Contradicting several published reports, Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio's office now says that no posse program was ever suspended due to an insurance "glitch."
The precise nature of the "glitch" still isn't being explained to the public by county leadership or Sheriff Arpaio.
But it seems to have something to do with 115 vehicles owned by posses that have not been covered by insurance, or at least not the right insurance.
Here's the latest confusing and detail-light news brief issued by Arpaio's office on this debacle:
[From Deputy Joaquin Enriquez, one of Arpaio's spokesmen:]
"The PIO offices at both the county (Cari Gerchick) and the Sheriff's Office and various members of the Board of Supervisors have been overwhelmed by inquiries about the current status of the Sheriff's posse program as it relates to an insurance coverage issue of posse owned marked vehicles.
"We are reiterating a statement made earlier today and are adding a little more information to update you. This will be the final word from our offices until a resolution is determined.
"The Sun City posse is the only one of 57 possible posses to have taken upon themselves to park their vehicles until a solution to the insurance issue is decided. Sun City continues to receive patrol services from deputies of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
"There has been and will be no suspension of the posse program because of an insurance glitch.
"Sheriff Joe Arpaio and county officials are working alongside the Board of Supervisors and with the Risk Management division to seek an insurance underwriter for the 115 posse marked cars currently owned by the individual posses.
"All parties are convinced a resolution will be quick."
Arpaio's office and the county are not interested in giving the public any real answers yet, obviously. But as Enriquez's brief notes, calls have been pouring in to the county from people concerned about the previously reported suspension of Sun City posse activities.
According to this latest info, posse members in Sun City might be the most timid and overly cautious of 57 posse units that have all been affected by the unspecified "glitch." They're the only ones who thought they needed to "park their vehicles" before a solution is found.
On the other hand, maybe Sun City posse leaders are the most wise and prudent of the 57, and the other posses shouldn't be driving their vehicles, either.
Another thing that is going noticeably un-explained here is why the Sun City posse took the action it did -- what spurred it?
By the way, here's what the Sun City posse says on its website late-afternoon on Monday:
"ALL SHERIFF'S POSSE VEHICLES SUSPENDED COUNTY WIDE:
ALL Posse Vehicles are out of service and suspended per action of Maricopa County.
Please note that Sun City Posse in uniform are working the Sun Bowl, funeral watches and other activities in their own personal vehicles. The Sheriff hopes to resolve the Insurance issue as soon as possible. ALL Patrol Cars are off the street. This is a County-wide suspension, and affects ALL Sheriff's Posses."
That's clearly much different than what Arpaio's office is saying. We can't vouch for the accuracy of the Sun City posse's statement, either.
Our biggest worry is that the answer might be less boring than the mystery being created by a less-than-transparent county and sheriff's office.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.
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