They charged nothing for their services, saving Pinal taxpayers at least $7 million over almost 30 years by conducting otherwise costly rescues. They financed their operations out of their own pockets or through fundraising efforts aimed at paying for expensive rescue gear (think several hundred dollars for a single, specially designed rope) and extensive training.

This was until Sheriff Paul Babeu, a politician from Massachusetts with scant law enforcement experience and a shocking work history ("Paul Babeu's Suspicious Past," March 8; "Cracked Truth," May 17), was sworn in as Pinal County sheriff in January 2009.

Babeu wasn't in office long before the team, which had served the county without problems for 2 1/2 decades, found itself at odds with him.

Perhaps the rift started even before Babeu took office, when the team — according to SSAR commander Robert Cooper and member David Thompson — rebuffed the future sheriff's request for a campaign endorsement because of its nonprofit status and apolitical role in the community.

"Politics do not belong in search and rescue," Thompson tells New Times. "We as a group don't care about your party affiliation, your religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race. If you are lost or injured, we are here to help."

It's unclear whether the team's unwillingness to play politics led to the sheriff's starting his own rescue posse in December 2009. Thompson suspects that Babeu was jealous of SSAR and wanted a crew fully beholden to him whose rescues he could boast about publicly.

SSAR felt Babeu's wrath even before he announced the formation of his new PCSO Search and Rescue Posse. An SSAR member who doubled as a volunteer for the Sheriff's Office's Victim Services unit (she counseled families in crisis) was fired from her unpaid post after expressing concern about how a rescue incident was handled by Babeu's SSAR liaison.

Babeu decided to form his posse despite an annual report — published by the PCSO in 2007 — noting that SSAR's volunteer work had saved the Sheriff's Office an estimated $240,000 in that year alone.

Though SSAR was getting pushed out of rescue operations by Babeu almost from the start, it continued to respond to 911 calls to the PCSO until the sheriff's posse was up and running.

Babeu invited SSAR to work as volunteers in his new posse, but the team declined in a unanimous vote of members present at a meeting, citing safety concerns surrounding Sergeant Brian Messing, the sheriff's liaison to the team who was destined to head the posse.

SSAR had alleged in March 2009 that Messing pointed a scoped rifle at Thompson and other team members during a mountainside rescue at Picacho Peak. Thompson thinks Messing was trying to get a better look at the rescue of two teenage girls trapped on jagged rocks. Messing denies the allegation, which could have cost him his job if proved true.

An internal investigation by Babeu's office cleared Messing of wrongdoing — even though the sheriff's investigator who conducted it admitted that not everyone on the Picacho Peak rescue scene was interviewed.

On another occasion, a volunteer complained to the PCSO that Messing planned to leave two SSAR members in an unfamiliar canyon for 16 hours on a scorching summer day.

On still other occasions, Messing dispatched volunteers on search missions without keeping tabs on their safe return, SSAR complained.

It wasn't just SSAR members grousing about Messing. Ben Cook, a PCSO deputy supervised by Messing, was "screaming, yelling, and cursing" at his boss over safety issues, according to court records. Cook filed a notice of claim against the Sheriff's Office because Babeu fired him, purportedly for abusing overtime. To avoid a lawsuit, Babeu rehired Cook and reimbursed him more than $35,000 in lost wages and benefits.

Messing didn't respond to New Times' request for information.

New Times first asked Babeu spokesman Tim Gaffney on November 9 to provide public records and answer a host of questions for this story, including about Messing. When he didn't respond, Gaffney was contacted on November 27 and asked for a status report on the request. Gaffney responded that he never received the request sent to his PCSO e-mail address and demanded that it be sent to the office's records division. A subsequent request was sent there the next day.

Gaffney responded to that request on December 14 with a letter containing a few details about PCSO posse staffing, no public records, and some odd accusations. Chief among the latter was that SSAR commander "David Cooper" and his team refused to join Babeu's posse because Cooper wouldn't submit to a criminal background check.

Of course, SSAR's commander is Robert Cooper. He responds that Gaffney's insinuation is absurd, that he passed 18 background checks when the team was affiliated with the PCSO.

"I don't have a criminal background," he says. "I've never been charged with anything."

When New Times asked Gaffney once more to release the requested public information, he repeated another of the accusations, wrote a little more about posse staffing, and said New Times' request for most of the information had to be submitted still again.

In announcing his new posse in October 2009, Babeu told local media that it would ensure the "best response to our citizens and visitors." He said his team would have an "even better" service record than other search-and-rescue teams.

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55 comments
jhumpheryerrwilson
jhumpheryerrwilson

It seems tha tSSR is a great organization and getting screwed. However, the Joyce Wilson mentioned in the article is a certified lunatic who can't keep friends and chooses to disown ALL of her family at one time or another basically because she needs the help of a mental health professional.  If Robert Cooper only knew what her ex-family knows. She's a ticking time bomb.

robert_graham
robert_graham

How about if we talk about how Obama is really sticking it to taxpayers.

allaboutthetruth
allaboutthetruth

Has anyong looked on line for the restraining order her daughter has against her, very sad.

vigvamvoo
vigvamvoo

lol, that dude jsut looks corrupt as trhe day is long, must know Joe Arpaio well lol


www.otAnon.tk

sedonasherpa
sedonasherpa

Of all aspects of the various SO's around the State...the Search & Rescue needs to be free of politics and negative influences. Save people who need saving...end of story.  The money wasted on so many other "programs" remains under the radar.  If people can pay-back some of the expenses for a particular act of stupidity...then so be it...If not...move on...have a fund raiser and shut up.

robert_graham
robert_graham

This rag should be deemed a hate group. I shall start a petition.

sheriffslutboi1
sheriffslutboi1

Babeu not only is costing taxpayer, Babeu is an embarrasement for pinal county, Arizona and san tan valley neighborhood. People feel compassion for babeu after seeing his profile and photos on porn sites.

What about the twisted investigation Dave cole did about Babeu threatening his exboyfriend. the true will come out sooner than later with more texts, lettes and photos, including babeu offering a job as a cop to one of his lovers. that's a fact is still on electronic documents to be reviewed by a new qualified investigators. then all liers chris derose, kurt cusanovich and the big lier narcissist and opportunistic will face the justice.

tyler_speedskater
tyler_speedskater

i dont understand how corrupt politicians keep getting into office year after year, McCain has been in there for years has no potential, Arpaio many years in office, has potential, but with all the lawsuits and payouts its really time for the rocking chair, Brewer has a big mouth, and one big cock would take care of that

bobbjobob
bobbjobob

lol, gotta love those bought and paid for corrupt politicians lol.


www.AnonDid.tk

bpgdean
bpgdean

if you are searching for ignorance in america, you need look no further than the voters of pinal county who elected and re-elected the liar, pedofile, self centered braggard know as babeu...rhymes with peeee uuuu.

Helen
Helen

Monica, This is a great article you wrote for Robert and his wonderful SSAR Volunteer Team. I am so proud to know some of the members and that they still continued in spite of Paul stupidity in his first day of Office getting rid of them. They did not let Paul steal their determination, dedication, purpose and integrity to the community, in helping of saving lives and finding bodies  for family members.

 Paul is a evil person that he thinks he can steal people's joy, but he did not win in this case. This SSAR group moved forward, continued doing their volunteer work, their spirit not broken by Paul Babeu. The reason being, it wasn't about them. It was about other people. This is something Paul knows nothing about. Paul is so self-centered, he acts out in revenge, anger and he always thinks people will quit. Sorry Paul, your plan did not work. You lost a very valuable group of people that were very dedicated and did it for free. You will never understand that. You are so abusive Paul, you do not even realize you even abuse your own dick.

Monica, again, thank you for writing this great article and thanks to SSAR and all your continued dedication to other people. You are the true hero's .

Paul Babeu your plan failed. And it will again with your border volunteers, because it is just about you. Helen 

bgray59
bgray59

Outstanding piece.  I can't wait for you to investigate the outright corruption of Babeau and their selective enforcement for political supporters.

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

I havent been around here much, but I Read this story. As a former volunteer firefighter I have to admire the courage of those who go out and try and help strangers in trouble. It's too bad fucking AZ politics have to interfere. Fuck Babeau, fuck his lackies and fuck all the idiots that put these fucktards into office.BTW aren't AZ people all about saving on taxes? FUCKING bunch of hypocrites in this state.

Paul the Cab Driver
Paul the Cab Driver

Add Mr. Babeau to the list of worthless sheriffs that includes Larry Dever of Cochise county who died while driving totally smashed, and Joe Arpiao of Maricopa County whose offenses against humanity are too long to list here.  It's a long, sordid list that goes back to the days of the corrupt Earp brothers. 

Of all the useless government items we have, county government has to rank top of the list.  There is nothing that the county government does that cannot be handled by the state or by the various cities and towns.  All of it is redundant.  Perhaps a county government made sense back in 1880, when it took two days to get from Phoenix to Prescott, but now, it certainly does not make any sense at all.  Time to eliminate it, along with all its corrupt county commissioners, worthless bureaucrats, and pompous cowboy sheriffs.

Nicosamuel
Nicosamuel

Tim Gaggme is a fucking liar, and Paul Babeu's favorite stooge.. Everybody knows that. How does he sleep at night being such a creep! With Gaggme around, Babeu always has somebody around to tell him what a studly sheriff he is.

dethompson112
dethompson112

ARS 11-441. Powers and duties

8. C. The sheriff shall conduct or coordinate within the county search or rescue operations involving the life or health of any person, or may assist in such operations in another county at the request of that county's sheriff, and may request assistance from any persons or agencies in the fulfillment of duties under this subsection.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu can call upon Superstition Search & Rescue at anytime! Sheriff Babeu just does not like to use all available resources to save someones life! Which is better out searching 50 Posse only or a combination of Posse and SSAR for 85 searches looking for the lost, injured or deceased?

Plus SSAR does not cost the County any of your Tax Dollars, where the PCSO SAR Posse does take your tax dollars!

PCSO SAR Posse, SSAR, MCSO SAR, C.A.M.R.A. and other SAR volunteers did not join these teams for Political reasons! 

These Volunteers joined to help those in time of need, they do this "So that others, May live"!

Those on Search & Rescue Posse's are not there to make a Sheriff look Good or Bad. They are there to help those in time of trouble!

Politics do not belong in Search & Rescue! 

I am thankful for every Search & Rescue Volunteer, in every County and every State in this Country!

God Bless each and everyone of these kind and caring individuals to give of there time, effort and money to save others!

comrade
comrade

Perverts like StudBoi knows that they are welcomed to Arizona by the biggest pervert of them all: the Old Fart from MCSO and his pink undies along with his bitch jaffy.

budsan
budsan

Arizona elects the worst of the worst when it comes to electing politicians. Arpaio, Babeu, Brewer, McCain and on and on

fairymagic13
fairymagic13

One of my best friends was rescued by the SSAR group in the 1990s at Weaver's Needle.  He had fallen off the volcanic ridge just to the south of the needle and was laying in the bottom.  When I saw that rope and litter come down I was the happiest man on earth.  They saved our friend's life and permanent brain damage.  This SPHINCTER comes into Arizona after buggering all the kids in that school he was headmaster at and starts buggering the citizens of Arizona - He should be BUGGERED by a Saguaro FORCIBLY!

katedemp
katedemp

Sheriff Cock-hound just wants these SSAR members to join "his posse," so he can smell all their drawers after they have done a long, hot, sweaty, rescue. The sheriff has volunteered to wash their undergarments in return for their service. One question I have to ask, Sheriff Paul was asked if he had any inappropriate/sexual relationships with anybody under 18 on his AZ POST application. How did Chandler PD miss that this scumbag was living with his sexual slave (i.e.-a child)?

dulcimer172
dulcimer172

Isn't there a constitutional limit of 1 azzhole sheriff per state ?

comrade
comrade

StudBoi interviewed them in private probably to see wich one has the biggest dick to "extract the information" from it.

kikiscupcakeservice
kikiscupcakeservice

My father, now deceased, George was a member of SSAR and good friend of Robert Cooper. He was fully involved with the crew, received awards from the Govenor and the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and was heartbroken when the SSAR was shunned by Babeu.  He suffered in silence, lost some of his physicality and the depression all lead to his demise.

luislv3
luislv3

Just disgraceful. What a complete waste of a county's resources. Why? Well, apparently Babeu wants to reinvent the wheel in his county! Wonder when that wheel will roll over Babeu and drag him through the mud like he deserves.

PissOnArpaio
PissOnArpaio

I wouldn't trust Babeu to find anything but a little boys dick in a dark closet.

Bort-LongYear
Bort-LongYear

BBBBBueeeue is a typical politician.  More worried about re-election than the people he serves.  Tsk, Tsk on the residence of Pinal county.  

PoPoPaula
PoPoPaula

Nice to see PCSO's Brian Messing finally getting some attention for some of his follies.

The dictionary might have said it best: "MESSING," as a verb, would be to cause or make a mess; to use or handle something carelessly; fiddle; to intrude; interfere.

robert_graham
robert_graham

Let's talk about how the liberals and their fuck ass leader are ruining this country.

nativearizonan
nativearizonan

Babeu is just a mindless inept Joe Arpaio Mini Me. Hard to believe Pinal County voters re-elected this degenerate as their sheriff.  Well, Pinal County is welcome to their bizarre sheriff who pimps himself off in gay want ads. I guess honor and integrity no longer are part of  the sheriff job description.

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

Joe Paul is used to snowing the folks out in la la land. This is no exception. He created the posse so those involved would 'owe' him, thus buying their loyalty.

It appears he is following the lead of his mentor, the Geriatric Goon of MCSO, with regard to failure to work WITH other agencies for the good of the people.

Like the Flaccid Failure of MCSO, Babeau cares only about his image, stud boi that he is.

robert_graham
robert_graham

The liberals have been sticking it to the American people for years so what's your problem?

mwmike
mwmike

When you can't attack the message, attack the messenger. You, senile, hateful Joe, and the gay, illegal alien loving Babeu would make a lovely threesome. 


robert_graham
robert_graham

@sheriffslutboi1 If a situation ever comes up where you need to be rescued, when rescuers are standing on the ledge hearing you beg for their help they should thumb their noses at you and walk away.

enuf.istoomuch
enuf.istoomuch

@dethompson112 wrote " Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu can call upon Superstition Search & Rescue at anytime!".

 Very true and there is considerable precedent in Arizona for a County Sheriff using volunteers as an agency unto themselves. An excellent example is in Pima County. Check out:

http://sarci.org/

In Pima County the SO calls out SARCI and a few deputies handle the legalities. SARCI is an umbrella organization for volunteer SAR teams, the oldest of which began in 1958. Some of the deputies were pretty darned good too, back in my day. This may not last when the current Sheriff retires and someone new is elected, that's the risk all volunteer teams face.

The new guy always wants to change things, slap his name on everything and to hell with what works as it is, he'll fix it until it breaks!

Paul the Cab Driver
Paul the Cab Driver

@budsan so does the rest of the country..  Time to realize that politics attracts the worst sorts, and the worst ALWAYS get on top. Arizona is no exception, and there is no government on Earth that has resisted this principle.  Some governments hide it better than others, but that is the extent of the mitigation.  

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@kikiscupcakeservice  sorry to hear that. my sister was helped out by SSAR, so she and i both appreciate them and everything theyve done. 

Paul the Cab Driver
Paul the Cab Driver

@luislv3  No, they are not "county resources".  Governments have NO resources except the ones they steal from the people.  Just because they extort money and call it taxes does not make it anything better than theft.  The SSAR is proof that we do not need governments, and that voluntary associations work far better.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan   blah blah blah blah blah blah blah......

oh, sorry, were you saying something? Anything? Didn't think so.

allanbartlett
allanbartlett

@JoeArpaioFan the NBA All Star team has been STICKING it to your mom for decades, no problem. Such a gang bang lovin' slut.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967

@JoeArpaioFan LMAO the liberals have been sticking it to the American people? 

I just read on yahoo that Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is refusing to commit his chamber to a floor vote on sorely-needed gun control laws after the mass shooting in Connecticut. 

This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with a stunningly inept ass-clown masquerading as a county shurf in an attempt to be tough on crime when he's really a liberal. 

BTW, Studboi is from Massachusetts (one of the most LIBERAL states in the country) and was the first Republican sheriff elected in Pinal County since 1875 (the year Pinal County was established) and is a TOTAL FAILURE.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan what in the hell are you babbling about? did you even read the article? i doubt you did. its talking about a agency that has proven its incompetence replacing a group that isnt costing us but very little, that is highly efficient and extremely competent.

budsan
budsan

@Paul the Cab Driver @budsan  I agree with you to a point, but tell me, what state elects two racist sheriff, a racist wacko governor in Jan Brewer, and a old bitter,  hate mongering, warmongering liar in John McCain as a U S. Senator?

Paul the Cab Driver
Paul the Cab Driver

@MaskedMagician1967 @JoeArpaioFan  they have BOTH been sticking it to the people and have been since the Whigs first battled the Democratic Republicans in the Adam's administration.  Wake up.  They are two sides of the same counterfeit coin.

mwmike
mwmike

All those states together don't have as many racist, hateful, illiterate, tea-publican nut jobs as AZ.

Paul the Cab Driver
Paul the Cab Driver

@ReggieVV  Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, New Hampshire.... uh, let's just save some typing and say "the other 49 states"!

ReggieVV
ReggieVV

@budsan @Paul the Cab Driver . Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma.

 
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