Deputy dawgs in Paradise: from left, Sheriff Joe's "Cheney" David Hendershott; Bay Islands Police Commissario Julio Benitez; retired MCSO Deputy Roger Marshall; and Captain Jim Miller.
With the MCSO so deep in the red that it cannot perform crucial functions, what are MCSO officers doing in Honduras of all places training the local gendarmes down there?
As incredible as it sounds, according to a radio show focused on Honduras' Bay Islands called The Roatan Bruce Show (Roatan being the capital of the Bay Islands, one of Honduras' 18 "departments"), Sheriff Joe's personal "Dick Cheney" Chief Deputy David Hendershott, MCSO Captain Jim Miller and other MCSO deputy dawgs have for the past year been advising the police in that part of the world.
This, while the MCSO has had to cut back in overtime expenditures, reduce visitation hours for prisoners (the Sheriff is still fighting a judge's order to reinstate them), threaten to close down the courts by not delivering defendants to their trials, neglect its duties in unincorporated areas such as Aguila, and on and on.
Take a look at the above pic from the online pub "Honduras This Week Travel," wherein Roatan Bruce recounts his interview with Hendershott and others from the MCSO. Check Hendershott's Panama hat and that Tommy Bahama shirt. The guy looks like a cross between Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau, and the mad scientist Dr. Mephisto from South Park, known for genetically engineering a monkey with four asses.
Just thank Yahweh that Hendershott ain't wearin no Speedo.
Discussing the MCSO's helping hand in an October 27, 2007 article for the same publication, Roatan Bruce informs readers,
There was a time when crime was difficult to stop. It resulted in the federal government eventually sending in more and better qualified police. One of those police is National Police Commissario of The Bay Islands, Julio Benitez. Having two years experience, one as a sub Commissario and for the last year as Commissario, he has attracted the help of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, one of busiest and most respected Sheriff's Offices in the United States, which serves citizens in Phoenix, Arizona.
Busy? Maybe. Respected? Only if you're a third-world police force, boyo.
In the same article, Roatan Bruce notes,
Sheriff Joseph Arpaio sent down two teams of expert police in the last year to establish a sisterhood relationship between Honduras, Bay Island Police and their office. Captain Brian Beamish from Special Operations and Lieutenant Kevin Riddle from the Central Investigations Division were part of a second wave of police that spent a month in Honduras training policemen in Tegucigalpa before coming here.
Nutty. Wonder if the MCSO is showing the Hondurans the best way to use a restraint chair?
Captain Beamish tells Roatan Bruce that the MCSO's initial mission was to train 160 police officers in the islands off the coast of the Central American nation. And the MCSO's work there is still ongoing, according to Beamish.
"After two weeks," Captain Brian continued, "the students then receive the other instructor. At the end, there will be a large graduation. There is more training scheduled for the beginning of the year (2008) and it is going to continue for the next several years. The next group to come down will be on anti-corruption."
Are you kidding me? "Anti-corruption"? What, are they gonna show the Honduran po-po how to raise ducats from the sale of pink underwear?
One thing Hendershott can certainly advise them on is how to police a banana republic.
Jokes aside, I'll certainly be looking into this further next week, and making some public records requests to see who's paying for what. I know that last year, I asked for travel records on Hendershott, and the very few I got to view did not include any airplane flights or hotel stays in Honduras.
Has this been covered in the local media somewhere and I just missed it? Doing various searches online, I did note this proclamation by Governor Napolitano issued back in June for the "Bay Island Sister agency Project for Justice and Service Day," but on the face of it, the whole thing seems outrageous. Is the MCSO doing this on our dime? Plus, you've gotta wonder if this is Hendershott's fall plan if Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban whips Arpaio's fanny in the general election later this year. You know, retire to sunny Honduras...
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"I'm not opposed to helping other nations and countries," Saban told me when I asked him for a comment. "But at a time when the MCSO is under-staffed, under-resourced, and we've got 40,000 felons running loose in this county? Helping other nations should come way at the other end when we're fully staffed."
Well said, Chief. If the MCSO is as stretched financially as they claim, then they have some explaining to do...
Thanks to veteran Arpaio critic Jim Cozzolino for the 411 on Hendershott's Bermuda-shorts junkets to the Caribbean.
PS: You can listen to audio files of Roatan Bruce's interviews with Hendershott and other MCSO operatives, here.