Parker Live https://parkerliveonline.com News from the Parker Strip since 2009. Wed, 03 Aug 2022 21:04:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.1 https://parkerliveonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PLicon.png Parker Live https://parkerliveonline.com 32 32 News from the Parker Strip since 2009. Parker Live clean Parker Live johnwright@klpz1380.com johnwright@klpz1380.com (Parker Live) John Wright From the Colorado River in Parker, AZ Parker Live http://parkerliveonline.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/logo-902.jpg https://parkerliveonline.com TV-14 Parker, Arizona Parker, Arizona Kelley leads race for Judge of La Paz County Superior Court in unofficial results https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/08/03/kelley-leads-race-for-judge-of-la-paz-county-superior-court-in-unofficial-results/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/08/03/kelley-leads-race-for-judge-of-la-paz-county-superior-court-in-unofficial-results/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2022 20:58:20 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20834 Marcus Kelley leads the race for Judge of the La Paz County Superior Court in unofficial results of the 2022 primary election released late Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge

Kelley is challenging incumbent Judge Jessica Quickle, who has been on the bench since 2019. The unofficial results say that Kelley has 859 votes so far, and that Quickle has 626.

Kelley is a former La Paz County prosecutor who says he has lived in Arizona on and off since 1980. He has seized upon Quickle’s 2021 reprimand by the State of Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct for her treatment of colleagues in the workplace, which Quickle has both refuted as inaccurate in part and acknowledged in part, citing a difficult workload during the pandemic and some misunderstanding of her demeanor.

Quickle has been Judge of the Superior Court since 2019, after she won election in 2018 against Karen Hobbs. She is the first female judge in the history of the court. Kelley says that if elected, he will follow the law, treat colleagues with respect, show no bias toward any law enforcement agency, impose bail on offenders and be mindful that the County is in debt.

Although Tuesday’s election only decides the Republican nominee, both Kelley and Quickle ran as Republicans and therefore the winner of the primary this week will be elected in November.

Justice of the Peace

Incumbent Justice of the Peace Tiffany Dyer of Parker Justice Court is also leading in unofficial results against Karen Slaughter, who for many years was judge of the Salome Justice Court. The unofficial results say that Dyer has 913 votes so far, and that Slaughter has 599. Dyer has served since 2019 also, defeating two Sheriff’s deputies to win the Republican nomination in the 2018 primary election. Dyer was formerly the Clerk of the Parker Justice Court. Slaughter won election and re-election as judge in Salome several times after formerly being a dispatcher, a jailer and a Certified Peace Officer with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department.

The winner of the Republican nomination for Justice of the Peace is also uncontested in November, so the winner of the primary this week will be elected.

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Boat collides with shoreline, two hurt, alcohol believed to be a factor https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/08/02/20829/ Wed, 03 Aug 2022 03:15:51 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20829 Two people were transported to hospital Saturday night with injuries after their boat struck the shoreline on the Parker Strip. Deputies believe alcohol to be a contributing factor.

On Saturday at approximately 8:26 pm, Marine Enforcement deputies with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a boat collision involving major injuries near Bass Point, just south of Emerald Cove, on the Colorado River.

The vessel operator, identified as Davis Smisek, 67 of Fallbrook, was traveling south on the river carrying passengers when the vessel struck the shoreline on the California side. The collision caused the boat to roll and eject four of the passengers. One female passenger, 58 of Fallbrook, sustained major injuries and was flown to a local hospital for treatment. Smisek sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Through investigation, deputies found alcohol to be a contributing factor to the collision.

This story was originally reported on our Facebook page during our outage, where comments can be found HERE.

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CRIT water bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/08/02/crit-water-bill-passed-by-u-s-house-of-representatives/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/08/02/crit-water-bill-passed-by-u-s-house-of-representatives/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2022 03:08:33 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20827 A U.S. House version of S. 3308, a bill that would authorize the Colorado River Indian Tribes to lease a portion of its federal Colorado River water allocation, has been approved in a vote on the House floor. Arizona District 3 Congressman Raul Grijalva introduced the House legislation as part of a larger drought relief bill. It awaits passage in the Senate. It would then go to President Biden for his signature.

According to the Tribes, the legislation would provide Arizona “critical drought relief while upholding water rights for the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT).”

Congressman Grijalva, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, included the Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act of 2021 in the House Natural Resources Drought/Wildfire Package Legislation.

Last year, Senator Mark Kelly introduced S.3308, a bill co-sponsored by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, that would give CRIT the authority to lease a portion of its Arizona allocation for off-reservation use within Arizona.

Since the legislation was introduced and following feedback from a March 2021 Senate Indian Affairs Hearing, CRIT has agreed to several changes that are reflected in the House bill. The House legislation explicitly authorizes CRIT water conservation and clarifies that the tribe can receive fair market value for its water if it is used for conservation.

CRIT Chairwoman Amelia Flores said, “We thank Congressman Grijalva for moving this much needed legislation forward. As Chairman of the Natural Resources committee, he shares our respect for the Colorado River and our commitment to save the life of the river. He also understands that Arizona needs drought relief now.”

CRIT water leases will not increase overall water usage on the Colorado River because under the terms of the legislation CRIT is only able to provide this water that they have conserved, likely by fallowing farmland. The revenues from conservation agreements, leasing, and storage will allow CRIT to invest in more efficient agriculture techniques and improve its aging water delivery system. The revenues will also help provide much needed governmental services to the tribal members, according to CRIT.

The legislation and implementing agreements ensure that CRIT will maintain enough water for use on the Reservation to address the needs of its community and farmers while still continuing to provide water to help maintain water levels in Lake Mead. CRIT has a decreed water right to divert 719,248 acre-feet per year to serve lands in both Arizona and California, which is among the most senior rights in the basin.

Tribal water leasing is a common practice. Congress has authorized 24 tribes to lease water to third parties off the reservation, including 17 in the Colorado River Basin.

The legislation was written in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the United States, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. It is supported by water users including the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, SRP, the City of Phoenix, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, environmental groups (including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Audubon Society, and American Rivers), and it is consistent with principles adopted by the National Congress of American Indians.

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Bear in school grounds euthanized at request of Arizona Game & Fish https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/07/bear-in-school-grounds-euthanized-at-request-of-arizona-game-fish/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/07/bear-in-school-grounds-euthanized-at-request-of-arizona-game-fish/#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2022 18:40:37 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20816 A black bear, sighted in recent months in the area and found Thursday morning inside Parker school grounds, was euthanized by law enforcement at the request of Arizona Game and Fish.

At around 4:30 am, law enforcement responded to a call of a bear sighting in the area of 19th Street and Kofa Avenue in Parker. When officers arrived, they noticed a black bear walking around. Officers with Parker Police Department, La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department and Colorado River Indian Tribes Fish and Game Department attempted to corral the bear in various locations but were unsuccessful.

“The bear was going in and out of various residential yards and ultimately made its way into the high school grounds,” said Parker Police Chief Michael Bailey. “Law enforcement contacted Arizona Game and Fish and advised them of the situation. Unfortunately, law enforcement did not have the necessary equipment to tranquilize the animal.”

Due to the possibility of the bear leaving the school grounds and going back into the surrounding neighborhoods where there was a greater potential of being a danger to people, the bear was euthanized at the request of Arizona Game and Fish.

The bear had previously been sighted in the CRIT valley, both on the California side of the Colorado River south of Parker and on the Arizona side. It had been seen near Lake Havasu City and near Blythe.

Game and Fish District Supervisor Michael Rice told Parker Live it is very unusual to have a bear in the area, generally.

“This was a young adult male, it had previously been relocated out of human habitation areas and since came back to where people are,” Rice said. “It had been exhibiting really wild movements and behaviors like getting into dumpsters, not good bear habitat. It was getting above juvenile stage, dispersing from its family, but it’s unknown where it came from.”

Rice said the department is collecting DNA samples and other biological data for its records, and that the most likely origin in Arizona would be up the Santa Maria River, perhaps via Bill Williams River, but that the true origin is unknown.

He said the protocols dictate euthanasia in such cases.

“For the state of Arizona, for mountain lions and bears, we have a very definitive protocol we use to determine whether it’s captured and moved, or euthanized. In this case it would have been a danger to people.”

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La Paz County judges to be chosen in primary election August 2nd https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/06/judges-to-be-chosen/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/06/judges-to-be-chosen/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2022 19:42:34 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20814 La Paz County will choose its judges in Arizona’s primary election on August 2nd.

Judge of the La Paz County Superior Court and Justice of the Peace of Parker Justice Court will be chosen on the Republican primary ballot. Since there are no candidates running as Democrats or Libertarians for the two offices, the Republican candidates nominated in the primary will be elected in November.

On the Superior Court bench, current Judge Jessica Quickle is being challenged by Marcus Kelley. Kelley is a former La Paz County prosecutor who says he has lived in Arizona on and off since 1980. He has seized upon his opponent’s 2021 reprimand by the State of Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct for her treatment of colleagues in the workplace, which Quickle has both refuted as inaccurate in part and acknowledged in part, citing a difficult workload during the pandemic and some misunderstanding of her demeanor. Quickle has been Judge of the Superior Court since 2019, after she won election in 2018 against Karen Hobbs. She is the first female judge in the history of the court.

Justice of the Peace Tiffany Dyer has served the same amount of time as Quickle, defeating two Sheriff’s deputies to win the Republican nomination as judge of Parker Justice Court in the 2018 primary election. Dyer was formerly the Clerk of the Parker Justice Court. This election, she is being challenged by Karen Slaughter, who for many years was judge of the Salome Justice Court, which closed recently leaving Parker as the sole Justice Court in the county. Slaughter won election and re-election as judge in Salome several times after formerly being a dispatcher, a jailer and a Certified Peace Officer with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department.

Clerk of the Superior Court Hollie Lucas is uncontested. Voters who do not vote by mail will be able to vote at 11 voting centers around the county, including Parker, Upriver, Poston, Bouse, Wenden, Salome, Vicksburg, Quartzsite, Cibola and Ehrenberg. Voters can also cast their ballots early in person at the La Paz County Recorder’s Office at 1112 Joshua Avenue in Parker. For a full list of voting centers, go HERE.

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Teen suffers major injury, deputies search for missing child, over holiday weekend https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/06/teen-suffers-major-injury-deputies-search-for-missing-child-over-holiday-weekend/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/06/teen-suffers-major-injury-deputies-search-for-missing-child-over-holiday-weekend/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2022 18:21:28 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20811 A teen was transported to hospital with a major injury on Sunday after being hit by a boat propeller at Roadrunner on the Parker Strip. Later the same day, deputies searched for a possible missing child, though nobody was reporting missing.

On Sunday around noon, deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Marine Enforcement Unit responded to the report of a major injury boat collision at the Roadrunner floating dock bar on the Parker Strip. During the investigation, it was discovered a 17-year-old male victim sustained major trauma to the lower extremities when he was struck by a boat’s propeller, as the boat was backing away from the shoreline.

The victim was transported by a San Bernardino County Air Rescue helicopter to a Phoenix trauma center and is listed in stable condition. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

Later the same day at around 9:30 pm, deputies responded to a reported child swimming under a dock, and possibly missing in the water at the Riverland Resort on the Parker Strip. Marine Enforcement and patrol deputies responded to the scene and began an immediate search. Divers searched underwater and a patrol helicopter was called to search the river and shoreline. After an extensive search of the area, no one was found in the water and there were no reports of a missing person.

“While boating or swimming in the Colorado River remember to keep a safe lookout for those in the water and always wear a lifejacket,” said the Sheriff’s Department. “It can take seconds for someone to disappear below the surface.”

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KLPZ’s morning show will return July 12th, celebrates 30 years https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/06/klpzs-morning-show-will-return-july-12th-celebrates-30-years/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/06/klpzs-morning-show-will-return-july-12th-celebrates-30-years/#respond Wed, 06 Jul 2022 18:07:00 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20807 KLPZ’s flagship morning show will be back on the air on July 12th after a summer break. Host Keith Douglas has been spending a few weeks at the family ranch in North Dakota with his mother, brother and family, doing maintenance work on the property and helping take care of tasks that have been waiting for him.

The KLPZ morning show has been on the air for 30 years this year, hosted live by the husband-wife team of Keith and Juanita every weekday morning on 1380am. In 1992, Keith was hired from KZRX in Phoenix. He’d never been to Parker before and didn’t know anything about it when he arrived. But he took to it, not only as a town and a place to call home, but as an employee who liked working at KLPZ enough that he later bought the station from its owner Chuck Scofield. He was originally to be one of two co-hosts of the morning show, but in a very short space of time began to host the show alone. He had several sidekicks over the years, but the one who lasted was his girlfriend – later wife – Juanita.

As one of the few stations with live, local content still around, KLPZ has consistently ranked in the top three stations as measured by ratings agencies like Arbitron and Nielson, in the region which includes Lake Havasu City, Quartzsite, Salome and Blythe. In addition to radio, KLPZ runs Parker Live, the annual FLOG tournament (coming up July 16th) and the annual 12 Days of Christmas promotion.

To this day, the morning show can be heard weekdays from 6am to 10am on your radio at 1380am, and online at KLPZ1380.com. The morning show will return Tuesday, July 12th.

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Man arrested for assault with a knife in Big River https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/01/big-river-knife/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/07/01/big-river-knife/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2022 17:10:11 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20804 A Big River man was arrested Thursday for assault with a deadly weapon, a knife, and committing a crime while on bail or release.

On Thursday at around 7:53 am, deputies assigned to the Colorado River Station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of an assault near the 5700 block of Hanemo Drive in Big River.

Norman Misaique, 38, was arrested after deputies say they determined he assaulted an anonymous victim with a knife (pictured). The victim received non- life-threatening injuries and denied medical attention at the scene. Misaique was transported to jail in Needles for booking. He was also found to have been previously released on his own recognizance due to jail overcrowding in a separate case pending a future court appearance, so he was charged with committing a crime while on bail or release.

Misaique remains in the custody of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department with a bail amount of $100,000 awaiting a court hearing.

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Sheriff Ponce and former employees weigh in on department financial struggles https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/06/16/former-employees-sheriff/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/06/16/former-employees-sheriff/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2022 17:46:07 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20792 UPDATE 3:30pm to add a statement by Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Johnson (added at bottom below).

Former employees of the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department say management and lack of funding for the department are the reasons they left, coming after after the department’s low salaries were highlighted in a meeting of the Board of Supervisors on June 6th. Sheriff Ponce tells Parker Live the situation is frustrating.

During the meeting’s ‘Call to the Public’, current Sheriff’s Department employees told the Board that their workplace has some of the lowest salaries around for law enforcement agencies, that morale is low, that the situation is unsustainable and that people have left to work elsewhere.

C.J. Markel told the Board that only 6 of the 30 detention officers that he started with are still there and that 64 percent of the detention officers live at home with their parents because they can’t afford to move out. Whitney Lopez, who works in 911 Dispatch, said she knows 10 people who have left the department. Ricardo Rodriquez said there is low staffing causing higher stress, low coverage and low morale. Others used the phrase, “overworked and underpaid.”

Minor responded, saying, “I feel for every person who works for La Paz County Sheriff’s Department. I don’t know how to indicate verbally any more how I support and appreciate the difficult jobs you all do.”

But he said the problem of low county revenue is affecting every department.

“La Paz County has been run very poorly for a very long time. And unfortunately part of the problem has been that when things like this comes up, we just make up money out of the blue and pretend we have money that we don’t have, and then we give raises, and then we dig the hole deeper. So we are on a mission to bring this County out of that hole.”

Minor said he wants to have a work session with the Sheriff, and implied that the department is avoiding structural changes that would pave the way for more equity in the department’s wages.

“One of the things that your Sheriff’s Department needs to address through its management is relooking at the Sheriff’s Department with potential restructure,” Minor told the meeting. “The Sheriff’s Department has been top-heavy for a long time, at least a few sheriffs back.”

At least one former employee agreed with that assessment. The employee told Parker Live that the ratio of supervisors to staff is off.

“The Sheriff’s Department’s ranking officials are living off the backs of its younger workers who don’t make much,” the former employee said. “The administration is notorious for creating positions to give promotions instead of managing its budget to provide to the younger employees who struggle financially and don’t see pay increases or steps within their career. The department gets a lot of funding from grants that require their workforce to burn themselves out to help pay for equipment and overtime. Soon they will lose funding for not having enough staff to work those grants.”

The former employee said that the department recently gave rank to detectives, making them corporals, rather than giving chances to deputies who are lower in the hierarchy.

“The Sheriff, Chief Deputy Sheriff, Commander, Administrative Lieutenant, Boating and Safety Lieutenant, Patrol Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Staff Sergeant and Administrative Secretary are certified peace officers or certified detention officers who have had step increases, while younger employees are forever at a standstill at Step 1 or 2 and get frustrated when they find out fellow coworkers are at higher pay despite their years of service with the department. How did the Sheriff find funds for his supervisors but not his younger employees?”

The employee also told Parker Live that these members of the administration do not step in to help cover districts, despite being certified to do so.

“Why do certified patrol lieutenants and sergeants drive patrol units at the county’s expense but can’t work shift or take calls for service when needed?” the employee asked. “Can you imagine patrolling on bare minimum with hundreds of Hell’s Angels in town but your support staff who are also deputies are nowhere to assist? Can you imagine being a single boat deputy working the infamous Tube Float as a solo officer by yourself on the river? Can you imagine seeing a new deputy being hired for a specialty position within your department without being given the opportunity to test such as the new School Resource Officer position? Can you imagine seeing people being hired who bypassed basic field training and being promoted or working specialty positions?”

Sheriff Ponce spoke with Parker Live Thursday to talk about the issues raised by employees and former employees, and said he largely agrees with them.

“Our pay scales are off. We are the lowest-paid in the county, both Parker and Quartzsite pay more, and we’re on the bottom end of the counties within Arizona. And yet we’ve been asked to cut our budget multiple times, and we have had to do it. The budget is tight countywide, so we’ve cut $500,000, which in turn creates struggles here. Some of our employees have been with the department for 7 years or even 10 years and have never had a cost-of-living increase in the entire time they’ve been here.”

Asked whether he believes the department is “top-heavy”, Ponce said he did not create any new command-level positions, that the current administration structure was in place before he arrived. But he said he agrees that some restructuring could possibly help.

“I’ve been trying to restructure since I got here,” he said. “I believe that the way the department is structured, people could be moved into other areas to facilitate better layers of supervision. I’m trying to do that, but it’s rather difficult in the midst of staffing issues, it makes it hard to maneuver personnel to where they need to be. When someone retires, we can modify, sometimes we can combine positions which I’ve done in many places within this department. I’m looking at all these things.”

Ponce said his biggest frustration was the way the budget constraints affect coverage of the county and staffing around the county’s jurisdiction. He said he doesn’t believe his department is currently able to provide the service citizens deserve. When asked if people in the administrative ranks could step in and help patrol, Ponce said they sometimes do.

“That does happen, I can tell you. Those people have been involved more in helping our deputies, but there are also a lot of responsibilities that are put upon them to get their administrative duties done too.”

Ponce told Parker Live that he has considered and implemented other ways to make the most of the budgets his department has, including combining various funds together to replace aging patrol vehicles so that it doesn’t come out of the county’s general fund – “a substantial savings” – and speaking to U.S. Senators, the U.S. Marshall’s Office and others to try to get back some of the federal inmates that the county can be paid to house.

“When I arrived, we were at maybe ten federal inmates or so, and now we have about thirty,” he said. “Nothing like it used to be many years ago, when we may have had a hundred. But we’ve been trying to keep those lines of communication open where we can.”

Ponce said he welcomes all work sessions with the Board of Supervisors, but he also knows that there is a limit to how much talking can accomplish.

“We all know what the financial status of this county is,” he said. “We can talk but if there’s no money, we’ll have to go without it, and that’s a hard reality.”

In the meantime, a former employee told Parker Live that the situation puts a lot of strain on existing employees of the department.

“Imagine working in 100-degree weather with full gear in a unit that’s blowing hot air and you haven’t had a day off in a week,” the employee said. “It’s physically and mentally exhausting and then you’ll get written up for making an error under conditions without support staff assisting. Imagine getting in trouble for leaving your patrol unit on because you can’t cool down, meanwhile your supervisor is driving a newer unit that has adequate air conditioning to take them to their nine-to-five job and get to sit in a clean office. What’s sad is the employees are accustomed to this and they think this is normal.”

The employee acknowledged the financial constraints countywide are real.

“Every department within La Paz County has a budget. You can’t use funds you don’t have and public servants are no more important than the rest of the county employees who also receive lower pay during times of inflation. I no longer work for the department and I hope to see the change needed and their employees being cared for.”

UPDATE: Statement by Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Johnson

I read your article and observed numerous false misleading statements from the unidentified former employee who I still can’t understand why they want to be unidentified if they no longer are employed with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office. What repercussion could they possibly be worried about other then the public knowing the false misleading statements came from that individual. I’d like to address the following false misleading statement, “The former employee said that the department recently gave rank to detectives, making them corporals, rather than giving chances to deputies who are lower in the hierarchy” which came from the unidentified former employee of the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office and was included in your article. It pertains not only to me but the other hardworking Detective’s assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit and Narcotics Task Force who serve this county. This former unidentified employee has either never worked in the investigations unit in any capacity and/or clearly has no understanding of rank structure or the inner workings of the investigations division.

Since the history of the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office specifically, there has been detectives employed by the department and assigned to the investigations division. The position of detective has been a tested, ranking position since at minimum during former Sheriff Hal Collette’s first term in 2001, which was 21 years ago. As far as insignia on uniforms goes and establishing rank, that was introduced in 2019 during the middle of former Sheriff William Risen’s administration which was 3.5 years ago. These shoulder patches with no monetary increase in salary were used as insignia on uniforms of detectives which are rarely worn being we are often dressed in business, business casual and plain clothes attire.

They were only introduced after Sheriff Risen and former La Paz County Sheriff’s Office Captain Curt Bagby created a corporal position in the patrol division. These corporals were given a rank above deputy with no monetary increase and would act in a supervisory role in patrol in the absence of a patrol sergeant or were delegated supervisory duties. Under the previous administration their was four corporal positions created. One of those corporals left the department to a much larger law enforcement agency for more money, that position was never filled under the previous administration. One of the other corporal’s was fired under the previous administration and that position was also not filled under the previous administration. The two other corporals were promoted to patrol sergeant, one under the previous administration and the other under the current administration and neither were filled under both administrations.

A detective not only at the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office but also in majority of Law Enforcement agencies across the nation the merit ranking system is as follows: deputy/officer, corporal, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, etc. When a detective responds to a crime scene, he or she is in charge and responsible for that scene. He or she is not under the supervision or directive of a patrol sergeant and certainly not a corporal or deputy. The former administration refused to acknowledge the rank structure and in doing so created numerous issues over and over with in the patrol and investigations division. This issues carried over into the current administration under Sheriff Ponce, which he corrected and in doing so upset some of these “former employees”.

Several deputies had been promoted under the previous administration and having only 3-5 years total of sworn experience handling preliminary investigations or simple calls for service. None of them had ever been assigned to the investigations unit handling major violent crimes which this county has seen an increase of. Just last year alone we had 4 different homicides in this county. These inexperienced supervisors have never worked these in-depth cases which includes but not limited to, physical and electronic evidence collection, crime scene processing, both basic and advanced forensic interviewing, providing expert testimony in a jury trial setting, very detailed report writing, etc. They were promoted to a patrol sergeant position and were put into positions of supervising and guiding deputies who the citizens interact with in this county on a daily basis. In the above statements alone, you can see where the problem lies.

But again, it goes back to the money topic, if the Sheriff’s Office was able to pay its employees more money we would have a better selection pool of supervisors to choose from because we would attract and retain long term employees”.

– Detective Jeremy Johnson

Previous stories:

2017: Department running on ‘bare minumum’

2017: Sheriff Risen, Captain Bagby on reduced funding

2017: Inside La Paz County Jail

2019: On boat patrol with La Paz County Sheriff

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Harold Smith pleads guilty to attempting to molest his grandchild, to get lifetime probation https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/06/15/harold-smith/ https://parkerliveonline.com/2022/06/15/harold-smith/#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2022 15:01:36 +0000 https://parkerliveonline.com/?p=20784 Harold Smith, a Parker man who was charged almost 4 years ago with crimes relating to sexually abusing his grandchild, has accepted a plea agreement from the state prosecutor. He will be given lifetime probation with sex offender conditions, lifetime registration as a sex offender and no jail up front.

Smith, 73, was initially offered a plea deal back in 2019 that involved significant prison time. But the case has gone through the court system at a snail’s pace, and Smith’s poor health, victim input and other factors may have made the administration of justice more complicated.

Smith was initially arrested after the victim told her therapist about the abuse, which had allegedly happened when she was between 9 and 15 years old. Her therapist encouraged her to tell others about it and she told her dad Micah, who called the Arizona Department of Public Safety, setting off a chain reaction within the family. At first it seemed that the family were united in their revulsion at the allegations.

But Micah told Parker Live that since then, some things have changed.

“The plea agreement is not justice,” he said. “I believe that the victim is being manipulated. I spoke with her and she said she had been visiting the defendant at his residence. She also informed me that she had contacted the County Attorney and asked for a lighter sentence.”

Smith pled guilty to Attempted Molestation of a Child, a Dangerous Crime Against Children and Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, a Dangerous Crime Against Children. He will serve lifetime probation and be registered as a sex offender. If he violates probation, Smith could be sentenced to prison for between 5 and 30 years.

County Attorney Tony Rogers said he can’t speak publicly about the specifics of what went into the plea.

“Many factors are considered in determining whether to offer a plea agreement in a case, and the terms of any such agreement,” he told Parker Live. “The facts and circumstances of each case, including evidence of guilt against a defendant, evidence which may support a mitigated sentence, and victim input are just a few of the factors that are considered. Out of respect for all individuals involved, to maintain the integrity of the criminal justice process, and in accordance with State Bar of Arizona Rules of Professional Responsibility Ethical Rule 3.6, our office does not comment regarding the basis for a resolution in a specific case.”

Rogers said his office continues to take its responsibility to crime victims and the greater community very seriously.

Smith’s sentencing was due to be held this Friday, but has now been rescheduled for a date to be determined.

Parker Live’s original story on Harold Smith can be found HERE.

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