It’s important for police labor and a sitting Arizona Senator to continue to move ahead as partners in a positive forward direction to serve our citizens and our members. On Monday, August 30, 2010, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu requested and facilitated a meeting between PLEA (Joe Clure, Mark Spencer, Dr. Levi Bolton), Border Patrol (President Brandon Judd and Treasurer Bud Tuffly), and Senator John McCain. Because of our support, involvement, and experience with SB1070, Senator McCain requested our input in the area of illegal immigration and its impact on local law enforcement. PLEA and the Border Patrol committed to Senator McCain to provide a front-line “road map” in addressing the crime of illegal immigration at a federal level.
Listen Now! to comments aired on the Mike Broomhead show on August 31, 2010.
At this meeting PLEA shared with Senator McCain their concern over inflated kidnapping numbers that were presented to him and the nation by the City of Phoenix. PLEA explained the difference between occupants in a drop house and a kidnapping victim. Drop house occupants are passengers on a journey and co-conspirators (at least under former County Attorney Andrew Thomas’ tenure) in a crime. Drop house occupants are considered product that needs to be secured with padlocks on doors and armed guards. Drop house occupants were NOT the focus of the HIKE squad nor federal money the City of Phoenix received. There have been thousands of drop house occupants that are NOT victims but criminals arrested for violating federal immigration law. Phoenix Police management and city government presented to Senator McCain that there were at least 358 kidnappings in Phoenix in a one year period. Under the HIKE squad focus, the victims of these kidnappings were being held for ransom and involved phone monitoring, victim rescue, and extensive follow-up and manpower. The disputed annual kidnapping number in Phoenix of 358 is more likely between 50 and 100. PLEA shared with Senator McCain the allegation that the kidnapping number of 358 that was presented to him and his peers was called into question by in-house police managers and in-house police statisticians and police management was notified of the inflated numbers prior to the presentation. The allegation of false numbers was also brought to city management’s attention over a year ago. In addition, PLEA shared with Senator McCain that Sgt. Phil Roberts reported the alleged misconduct and questionable kidnapping numbers and is now a “target of retaliation” by the Phoenix Police Department. Senator McCain shared that he would have the DOJ look into the number of kidnappings in Phoenix to assure that federal money was obtained appropriately.