By Monica Alonzo
By Ray Stern
By New Times Staff
By Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Robrt L. Pela
"What was he thinking?" she wrote to Babeu regarding the incident. "It was 115 degrees out," and they would have spent 16 hours in a "wilderness area they'd never searched before."
Messing, she added, earlier had told the SSAR group that, in a flyover, he had spotted three bears in the canyon, which also contains lots of black rattlers and other "aggressive snakes."
Deputy Ben Cook, who worked for Messing at the time, also appeared to have longstanding issues with him over safety, according to a legal deposition of Messing in July 2010.
Messing's deposition was part of a lawsuit filed by the family of Sergeant Tate Lynch of the Casa Grande Police Department. Lynch died during a rappelling accident in October 2007. He was participating in a training exercise with the sheriff's SWAT team at the county Detention Center in Florence.
Lynch was rappelling down a two-story wall when he suddenly fell and suffered a severe head injury. He died about five hours later.
An investigative report "determined the training exercise involved several safety violations," according to a July 2012 Police Training Fatality Report by the National Tactical Officers Association.
During the exercise, according to court records, Cook called Messing and asked him whether there were helmets for participants. Cook recalled that Messing told him, "We're SWAT; we don't need any stinking helmets."
In his deposition, Messing said he doesn't recall making that statement to Cook. He testified that he was in charge of firearms training, not rappelling.
An attorney representing Lynch's family stated to Messing during the deposition: "[SSAR commander Robert] Cooper has testified that the reason Superstition Search and Rescue no longer works with [the] Pinal County Sheriff's [Office] is because of his concerns about safety and the fact that, in his view, you run an unsafe operation."
Messing claimed, "I don't know that allegation. The teams [SSAR and Sonoran Search and Rescue] were revamped and turned into a posse, and [Cooper] chose not to come. That's why we don't use Superstition."
The attorney also asked Messing whether there were other times when Cooper accused him of caring too little about safety.
"There was a situation, I don't recall the date; it was in a summer month," Messing responded. "It was on a search [when] I had left people out there — or not left people out there — the people had been deployed into an area that was too far, too hot for them, and that was a safety concern for him at the time, even though he wasn't on scene."
The attorney then queried, "And so he accused you of deploying people in an area where their health would be threatened because of not having access to water and necessary protection?"
Messing said, "He made the accusation that I was being unsafe, putting them into an area that . . . he felt was unsafe."
The exchange apparently was in reference to Joyce Wilson's complaint about Messing's leaving the two SSAR searchers in the canyon replete with bears and dangerous snakes during extremely hot weather.
Messing also testified in the deposition that he and Cooper did "not get along" for "personal" reasons.
As for Messing's statement that Cooper wasn't on the scene of that rescue effort, the SSAR commander says he continually checks in with his team to ensure operations are running smoothly and to assess members' needs.
Messing testified that Deputy Cook was "yelling and screaming and cursing" at him over inadequate "safety measures" — and that this caused him to write up Cook for insubordination.
So the attorney for the Casa Grande police sergeant asked Messing whether Cook believed that Messing was "unsafe . . . put people's lives in danger . . . put people at risk of injury . . . and didn't provide adequate safety measures" for PCSO personnel.
Messing acknowledged only one conversation in which Cook was upset because "I didn't buy helmets in the time that he wanted them purchased."
Not long after Robert Cooper and his band of rescuers saved Emily Decker and John Wilkinson at Flatiron Peak, the pair returned to the site of the rescue to search for Wilkinson's favorite baseball cap. But it was green and yellow — just like everything else in the desert that time of year — and they never found it.
Decker says they did find "some of his teeth, some bloody gauze, a piece of a rubber glove," adding that from time to time she thinks about her rescuers.
"They're amazing people," she says. "And it's pretty cool what they do, buying their own equipment and paying for their own training. They saved me. No one else could've done anything."
These days, Wilkinson lives in Hawaii and Decker lives in Alaska. She was visiting relatives in Arizona when New Times spoke with her in Mesa.
Because SSAR made formal its four-year partnership with the Apache Junction PD earlier this year, they'll get back the insurance coverage lost when Babeu formed his own posse.
Apache Junction Police Chief Jerald Monahan says the team's presence is good for the community's quality of life and peace of mind.
In 2009, the AJPD called Cooper's team when a 2-year-old girl was abducted in a trailer park by a sexual predator.
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.
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.
@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.
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
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.
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
Outstanding piece. I can't wait for you to investigate the outright corruption of Babeau and their selective enforcement for political supporters.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Arizona elects the worst of the worst when it comes to electing politicians. Arpaio, Babeu, Brewer, McCain and on and on
@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.
All those states together don't have as many racist, hateful, illiterate, tea-publican nut jobs as AZ.
@ReggieVV Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, New Hampshire.... uh, let's just save some typing and say "the other 49 states"!
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!
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)?
StudBoi interviewed them in private probably to see wich one has the biggest dick to "extract the information" from it.
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.
@kikiscupcakeservice sorry to hear that. my sister was helped out by SSAR, so she and i both appreciate them and everything theyve done.
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.
@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.
BBBBBueeeue is a typical politician. More worried about re-election than the people he serves. Tsk, Tsk on the residence of Pinal county.
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.
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.
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.
@JoeArpaioFan the NBA All Star team has been STICKING it to your mom for decades, no problem. Such a gang bang lovin' slut.
@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.
@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.
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