Dead or Alive? Paul Babeu's Wilderness-Rescue Unit Once Again Proves Inept

Tonya Hensley's asking herself if her husband would still be alive if she'd relied initially on the crack Superstition Search and Rescue team rather than Paul Babeu's unit.

Is Daddy living in the mountains now?"

It's a heartbreaking question that 5-year-old Alexa has been asking her mom, Tonya Hensley, since her father went missing on April 15.

It's been three weeks since members of Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR) traced Chris Hensley's steps into the Superstition Mountains and located his remains in an area known as No Name Canyon.

Chris and Tonya Hensley
Courtesy of Tonya Hensley
Chris and Tonya Hensley
Chris with daughters Alyssa and Alexa at a state park in Indiana
Courtesy of Tonya Hensley
Chris with daughters Alyssa and Alexa at a state park in Indiana

"He's in Heaven watching over you," Hensley says, trying to explain their father's absence to Alexa and 7-year-old Alyssa.

When they get older, she will tell them that he fell about 200 feet off the face of a massive rock, that he slammed against at least two rock ledges before landing on the ground. She'll tell them that death investigators say his broken ribs punctured his left lung. She'll tell them that he died unattended in the wilderness after having been missing for more than three days.

Chris Hensley set out on the afternoon of April 15 for Flatiron Peak, a rock tower in the Superstition Wilderness more than four miles from his mother-in-law's house in Apache Junction.

The search-and-rescue team that discovered his body had worked alongside the Pinal County Sheriff's Office for more than two decades. But after Sheriff Paul Babeu took office in 2009, he snubbed the all-volunteer team and started his own crew.

Although the PCSO and other search volunteers scoured the desert and mountains for more than 800 collective hours, it was SSAR members who found Hensley's body just two hours after they joined the search early Friday.

Hensley and desperate family members stumbled upon Robert Cooper, commander of SSAR, as they combed the Internet for ways to accelerate the search. He met with Tonya on April 19, a Thursday evening, and agreed his team would help her.

Hensley says she's grateful to each search-and-rescue volunteer who risked injury or worse looking for her husband. She says she had no confidence in PCSO officials managing the search because they didn't listen to her when she told them where or how high up the mountain they should look.

She believes that if they had, Chris would've been found much sooner, and it would've at least shortened the days of agony that the family experienced not knowing what happened to him.

When Chris failed to come home, Tonya Hensley drove around the area for hours and eventually called the PCSO. She says she gave the Sheriff's Office information about where her husband entered the Superstition Wilderness and where he intended to hike.

Tonya says PCSO officials told her that her husband couldn't have made it as far or as high as she thought and that the office's insurance didn't cover deputies in such a rugged area.

Tamra Ingersoll, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, defended sheriff's searchers and incident commanders, saying they looked several times in the area where Chris eventually was found and that the office's insurance coverage didn't limit them.

Ingersoll said Tonya Hensley didn't give searchers enough information at first, such as that Chris previously had hiked No Name Canyon. She said the PCSO had to send detectives to her "to fill in the holes."

She also said the information Tonya passed along to SSAR came out of the PCSO's research and its narrowing of the search area.

Hensley isn't sure why the PCSO now denies what they said to her, not in private, but in front of her mother and other volunteers.

"Tuesday, after the first search team went out, I told them that Chris hiked before and made it to the bottom of Flat Iron," she says. "I may not have known the names of the canyons, but I pointed everything out to them."

Tonya now says that even if, as it claims, the PCSO gave her the information she passed along to Superstition Search and Rescue, the fact is that SSAR managed to use it and find her husband's body within a couple of hours.

Cooper says he didn't know where the PCSO had or hadn't searched. He just had the information that Tonya gave him and his team.

Tonya couldn't contain her mounting frustration and exasperation with the Sheriff's Office, and on April 24, she stood up and vented it during a Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting.

"I was lied to and treated with disrespect," she told the supervisors. "The Sheriff's Office personnel acted like Chris was a bad person because he had a rough past. I felt they didn't care about my family."

She also told them that if "the sheriff's search team would've only listened to the information" she gave members, her "husband wouldn't have been lying at the bottom of a canyon for [almost] four days."

Cooper says his team tracked Chris Hensley's shoe prints up the mountain, spotted his brand of cigarettes from butts on the ground, and had half the team search up the mountain, while the other half searched from the top down.

Ingersoll said everybody wanted to give Tonya answers.

Under most circumstances, who discovers a body wouldn't matter much. Families would focus on healing and closure.

But in this case — and others like it — families have expressed frustration with the PCSO's handling of searches. The rift between the PCSO and SSAR only makes such tragedies worse.

New Times reported late last year ("Lost," December 20) that the messy split between the two might may have started because the team wouldn't support Babeu when he asked for its endorsement during his first run for office in 2008. SSAR members also expressed a lack of trust in PCSO officials overseeing searches. SSAR members say their complaints weren't fully investigated.

Although there are searches that the PCSO has conducted successfully, high-profile failures stain the department's record.

Dan Block, brother of Jeff Block, an Apache Junction resident who went missing along with his dog on July 26, complained that the PCSO failed to communicate properly. Its officials didn't return his phone calls, were slow to conduct an air search, and wouldn't dispatch personnel to areas where the family knew the missing man had gone.

Crystal Hayes reported her fiancé, Raymond Churchill, 26, missing on January 1, 2010.

She told the Apache Junction News that two days of searching the San Tan Valley canal by the PCSO turned up nothing. Then, someone she would identify only as a "guardian angel" gave her a phone number for Cooper's team. She called, and SSAR volunteers searched the canal after the PCSO left the scene. Within an hour, members discovered Churchill's body.

The PCSO also searched for Kelly Tate, whom friends reported missing in September 2009, when he didn't return from a wilderness hike. A PCSO sergeant commanded a search by more than 150 volunteers, who hunted through the desert around the clock for five days — on foot, on horseback, and by helicopter.

When the PCSO called off its search without finding Tate, SSAR members arrived on the scene. About an hour into their search, members found the missing man's body crumpled on a trail, just 150 yards from the parking lot where the PCSO had set up its command post.

Tami Villar, then a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, told New Times after the body was discovered by SSAR that the PCSO didn't set out to do a "half-assed search."

And Villar also wondered aloud at the time whether Tate, who'd suffered a heart attack, might have survived had he been found sooner ("Searchers Disappointed," September 16, 2009).

It's that thought that haunts Tonya Hensley as she struggles with her family's life without Chris. What if she had found a phone number for SSAR sooner? Would she be listening to her husband sharing a harrowing near-death story instead of waiting for his funeral services in Indiana this summer?

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62 comments
mrs.lukebryan
mrs.lukebryan

its so sad you cant trust who is there to protect us, i know i dont ive seen how unprofessional they are on so many occassions i can go on and on they are the most cruel uncaring pigs ive ever met i will never have respect for them iould rathet r die than call 911 as they say "they run everything" lmao tweeker loving basterds

PabloDroopus
PabloDroopus

Okla. Co. Sheriff Whetsel asked for help from other sheriffs across the country. Babeu (and his Pinal S&R, recovering from brutal reality lessons after their Hensley search) gets on stage at WalMart with his lapdog Voyles for a press conference today.

Voyles seems to be going for his own benefit and that of his brothers. Paying back and paying forward is noble. Going there to help just because it is the right thing to do is even nobler.  Better yet, go on your own time and with your own money. Do it the way Babeu wouldn't do it: on your own. Why did this manage to get turned into a PR event?

Why isn't Babeu going himself? Or is this only fly-over country for him on his trips to and from Washington?

Sending aid in any form can be a good thing for the people devastated by the tornadoes. Additiional law enforcement personnel can help the sheriff there.

Of the 15 Arizona sheriffs that were asked to help, why is Pinal the only one that needed a press conference?  Uh, maybe the Pinal sheriff is the only one needing a  PR boost right now and can highlight the greatness of his S&R trio. Heck, he can even toss in his county attorney.

Have a good trip gentlemen. Drive safely. Work hard and represent us well. Pack a few extra Oklahoma maps from WalMart to help get you there.

Smile big for the cameras; your boss needs this. 

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

Ok, to everyone out there especially the MORONS that keep talking out their asses.   I am NOT with SSAR but I am Married to SSAR because ALL the wives and or husbands stand behind their partners for what they are doing for the community and we are going to support our partners in LOVE.   My Husband had been with SSAR long before we met.  He cared for me in my hour of need.  Yes we fell in Love and thing just happened. The weekend after we got married he went out on a search to save some victims.  He came home a different man.  That was the second or 3rd or more parts that split Babue and SSAR because what happened to him was that a Idiot Deputy who WAS the SAR coordinator for PCSO was a fucking idiot that used his rifle with a scope to look at what was happening on the rescue and because of my Husband's experience with the military with that weapon being pointed at him he never came home from that rescue as the same man that I had Just married hour ago.   Yea shit happens and there are consequences yet it was ALL ignored because of Babue covering it up...........Not only did he make the team feel on edge with safety, he covered up the dangerous deputy and on so many other levels he destroyed so many lives and that included the taxpayers of Pinal County because he has been lying and covering up crimes that are so evil.   Besides destroying a Great resource for the taxpayers of Pinal County he has destroyed so many lives for his own stupid political and personal gain and has no care of who he destroys.........Pinal Citizens definitely DO NOT call the Sheriff,  CALL SSAR if you want to have a chance to live.  Mr.  Butt head could really care less about the REAL citizen in need of help

sarum
sarum

This article and responses to it is where PNT redeems itself.  Good job.  We need a law against Baboon style power grabbing;  practice of the Peter Principle.  Both pathetic and disgusting.

PabloDroopus
PabloDroopus

Did you notice that the MR. GRASHA (aka CALSAR president) comments here have DISAPPEARED?  Deleted?!?  But wait!  He is the cornerstone of Cali search and rescue.

Grasha's hot comments and pretended experience about search and rescue are gone?  Lost words, just blowing in the whistling wind.  It's alright, he gave it the best he could. Maybe he didn't think we took his pro-Babeu rants seriously.

Now we can get back to the friendly exchanges.

brinvinn
brinvinn

Sounds like a eral Whodoneit to me dude. Wow.


www.Secure-Web.tk

dethompson112
dethompson112

In the 30 plus years of being involved with various Search & Rescue Groups, Posses & Organizations, not once have I personally ever hear any person state they wanted to get lost, injured or to have someone find them dead, EVER!

Incident Command on any scene from Search & Rescue to SWAT Teams should be run by those with years of experience behind them!

How would you like a Fire Fighter with little to no experience now become in charge of a wild fire the size of the Waldo Fire. You wouldn't as you would want some one with experience in the field to know exactly what needs to be done not only to put it out but anticipate what the fire is going to do.

How would you like a Deputy with two years experience Run a SWAT Team Operation with only having a couple of classes on SWAT Team Operations with out Any actual SWAT Experience?

This is what Sheriff Paul Babeu has done with his knew SAR Posse, placing those with little or no experience in charge of highly skilled and trained Search & Rescue Personnel. 

This is as dangerous as taking PCSO Deputies and placing them in-charge of   Electrical linemen and telling them how to do there jobs during a dust storm. 

These Deputies are highly trained in Law Enforcement but poorly trained and little to no experience with SAR. The ones who actually had the SAR Training and experience were removed by Sheriff Babeu and reassigned to patrol because they would not waiver in their comment to "Protect and Serve"!

He now has those that are loyal but have no experience or minimal training but should never be in charge. The only reason for the Success that the PCSO SAR Team has had is because of those Volunteer Posse Members! It is not because of the PCSO Deputies running the Incident Command, if they relied upon this they would have a much higher rate of not finding anyone.

There are rules to Search and one of the first rules is always start your search at point last known (PLK) or Point last seen (PLS). PCSO Incident Commander started no where close to either.

They could have started there search from the Hensleys home or from Shiprock & Geronimo Rds. so they broke rule number one! Rule number two figure out where the victim was heading and path they where going to take. Chris was going to Flat iron from the house. PCSO ignored this information completely therefore they broke rule number two. Probability of success or detection less than 99%!

This is not the PCSO SAR Posse fault this is Sheriff Paul Babeu's fault for taking training and experience out of Serving the Public by giving it to those Deputies without the necessary Experience and Training and placing them in charge where lives hang in the balance!   

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

Tonya Hensley by no means is blaming PCSO for her Husband death but for the lying to her, the lack of care to her and her kids, the whole ineptness of HOW PCSO handled the whole search

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

I also have this to say,  ANYONE that goes out should make sure that they have SSAR's number or even call to let them know where you are going, your time in and the time expected out.  If you want your lives saved,  God forbid that anything does happen SSAR should be called first directly before calling 911 or PCSO

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

Listen ALL YOU BAD MOUTHERS.  every single person that has passed in the Sups to where it took days to find by PCSO and when the searches get called off SSAR stills goes out AND ALL you ignorant morons every single one of them had someone that knew where they were going or else their partner decided to go in a little earlier than the other so they weren't alone either just delayed from walking out together so don't even put the blame on the victims because they ALL had someone know where they were.

don.dodondo
don.dodondo

This is a lousy example for bashing any SAR team.  The only way someone survives a 200 foot fall is with immediate medical attention.  Most likely he was dead well before anyone even knew he was missing. 

gibsonrodney0
gibsonrodney0

We have a close friend who volunteers with Robert.  Who knows where the original rift started between he and Sheriff B, other than one person's overblown ego.  I'm told that threats were made to arrest any of the volunteers who might show up at a rescue/recovery scene.   Wasn't there so can't be certain, but it's obvious that the PCSO team has birthed a record of failures in S&R.   More about this needs to be made public.  In my estimation, is scandalous.  

Bort-LongYear
Bort-LongYear

Perhaps this tragedy would not have happened if Mr. Hensley had adhered to a few safety rules like: 1) Enjoy the great outdoors with a wingman; 2) Don't take unnecessary risks; 3) Learn to climb with safety gear; 4) Give a travel plan to someone so they know exactly where to send the help.  Look, I have over 30 years in public safety and military ops--a very high percent of tragedies such as this are preventable by a little pre-planning and basic "outdoor common sense".  I have always gone by the mantra MOHTER NATURE SUFFERS NO FOOL!  


Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

NT - this article really needs to be on the front page

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@PabloDroopus 

I guess he didn't like my comments, emails and phone calls to not only him but to the other actual SAR organizations in his area, as well as the Law Enforcement Organizations that his wannabe organization (1 person I suspect) would be having to deal with on a face to face basis.

Goes to show that public response can be extremely effective!

Thanks to everyone who commented to him and who followed up on this.


enuf.istoomuch
enuf.istoomuch

@dethompson112  

Excellent points on how a Search operation should be run. 

Here's another - Interviewing of reporting persons never ends. One of the comments from Pinal SO that bothers me is the claim they had to send detectives back to re-interview. 

 Huh? Why did they have to send interviewers back? 

 Since when  do we leave the reporting persons alone? Memory is an odd thing, what comes to mind over time, as information is shared, always evolves. Keeping a skilled interviewer, someone with a lot of field experience, with the reporting parties is invaluable.

They sent detectives? Why? Detectives are trained to interview people in criminal cases. This is not a criminal case. The mind set of a SAR Interviewer is more alike to an Emergency Medical Service Case or a Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Case. No doubt there is an overlap of skills here, but how the interviewer comports him or herself and the weight given to the answers received is very different.

In SAR we discount nothing the reporting party says. We may well weigh probabilities, based upon experience and the long study of Search Theory, but we are there because we believe in these people. Our lack of suspicion towards reporting parties is key to our success.

It is this setting apart of law enforcement functions from Emergency Medical & Rescue functions that enables Volunteer SAR to work as well it does. As well as it has for that matter, in an organized way, at since 1958 when it began in Pima County.


enuf.istoomuch
enuf.istoomuch

@don.dodondo 

Possibly, if it was a 200 foot fall then yes absolutely. However while the rock in question is said to be that high, the fall height is an unknown. Still, I do agree that with the described injuries survival was unlikely.

Does not matter. SAR Volunteers strive for two results. To save lives and relieve suffering. If the life cannot be saved, the pain of the family can be eased with a swift recovery. It is why SAR volunteers come out even when death is known, to support the greater goal of the team to ease suffering.

There is much in these stories that describe badly organized SAR efforts by Pinal SO. That results in prolonged operations and poor results. Prolonged operations and poor results harm the Team and do not relieve suffering of family.

These are factors defining of a SAR organization badly in need of reform, retraining, refocusing, new leadership, any or all of those. 

I will say it is very possible and even likely that under Pinal SO's current structure excellent SAR personnel may be suffering the pain of incompetent leadership. That would not be unusual, good people get shat upon all the time when politics runs roughshod over good sense.

If that be the reality for any PCSO SAR people today, you do have the sympathy of this older and somewhat wore-out SAR Retiree.

anewday
anewday

@don.dodondo Please know your facts before assuming anything. It is not clear the height from which Chris fell. He did land on a ledge and another, before continuing falling to the bottom. There is evidence that he was alive. For how long? I guess we will never know for sure. To bad PCSO did not send searchers out that night after Tonya first contacted them, like they said they would. To bad the dogs didn't go out until 36 hr after he went missing, past the time of detecting his scent. Well I guess that wouldn't of done much good anyway, as when they finally did request a piece of Chris' clothing, they failed to inform Tonya that he had to of used it with in 30 days and no one else could touch it. Woops forgot to tell us that part till days later. Time is of the essence in a situation like this. "Most likely he was dead well before anyone even knew he was missing"..Is that the same lines of thought you would have it was your loved one? Your spouse, your child, your parent? Most likely is not a sure thing. Isn't every human being worth the same effort, as if it was your own loved one?

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

@don.dodondo    You are wrong.....he did survive long enough to video tape his good-bye to his wife and he managed to pull himself under a bush for shade..... So tell me now....HE DID SURVIVE THE FALL.  SSAR found him within 2 hrs and if they had been a part of the search from the beginning then he would have been found soon enough for medical attention.  It is not to be going after SAR teams personally but to show the ineptness of Sheriff Babue and refusing to use SSAR on searches but spending unnecessary taxes to pay other searchers when he has a free well known team in the back yard of the Sups. 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@don.dodondo  

IF this was the only example, I would possibly agree with you, but it's not, this is simply one in a long list of examples. Next time try doing some research and reading of the other articles available on this site as well as others before you make comments that are not based at all in facts.

Also, he was alive after the fall as has been proven by the scene where they found him - having crawled away from the impact site several feet to under a brush for shade so your making an assumption that you have no evidence for. 

There have actually been several instances where people have had serious falls like this, from that height and lived for as long as 2 days until rescuers found them.

Stop trying to make excuses, especially excuses that have no basis in facts or history.

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

@Bort-LongYear   Mr. Bort,  he did advise his wife of where he was going, even sent a picture to her.  He told her exactly where he parked his vehicle he had water,  and he told her where he was starting from yet PCSO ignored her information yet SSAR got that same information and started their search right with her direction and they were able to track him and found him in 2 hours to where it took PCSO 4-5 days and still didn't find him yet tried to take claim of finding him to the wife.....VERY UN COOL..  He also had hiked that before.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@Bort-LongYear  

There is always a 'blame the victim' idiot in every crowd.

1. Not always possible nor needed

2. Who says he did? 

3. He was not climbing per se.

4. He did, his wife Tonya who correctly stated the area he was in and the route he took, if only PCSO SAR had listened.

You clearly do not have over 30 years of anything other than being a dick if you make assumptions about his actions like you are, while entirely ignoring the fact that PCSO SAR failed once AGAIN which could have been avoided if they had simply listened to the information being given to them.

People like you are disgusting.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Correction, since I see it is on the bottom part of the front page - it needs to be on the front page above the 'fold'

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@CALSAR

There are many wrong things in your post, but I will address this one directly.

"The liability is just too high to allow NON-certified teams to hop in a sheriff’s helicopter or race through the desert in a Sheriffs off road vehicle. The taxpayers would come unhinged if the county placed NON-certified volunteers in danger and one of them were injured and filed a mufti-million dollar lawsuit against the taxpayers."

This is utter bullshit. First off, SSAR is certified and has been for a long time in all aspects of Search and Rescue. Now while your comment does not say they are not, it does infer it, which is wrong.

In addition, even if they were not, there are legal options available without increasing the taxpayer liability at all. Waivers, signed disclaimers, etc.. are all available and do work to insulate the sheriffs department and the taxpayer. 

SSAR has never asked for any support from PCSO in any aspect, including transportation. They show up with their own equipment, fully staffed and equipped and ready to get to where they are needed by themselves if need be.

"As soon as Search and Rescue becomes treated as a competition between individuals and NOT the EMERGENCY that it is, the missing subjects and their families are the losers."

In this statement you are correct, but fail to address that SSAR are the ones that maintained their professionalism and commitment to the people they serve and their families, refusing to allow it to be a competition, whereas it as PCSO and specifically Babeu who made it a competition.

Also remember it was Babeu who refused and continues to refuse SSAR's or anyone elses help and it was because of lack of training and professional behavior that SSAR refused to be rolled into PCSO's SAR unit, specifically the pointing of a rifle at a SSAR member under the guise of using the scope to see what was going on, something no professional would EVER do. Keep in mind, that was not the only incident of unprofessional and unsafe behavior.

BTW - Babeu was NOT voted America's number one sheriff by the National Sheriffs association like you say.

Perhaps your space on this page would be better used by speaking the truth after doing some actual research instead of putting up a puff piece based on BS for PCSO and Babeu.

Guest
Guest

It's just Steve Grasha, pay him no mind. He's one of Babeu's more egregious peroxided Inland Empire fanboys. Last seen plotting the Sheriff's inevitable further rise: "Sheriff Paul Babeu, Arizona Governor, Then American President! Mark my words, I have never been wrong!" Except he has. Charged with lying about his residence during his own failed campaign for local office, but that was eons ago, when he was young. Previous political hero: Sonny Bono. The current letter at least looks to have been written by Grasha himself, which is an improvement over his past practice of cutting and pasting histrionic prose poems about Babeu written by Mike Presnell, the low-rent former male companion of Supervisor Cheryl Chase (bless her soul) and a conduit for dubious campaign contributions in the 2012 campaign. These guys are entitled to their crushes, but I'm starting to think the whole thing's just kind of pathetic.

sliperymikie
sliperymikie

@CALSAR you are a jackass,defending a truly partisan teabagger colcksucking sheriff!!

you must be one of his concubines,as a normal rational; person wouldn't make such statements.

you do not live in pinal county therefore you cant say this teabagging dicksucker is anymore than I just described!!! he is an opertunistic politican and youy can tell him I said that,when he calls to thank you for the BLOWJOB!

go ahead and stay in California and out of Arizona politics,douchebag!

Imjustavisitorhere
Imjustavisitorhere

@CALSARyou take offense?? Did you read this part?:

"Tonya says PCSO officials told her that her husband couldn't have made it as far or as high as she thought and that the office's insurance didn't cover deputies in such a rugged area." Babeu is a BAD PERSON. If you don't recall, he was the one who threatened his illegal immigrant gay lover with retaliation by deporting him if he made their little love relationship public. And the guy STILL got voted in for Sheriff! These little "privately put together" crews do their own thing so they can use a bit more creativity when making reports- this is my opinion. If you haven't researched, Pinal Cty is one of the most corrupt offices in the USA outside of Chicago. GOOD for New Times! GOOD for THEM! Transparency is key to the truth.

Guest
Guest

@Flyer9753 @PabloDroopus And thank you. The half-assedness of Mr Grasha's imposture, and his early advance to the rear, shouldn't distract attention from the fact that Team Babeu's first instinct in all of this has been to bamboozle, dismiss and shut up the widowto add insult to injury. The victims of their bad faith and incompetence, for as long as they retain a voice, present a threat to the grandiose political destiny Grasha is working so hard to realize, so they're viewed as political enemies rather than neighbors to be lifted up in their time of loss. This is about as far from good government as it's possible to get.

Bort-LongYear
Bort-LongYear

@rainskywolf @Bort-LongYear Well, apparently he wasn't very good at it.  Jeez---blaming PCSO for this mans foolishness / and death is akin to blaming the attacks of the Son-of-Sam on L.A.P.D.  

Bort-LongYear
Bort-LongYear

@Flyer9753 @Bort-LongYear Blaming the PCSO for this mans death and foolishness is like blaming America for jihadism.  Had he not been foolish, hiked alone and apparently climbed either in a dangerous area or with lack of training--HE WOULD NOT BE DEAD.  So, you mouthbreathing fuctard--the end result is HIS actions resulted in HIS  death.  He, not PCSO, is responsible for HIS own outcome.  It is called personal responsiblity for ones owe actions--Something your generation knows little about.  PS: having recovered  more dead bodies than you have ever seen in  your miserable life--I really could give two fucs what you or any of the other--find someone to blame other than the person response crowd, think-want or care about.  Go cash your unemployment check, buy some cigs and play another round of Call-to-Duty before your Mom gets home and wants you to leave the basement and pick up the dogshit.  


Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@CALSAR  

After looking at your limited web sites, limited content wise, I seriously wonder just who and what your organization is.

I am aware that in California an SAR organization has to have an official affiliation specifically with a Law Enforcement Organization to be considered an actual SAR organization, which is what probably led to your statements regarding certification/affiliation, but be aware that in Arizona that is not the case. 

I have also been told that your organization does not have that affiliation and is therefore considered a renegade organization, which probably explains a lot.

So I have to wonder, just from what I have seen of your organization and learned of it in the past few hours, how large your organization is and is it affiliated with any Law Enforcement organization? 

i.e. I am asking on what basis of experience and therefore ability, you have to make the statements/assertions you make in your comments.

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

@Flyer9753 @CALSAR      Great writing Flyer...Yes it was due to unsafe practices by PCSO and that is why SSAR stood down but other things that CALSAR doesn't know is yes hey were threatened by PCSO that they would be arrested if they showed to a search.  The other thing that isn't known or stated is that when other search teams call off the search SSAR still goes out and continue to search until they can find something to help families for closure.  SSAR NEVER GIVES UP THE SEARCH

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

@Guest Notice his spelling of "Family's". Must have gone to at least the 5th grade.

EthanDavis
EthanDavis

@Guest seems someones more than a tiny bit jealous...That MAN CRUSH you have on the Steve Grasha is rising to the level of STALKER...You should be careful. Some folks may consider your comments to be a direct threat and take necessary steps to protect themselves.

enuf.istoomuch
enuf.istoomuch

@Bort-LongYear @rainskywolf 

 Man you are far off the topic at hand and making up crap to blame the victim. Not cool. 

I've seen a man who was killed instantly tripping over a rock and falling his own height.

 I've seen a man who tumbled and fell down a scree slope, some it free-fall, crashed through tree branches, impaled on some of them, and we got him out alive though he'd been there for hours.

Survival in Wilderness, injured or otherwise, is not easily predicted. Only in extremes, such as free falls of over forty feet with hard (not glancing) impacts, can you say that death is certain.

SAR exists to save lives and relieve suffering. We do not sell out the victim or the victim's family to politics, or to convenient rationalizations that sell the victim short. We do not give a damn why the victim was there, all we are about is LIFE.

Anything else is crap and no real SAR person is interested in it.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@Bort-LongYear@rainskywolf 

For the record you ignorant twit, no one is 'blaming' PCSO SAR for his death. We are blaming PCSO SAR for:

1. a proven lack of professionalism

2. a proven lack of ability to do the job compared to professionally operated SAR organizations

3. a proven ineptness

4. a proven lack of safety

Now take your ignorance elsewhere troll

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

@Bort-LongYear @rainskywolf   You really are such and asshole.  He was very good at it because she TOLD SSAR the same info and they found him in 2 hours....idiot.   You REALLY must be Babues new Lover.......have fun brown noser but before you keep talking about anything more on this you had better lear how to do your research instead of being lost in Babues lack of wisdom

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

@Bort-LongYear @Flyer9753   Good old Bort....their you go again talking out your ass.  Nobody is blaming PCSO for his death per say but because it took PCSO 4 days and still not finding him because they did not listen to the wife's directions and she gave those same directions to SSAR.  SSAR listened to her and went searching with exactly the same info and guess what, you pinhead?  They got to him in two hours.  If SSAR would have been called out and used like they should be used then there could have been a possible chance that he could have been saved.  He did not die right away so that is what we are talking about and you had better read about the other failures of PCSO's SAR Posse.  Moron read and research before so you don't talk out your ass

anewday
anewday

@Bort-LongYear @Flyer9753  

Personal responsibility works both ways buddy. It is not the job of the PCSO or yourself to sit in judgement of a dead man. Obviously you seem to have an issue with staying focused and completely missed the point. The responsibility of a search  team is find missing people asap, period. Any hindrance to that effort is inexcusable. Thank you SSAR for "listening" to the same information given to PCSO four days earlier and counting, when you came on the scene. Finding Chris in 2 hrs and 8 min (vs your counter part of 800 man hrs at taxpayer expense, not including Maricopa Co) by SSAR, just goes to show who is more successful and is more capable of this very important service. BTW, I would not want anybody searching for my loved one, who is distracted with personal opinions and blame. I don't hesitate to say, that (I think) person is in the wrong line of work and needs to find a new job.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@rainskywolf @Flyer9753 @Bort-LongYear  

Thanks - after seeing a few of the posters, like Don, Bort and Calsar below, it seems Booboo (Babeu) has called in favors to get people to try to minimize the PR damage to his department.

Loved your comments too, they are spot on and 100% correct

Guest
Guest

Readers may have been left with the impression from Grasha's original comment that he comes to the Hensley tragedy as just another S&R guy, with no dog in the ensuing fight and only a passing familiarity with Babeu's history.  But the truth is that he's intervening as a personal friend and political operative determined above all to protect Babeu's image.  He doesn't just predict Babeu's rise to the Governorship and Presidency, he's working actively to insure it. Google turned up these tweets from January: "I'm so proud of my friend Sheriff Paul Babeu ... We are working hard for his election to the Governorship of Arizona."  And ahead of a trip here: "It's on in Arizona...I am Heading over Monday to start paving the road to the Capital!" Does he really expect us to believe that his airy dismissal of Tonya Hensley's concerns has no connection to this political project?  Does Babeu?  In a scathing column on PCSO's cold-blooded PR response to the Hensley tragedy in today's Casa Grande Dispatch, Adam Gaub wrote: "Pouring salt on the open wound of the Hensley family's life right now to avoid any acceptance of blame is the height of arrogance."  It is, and Grasha's comments here are as much an expression of it as if Tamra Ingersoll had released them on agency letterhead.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@CALSAR  

I appreciate your answering. 

My comments are above and I sincerely hope you read them.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@rainskywolf @Flyer9753 @CALSAR  

FYI - I just received an email reply from one of the Board members that I sent that too, stating they are not California Search and Rescue but will look into this due to the similarity of the names, therefore I will be deleting my post above with their info and will post more info when I have it.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@rainskywolf@Flyer9753@CALSAR 

That's one of the reasons I decided to go ahead and let CALSAR know, just in case it is a poser and they are unaware their name is being used.

Please pass on to your husband that I applaud his work and respect SSAR's decision in regards to PCSO, it was the right call IMO.

At the risk of pissing off NT for a long post, here is my letter to CALSAR (it was sent to all listed board members):

Hello

I am writing you today to make sure you are aware of postings being made in the name of California Search and Rescue.

Recently Pinal County Sheriffs office (PCSO) in Arizona has been under scrutiny for the failure to conduct professional SAR operations in Pinal County. The scrutiny comes after numerous failures of the new PCSO SAR unit after the Pinal County sheriffs office broke off their relationship with Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR). Failures that are attributable directly to incompetence of the PCSO management.

Now before I go any further I want it to be understood I have absolutely no affiliation with SSAR. I am simply a tax payer here in Pinal County who wants to see effective SAR operations for the interest of public safety and service.

Over the last 30 years, SSAR has established an exceptional track record of SAR operations here in Arizona, being respected by every Law Enforcement agency and the people at large. They have proven they know what they are doing and are professional and safe while doing it. In many many instances, after a failure of PCSO's in-house SAR Unit, it was SSAR that went back into the area and often in a matter of hours, whereas the PCSO had not found anything for days, found what was being sought, in some cases clearly demonstrating that had SSAR been the ones conducting the search initially as used to be the case, the victim would be alive today.

Recently, after several years of working together, PCSO decided to require that SSAR be rolled into PCSO's in house SAR unit.

Due to several unprofessional incidents, as well as several unsafe incidents and conduct by PCSO, SSAR refused to do give that endorsement (I don't believe SSAR has ever endorsed ANYONE, it's not what they do)

I am not going to list all of the incidents that led to this here as it would make this a novel instead of an email, but here are a few:

1. The aiming of a rifle at SSAR members by a PCSO officer, under the guise of needing to use the scope to see what was happening
2. Wanting/demanding SSAR involve itself in a political issue, by soliciting SSAR 's endorsement of the new sheriff (Paul Babeu) and then threatening retaliation against SSAR members when that was not given

More information can easily be found on the other incidents by some simple web searches and reading of the articles that will turn up.

SAR Units exist to serve the public interest, not political interests or to be involved in political pissing matches. An SAR organization that gets into those kinds of situations stops serving the public and makes themselves and other SAR organizations look unprofessional which erodes public trust in all SAR organizations.

Therefore today I write you to inform you, the board members of California Search and Rescue, of someone who is posting in your organizations name, stating they are a director of your organization (although curiously not listed as such on your web site) and directly involving himself in a situation that he clearly knows little to no information about, since several of his statements in his multiple posts under different names are clearly false and biased. In addition at the end of his post he sides directly with PCSO and against another SAR organization, thus making it look like it's a pissing match between your organization and SSAR.

IMHO this is extremely unprofessional and even if such a disagreement exists between your organizations, that disagreement should not be carried out in a public venue if at all possible, since it does nothing but damage the appearance of ALL SAR organizations and therefore damages the good intentions of those organizations by eroding public trust.

While it is the Newspapers job to print articles, research facts and give opinions of how elected and tax payer funded organizations (PCSO and PCSO SAR) operate, it's not the job of another SAR organization to get involved in that, unless they have direct first hand on the scene knowledge of specifics and even then I find it questionable at best for the reasons I state above.

I do not know if this person, who states his name is Steve Grasha is actually a director or even a member of your organization or not, but if he is, his conduct and comments on the following web page (http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2013-05-09/news/dead-or-alive-paul-babeu-s-wilderness-rescue-unit-once-again-proves-inept/) are, IMHO, extremely unprofessional and uncalled for.

If he had simply posted a comment expressing condolences to the victims and possible suggestions on how to improve things, or posted as himself without affiliating the post with your organization, that would have been fine, but that is not what he did.

I hope you take this email in the spirit it is intended, not as a slap down of Mr. Grasha or your organization, but as a learning experience for both your organization and him.

I will include below the actual comment in case it gets deleted so you have a copy of it and you have the web page address above so you can see the entire discussion, the articles involved and the other relevant information for yourselves.

Thank you for listening and your time

rainskywolf
rainskywolf

@Flyer9753 @rainskywolf @CALSAR   WOW, a pozer.  Pretty sad.  More than likely he is one of PCSO's butt buddy making that up.  Since he is not on their web sight you may want to alert them about him using their search team in this article.  Just to let you know,  my Husband is with SSAR and he was also with search and rescue team in California when he use to live there.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@rainskywolf @Flyer9753 @CALSAR  

What is also interesting is that Steve Grasha is NOT listed on their web site as a Director

Yes, he did piss me off since as you state, a professional SAR outfit who is truly interested in the people would never stick their nose in this defending PCSO like he was doing. 

His entire post stinks of a favor being done by this guy for PCSO to help mitigate this bad, yet accurate press and that's not the job of an SAR organization that is truly interested in serving the people.

Guest
Guest

 @EthanDavis Piss off, squirt. Repeating what a one-minute Google search turns up, and everybody here who's read the effusions of our Sheriff's bizarre little cheerleading squad already knows, isn't a threat. It's making fun. Nobody cares enough about your friend to wish him ill, so cut the crap.



 
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