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Statement from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office

The following statement was issued by the PCSO in response to the Arizona Republic’s story regarding the use of the military’s 1033 program:

 

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has been an active partner of the United States Military Defense Logistics Agency, “1033 Program” since August of 2010.  Since that time period, our office has acquired over $7,000,000.00 worth of surplus and demilitarized equipment.  According to the Department of Defense and Logistics the cost savings to tax payers alone in Pinal County during 2011 was $3,792,425.04.

 

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has asked the Arizona Republic several times to complete a story regarding our tremendous success with the program as we wanted to inform the public.  Each time the information was provided to the Arizona Republic they declined to write a story until today when this misleading story was posted.

 

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “Recently the Arizona Republic has done several stories containing inaccurate information about myself, members of my staff and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.  Despite our efforts to change this type of agenda driven reporting by presenting their reporters and management with actual facts, unfortunately they have chosen to continue to write biased stories.  The story today by Dennis Wagner regarding our use of this great program was more of the same.  It is very unfortunate that the Arizona Republic is using their position to attack our office by  providing the public with inaccurate information.”

 

Below is a list of attachments related to our proper use of the national “1033 Program.”

 

  • A letter from the State “1033 Program” coordinator to the Director of the Law Enforcement Support Office who heads the “1033 Program” describing how our office uses of the equipment we have obtained is appropriate and is in the “best interest of tax payers.”

 

  • The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office had a “Program Compliance Review” completed by the Department of Defense in October of 2011. Our office passed with flying colors.

 

  •  This month our office received an award by the Department of Defense commending us on our “Superior Achievement in Fiscal Stewardship.”

 

  •  The Department of Defense was so impressed with our utilization of the program they filmed our members using the equipment we obtained for a training video which will be shown to members of Congress and other public safety agencies.

 

  •  The equipment we have obtained has already been used to save lives and improve public safety in Pinal County. 

 

  • The Department of Defense and the State 1033 Program Coordinator all have approved of our use of the equipment we have acquired. 

 

Agencies contacted by the Arizona Republic from both Federal, State and others have called our office to give us heads up they were interviewed by Mr. Wagner for this story.   We were told, no matters how many times they explained the facts, Mr. Wagner appeared set in trying to make it seem as though we have  issues with our program. 

 

The State “1033 Program” coordinator has already stated,  not only is our use of the equipment appropriate, but the fact Pinal County is 5,369 square miles in size, we need to loan the equipment to other first responders so that it can be placed strategically throughout the county.  The reason it is spread throughout the county is so it will be available without delays “to provide a quick and meaningful response to all emergencies.”  “If the equipment was all located at their headquarters in Florence, it would delay emergency response times and lives would be lost.”

 

The State “1033 Program” coordinator wrote in a letter dated May 15th, 2012 “The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has exceptional leadership, values, morals and ethics.  Their use of the 1033 program is in the best interest of the tax payers of the United States, the State of Arizona and Pinal County.  Their whole mission is to protect and serve the citizens of Pinal County.  The equipment that they receive from this program enhances their capability and response to all emergencies throughout Pinal County.”

 

Fire Chief Cecil Fendley, Queen Valley Fire District stated, “The equipment loaned to our agency to use through the “1033 program by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is vital to our success as emergency first responders. The Queen Valley Fire District uses the emergency response equipment in this area because of our remote location.  We provide emergency response services for citizens who use the wilderness areas of the Tonto National Forrest, its many trail heads and recreational areas.  Our area at times during the year suffers from extreme flooding.  Prior to having the equipment you loaned us, our emergency response equipment was very limited as to where it could respond due to the rugged terrain and flooding.  In the past we used to have delayed responses to citizens in need.  There have been times due to extreme flooding that Queen Valley has been isolated. The Queen Valley Fire District has always worked very closely with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to help keep the citizens of Pinal County and other people who visit our recreational areas  safe. We also work very closely with your Search and Rescue team.

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Sheriff Babeu is the first sheriff that has reached out to help better equip all emergency first responders in Pinal County.  With  today's economy it is getting harder and harder to find sources of funding to purchase much needed equipment for first responders.  The equipment your office has loaned to us  is beneficial to the survival of the emergency service we provide and it has eased the financial burden on our tax payers.  Thank you for all that you are doing and be sure that you have our full support.”

 

Fire Chief Steven W. Kerber, Regional Fire & Rescue Department stated, "As fiscal restraints in today’s economy cause an erosion upon the ability of fire departments to purchase and acquire much needed life saving equipment.   Grants and alternate sources of funding are facing greater challenges from an increasing number of agencies that put a high demand on available funding from those sources.  Many fire departments are going without due to this situation.  The available use of this emergency equipment, albeit under "loan" from the Sheriff's Office and acquired through the 1033 program, provides us with equipment that otherwise we would never have or be able to acquire on our own. The consideration of Sheriff Babeu in the interest, first and foremost of the betterment of our Citizens in Pinal County which we both serve, by having access to this life-saving equipment, including the loaned use of a surplus fire truck, in the end, benefits our communities. The efforts undertaken by the Pinal County Sheriff to include first responder agencies in Pinal County should be applauded and used as an example for more County law enforcement agencies to follow!"