand that if they did so, the patrol coverage of those areas would be less than it is today and some other popular services would not be available?


Getting a bargain doesn't justify subsidizing special services to those parts of the Valley.  Joe is buying the votes of retirees by allowing them to pay for enhanced police coverage in a way that's tax-deductible rather than by raising their taxes.


MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

No Valley, you're wrong.

Try this: when the time came for the posse to renew its vehicles registrations and tags, the posse members told the MVD they were officials with the County Sheriff's Office when in fact they are NOT officials.

Basically, the posses can't use plates designated for official use when they are not officials. That would be fraud, impersonating an official, and theft of government property at the very least.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows  actually, they were technically breaking the law due to having Govt issued plates, when they are not employees of the govt. just saying

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows  The policy as of 7/12 was that they could not use Gov plates - therefore they did NOT have valid plates!  Such simple words are beyond your comprehension skills.  They were therefore illegally registered, and not insured!

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@Dontbelieveit @Cozz

He better be careful, these dipshits at MCSO are so corrupt they might try and throw him in jail and feed him baloney.

DNichols
DNichols

@danzigdaddy

Arpaio thinks he is a God, and he has proven time, and time again he has zero repect for the U.S. Judicial System.

Arpaio's arrogance, corruption,racism,  and disrespect of U.S. Law has proven the desperate need for two term limits for the out dated, and too powerful position of "Sheriff".

Arpaio is the "Poster Child" for term limits.

Hey Law Makers in this "Desert Racist Wasteland" wake up?!

Oh thats right Law Makers also need two term limits.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Dontbelieveit i am just picturing the confiscated drugs in Sun City.................Viagara  and Glycerine pills??

wherewasi
wherewasi

@valleynative @wherewasi @hcc1  So... the Posse member who got shot  backing up PD is going to do WHAT? Pay his own medical bills? Sean Pearce killed a guy driving recklessly on a mission.  How much will that cost us? How much would it cost us if it was a posse dude instead of an MCSO deputy? I think you need a course in remedial critical thinking skills before you spout off about a VERY REAL scenario.

wherewasi
wherewasi

@valleynative @wherewasi @hcc1  Wrong. This is exactly what could happen with the Posse.  We have to consider the possible ramifications of the actions of uncertified  personnel acting (yes-ACTING) as law enforcement officers. The posse is comprised of men and women who are NOT employees of Maricopa County and, for the most part, never have been and are not currently POST certified. There is now an issue about the insurance of their VEHICLES. What about the insurance of their ACTIONS??  Having been married to a wannabe cop for 13 years, I am sorry if you don't like it, but I am claiming to know something about the topic and stand by my comments.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@wherewasi @hcc1@valleynative 

Something happened somewhere in a situation that is slightly similar to this situation, so we should base our judgments on that, rather than on the many years of actual history of the Sheriff's posses.

I guess that's easier than actually thinking.

 


wherewasi
wherewasi

@hcc1 @valleynative  George Zimmerman did volunteer work for his HOA too and we all see what happens when a wannabe with a gun and a false sense of authority gets a little too big for his britches!! 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@hcc1 @valleynative 

Yes, I am mainly talking about SC and SCW.

As for the safety issue, the actual alternative to the posse would be to either increase staffing to an appropriate level, or to break down and create local police departments.

hcc1
hcc1

@valleynative @hcc1  I sure see your point.  But you're mainly talking the Sun City Posse's.  There are many more throughout the county besides Sun City that don't do the types of things they do. 

They do security for the HOA's .. Other than sun City I don't believe there are any more that do the same as Sun City.  


You may be spot on with Sun City but what about all the others?   


If the Posse didn't exist in SC the County definitely would not replace to the amount current.  


The Sheriffs dept. is short staffed in many areas and some Posses do help back up deputies on many calls.  


Lets think safety here now.  Would you prefer to see a deputy possibly be seriously injured or even killed because a lack of the Posse? 


I think not I'm sure. I get what you're saying but for the county to insure vehicles (liability) only for a fraction of what they receive in return is a hard argument 

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@valleynative @MaskedMagician1967 

Once again, VN has absolutely no concept of fraud. 

1) The posse is VOLUNTEER. They are NOT authorized, BY LAW, to use license plates designated for OFFICIAL USE. Since that's the case (the posse was issued official use only/government designation plates when the posse member is not an official/government employee) that would be FRAUD. And once the MVD realized it messed up, the plates and registrations should have been cancelled

2) The plates belong to the State of Arizona. Misrepresenting yourself (in this case, a posse member using an official use only/government plate, which makes the public and/or law enforcement believe you are a government employee/official) represents THEFT OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. Again, the MVD should cancel all those registrations and plates.

3) Using an official use only/government plate when you are NOT an official/government employee is called IMPERSONATING AN OFFICIAL. 

All are felonies. I'd love to see MontyPug get his ass in gear and prosecute these people. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967  

Why do you think you can make things up and pretend that's what happened?  Who says they told anybody they were "officials" with MCSO?

The way it usually works when you go to renew plates is that you send in a request to renew your plates.  Period.  No need to identify yourself again at all, since you're already registered.

There's no fraud.

 

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows @david_saint01  

Try this one.  If the plates are illegaly issued or on a vehicle where they don't belong, they are not "legal"....  


Tell us, oh wise one, what government agency is the "sun City Posse"?  The answer is NONE!

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative@david_saint01 

Did you read the part where I said "without committing any fraud"?   They didn't provide any bogus information.  They told the MVD that they were the Sheriffs posse and wanted to renew their county plates, and the MVD agreed.  Neither party realized it was a violation of MCSO policy, so no law was broken.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative@david_saint01 

If you ask for County plates without committing any fraud in doing so, and they give them to you, then you haven't violated any law.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative 

If I steal money and use it to register my vehicle, are you really stupid enough to believe that my vehicle is registered illegally?


The fact that they weren't supposed to be paying for the registration does not mean that they're not registered.  It means that the MCSO broke the law again.



WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows  This goes back to the (admiited) ILLEGAL use of 99.5 million in jail funds by MCSO..  After MCSO ADMITTED to it, they could no longer pay for the plates and insurance of the PRIVATELY OWNED posse clown cars!  The plates were therefore ILLEGAL at the time.  Just like you can't buy a used cop car and keep government plates on it and transfer those plates into your name...

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @valleynative 

Because they're covering their own asses by being over-cautious, and to force the powers that be to resolve the issue.

Simple enough for you?

 

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows  Then why have the posses left their vehicles parked since they got the letter?  If they were "legal", they still be using the posse cars!


Simple logic VN....

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows

The MCSO policy change did not (and cannot) make plates issued by MVD invalid.   It made them a violation of MCSO policy.  The simple words "invalid" and "violation" do not mean the same thing.

They are legally registered and insured in a manner which is a violation of MCSO policy.


If I take my dog to work in violation of company policy, that does not mean that my pet ceases to be a dog.  There may be some consequence to my having violated policy, but the dog remains a perfectly valid dog.


DNichols
DNichols

@Whoknows

Like the M.C.S.O. says:

"No Amnesty" for the "illegals"!!!

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