La Paz County Sheriff Press Release
Recently I have received several phone calls regarding my stance on the political issues in the Town of Quartzsite. People are wondering what I am going to do to “fix” the problems down there. They are also asking if the Sheriff’s Office is supporting one side over the other. In an effort to help the citizens of La Paz County understand my responsibilities as the Sheriff, I have written down some of the common questions that citizens are asking and what my response has been.
Question: Why are you allowing the Quartzsite Police Department to arrest citizens for speaking out during “call to the public”?
Answer: Quartzsite is an incorporated Town with their own Town Council, Mayor, Chief of Police, etc. By incorporating, they have chosen to break away and become independent without having to answer to (most) of the County Offices. The Quartzsite Town Council has hired Jeff Gilbert as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for their Town. While he holds that position, he oversees the day to day operations of the Quartzsite Police Department. If he or his officers feel that a person has committed a crime, it is within their right and their duty to enforce the law as they interpret it. I don’t see that I have the right to enter their town and second guess the arrests that they make.
Question: We’ve noticed that the Quartzsite Town Government appears to be split into two separate groups. Has your Department supported one side over the other?
Answer: No, we are not supporting one side over the other. We have been asked by both sides to intervene in different aspects of the Town Council meetings and we have declined. There is no need for another agency to come into Town Hall and dictate how Quartzsite conducts their meetings. The only assistance we have provided to anyone was for the safety of the general public and the officers during the Council meeting on July 12th. We had approximately five Deputies in the general area during that meeting in case any protesters became hostile. As it turned out, it was a peaceful demonstration and no law enforcement action was necessary.
Question: Why don’t you go down to Quartzsite and remove the Chief of Police from his position?
Answer: The Quartzsite Chief of Police has been appointed by duly elected Town Council. I do not have the power or authority to go down and remove the Chief of Police.
At this time, the Town of Quartzsite is an incorporated community with an elected Town Council that represents the people. I am not in any position to interfere with the inner workings of their Government. I have faith in our system and I feel that any issues will be addressed with every one’s best interest in mind.
Sheriff Don Lowery