Unmarked Posse Cars to Ditch Government Plates After Birther's Tell-All Article

Brian Reilly with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Mike Zullo, chief investigator for the Cold Case Posse's Obama conspiracy case.
Was last week's posse crisis triggered by a former Cold Case Posse's whistle-blowing article on March 9?

Brian Reilly, the former posseman and an ex-Surprise Tea Party member, believes so.

A new policy affecting posse cars and other vehicles put into effect on Thursday suggests he could be right.

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

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.

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Maricopa County Posse Vehicles Violate Policy, May Lose Authorization by April 24, Memo Says

Image: Ray Stern
Sun City posse vehicles remain parked as of Tuesday.
A March 24 memo sent by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to Valley posse organizations warns that many posse vehicles violate a 2012 policy.

The memo, obtained by the Phoenix New Times this morning, came about a week before the announcement over the weekend by the Sun City West and Sun City posses that they'd suspended operations. The posses later said they were open for business -- but that they couldn't use their vehicles, which remained parked as of Tuesday afternoon.

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

Image: scwposse.com
Sun City West posse members in an undated photo.
Contradicting several published reports, Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio's office now says that no posse program was ever suspended due to an insurance "glitch."

The precise nature of the "glitch" still isn't being explained to the public by county leadership or Sheriff Arpaio.

But it seems to have something to do with 115 vehicles owned by posses that have not been covered by insurance, or at least not the right insurance.

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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."

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Maricopa Posse Members Sent Home; Sheriff Arpaio Not Giving Details Yet

A headline on the Sun City Posse's website states that activities have been suspended.

Members of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office posse in Sun City West and other locations were relieved of their duties and sent home over the weekend in a possible dispute over insurance.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio claims this isn't a "story" yet but may be a "big story" if he's unable to resolve certain issues with county leaders, news media reports say. Arpaio hasn't yet confirmed rumors that the dispute has to do with whether or not the volunteer posse members are covered by the county's insurance plan.

The move to suspend posse operations comes a few months after one Sun City posse member, Phillip Grigg, was stuck with large medical bills after being shot and wounded while coming to the aid of a Phoenix police officer.

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Roger Byg, Former Member of Joe Arpaio's Posse, Arrested on Child-Porn Charges

Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a posse swearing-in ceremony in Cave Creek.

A former member of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's posse was arrested by MCSO deputies on child-pornography charges.

According to the Sheriff's Office, 73-year-old Roger Byg was a posse member in the old-folks community of Sun City and even had served on the posse's board before resigning early last year. MCSO's computer crimes division detectives served a search warrant Thursday at his Sun City home.

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FBI to Investigate Fatal Shooting of Suspect by a Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy

Manuel Longoria, with his hands in the air, moments before a PCSO deputy shoots and kills him.
Federal officials will investigate the fatal shooting last month of a suspect by a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy after the man led law enforcement officers on a nearly hour-long car chase.

Manuel Longoria, shot in the street on January 14, wouldn't obey officers' commands at the scene. He told police he had a gun, although one was never found.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has said his deputy, identified by New Times sources and other media outlets as Heath Rankin, was justified in the shooting.

A PCSO spokesman previously told us he couldn't confirm or deny whether Rankin was the shooter because of threats that have been made to the deputy's life.

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"True Crypt" Encryption Software Stumps MCSO Detectives in Child-Porn Case

Image: truecrypt.org
If you want to hide data on your computer, a free open-source program called "True Crypt" apparently is one way to do it.

According to the booking sheet of suspected child-porn suspect James DeSilva, forensics detectives from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office were stumped when they tried to see what was on DeSilva's computer.

But the detectives shouldn't feel too bad -- even the NSA, FBI, and CIA reportedly have been frustrated by widely available encryption software.

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Pregnant Inmate Who Was Shackled in County Jail Loses Lawsuit Against Sheriff Arpaio

Image: Court video still via cnn.com
Miriam Mendiola-Martinez in court.
Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, an undocumented immigrant who was shackled during her pregnancy after an arrest, has lost her lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell has ruled that Mendiola-Martinez was indeed restrained at times before and just after giving birth in 2009 but that her treatment in jail did not result in a violation of rights.

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