Main Menu

Maricopa Sheriff’s Posses, employees or not?

What I have described as murky, the neither fish nor fowl nature of the Cold Case Posse, has become more murky with the discovery of a 2012 training manual from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. The manual states:

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office training provides clear direction to ensure all employees lawfully, effectively, and ethically carry out their duties as deputies, detention officers, civilians and posse volunteers.

One might infer from other language in the document (e.g. Page 13)  that the Posses are considered “uncompensated law enforcement personnel” by the Sheriff’s Office.

Print Friendly

22 Responses to Maricopa Sheriff’s Posses, employees or not?

  1. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Okay…..let’s see if I can throw some light on this without boring everyone to death.

    The simple answer to your question is “no”, the posses are not “uncompensated law enforcement personnel”. At best they can be described as uncompensated law enforcement support.

    State law provides the authority for and definitions of “peace officers”…..people with arrest powers.

    Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 1-215(27), defines peace officer ponderously but clearly:

    “Peace officers” means sheriffs of counties, constables, marshals, policemen of cities and towns, commissioned personnel of the department of public safety, personnel who are employed by the state department of corrections and the department of juvenile corrections and who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board, peace officers who are appointed by a multicounty water conservation district and who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board, police officers who are appointed by community college district governing boards and who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board, police officers who are appointed by the Arizona board of regents and who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board, police officers who are appointed by the governing body of a public airport pursuant to section 28-8426 and who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board and special agents from the office of the attorney general, or of a county attorney, and who have received a certificate from the Arizona peace officer standards and training board.”

    Bottom line? No POST certificate, no peace officer powers. Period.

    Volunteer reserve officers have POST certificates. Posse members do not. In fact POST has no rules for posse members. Arpaio has made a feint at making it appear they do by have his armed posse members meet POST firearm training requirements for certified officers but it means nothing.

    Remember, anyone can openly carry a firearmin Arizona. Or concealed, for that matter, without any training or license.

    Along this line the legislature has specifically not provided Workers Compensation Coverage to most posse members. Here is ARS 23-901, Section 6(g):

    “Regular members of a volunteer sheriff’s reserve, which may be established by resolution of the county board of supervisors, to assist the sheriff in the performance of the sheriff’s official duties. A roster of the current members shall monthly be certified to the clerk of the board of supervisors by the sheriff and shall not exceed the maximum number authorized by the board. Certified members of an authorized volunteer sheriff’s reserve shall be deemed to be employees of the county for the purpose of coverage under the Arizona workers’ compensation laws and occupational disease disability laws and shall be entitled to receive the benefits of these laws for any compensable injuries or disabling conditions that arise out of and occur in the course of the performance of duties authorized and directed by the sheriff. Compensation benefits and premium payments shall be based upon the salary received by a regular full-time deputy sheriff of the county involved for the first month of regular patrol duty as an officer for each certified member of a volunteer sheriff’s reserve. This subdivision shall not be construed to provide compensation coverage for any member of a sheriff’s posse who is not a certified member of an authorized volunteer sheriff’s reserve except as a participant in a search and rescue mission or a search and rescue training mission.”

    Notice that the legislature carved out an exception for search and rescue posse members but no others.

    The sheriff cannot make them what the state says they are not.

  2. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    Now…..having read all the above I suspect many of you are saying…..”Wait, Carl, don’t all these folks run around in uniforms and cars with “sheriff” and “deputy sheriff” on them and aren’t their badges exactly the same except for the little bitty word “posse” on them? Some of them even carry firearms.

    The answer is a simple “yes”.

    Now you look puzzled and say, “But, Carl, that’s crazy. How do I tell the difference between them and a real deputy?”

    Good question!!!

  3. avatar
    Daniel March 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    CarlOrcas: How do I tell the difference between them and a real deputy?”

    The crazed look in their eye…

  4. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 19, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Daniel: The crazed look in their eye…

    Now, now……the truth is most of them are good folks trying to do something positive for their community.

    What bothers me is that the sheriff has allowed them to go in harms way – without adequate training or authority – to fulfill his political ambitions.

    It’s dangerous for the posse members and the public and someday some of them will pay dearly for Arpaio’s folly.

  5. avatar
    Daniel March 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Now, now……the truth is most of them are good folks trying to do something positive for their community.

    Very true but the joke just wouldn’t have had the same punch if I’d had to explain I was only referring to the really crazy ones.

  6. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Daniel: Very true but the joke just wouldn’t have had the same punch if I’d had to explain I was only referring to the really crazy ones.

    And trust me….there are some really, really crazy ones.

  7. avatar
    Keith March 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    CarlOrcas: It’s dangerous for the posse members and the public and someday some of them will pay dearly for Arpaio’s folly.

    You’re killing me!

    You insisted in the other thread that Arpaio doesn’t have anything to do with the posses. They are independent and he has no control over what they do.

    Now you are saying that Arpaio’s action or inaction (amounts to the same thing) is going to do them harm.

    Maple syrup with your waffle?

  8. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    Keith: You’re killing me!

    You insisted in the other thread that Arpaio doesn’t have anything to do with the posses. They are independent and he has no control over what they do.

    Now you are saying that Arpaio’s action or inaction (amounts to the same thing) is going to do them harm.

    Maple syrup with your waffle?

    Rather than try to pick a fight you might want to consider everything said in context:

    The posse’s are independent, non-governmental, non-profit corporations and their members have no police powers.(First message)

    Arpaio allows them to use his department’s name and it’s insignia to further his own political purposes. (Second message)

    The sheriff has no control over the posses. He’s said it. They’ve said it.

    It’s a cynical charade that’s going to get someone hurt.

    If you want to discuss the question Doc asked and the issues I’ve outlined let’s do it. If you want to pick a fight……I’ll pass.

  9. avatar
    Keith March 19, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    I’m not picking a fight, I am just pointing out that your choice of argument leaves you exposed to the charge of inconsistency.

    In the other thread what I was trying to point out, perhaps less expertly than you, is what you describe as your ‘second message’, yet you insisted on pressing the ‘first message’ as an argument against me.

    When I acknowledged your ‘first message’ and continued to press my point which, as it turns out, is identical to your ‘second message’, you insisted my argument had no value. Now you claim that argument does have value – that Arpaio does have a relationship to the Posses, and furthermore that relationship may cause harm to the Posses members in the future.

    I know that the Posses are independent incorporated organizations; and I know that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department has a ‘controlling influence’ on those Posses. That influence manifests in different ways in different Posses. For Search and Rescue it may be Communication and Coordination; for somebody else it might be endorsement of their bake sale. Both Arpaio and Zullo made it sound like Arpaio ‘assigned’ the Obama ‘case’ to the CCP. Arpaio stood up in front of not one, but two press conferences to give the impression that the ‘investigation’ was being done on his behalf.

    None of that had anything to do with my original comment anyway, about ‘any person’ being able to bring action in Superior Court when Public Officers get in the way of law enforcement trying to enforce federal law. The depth of control that Arpaio has or does not have or exercises or does not exercise, has nothing to do with that.

    It would be nice, seeing how it can be done when the Federal Law in question is Immigration Law, if it could be done when the Federal Law in question is any law, especially tax system law. Then ‘any person’ would have a path to Arpaio and exposing the finances of the CCP.

  10. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 20, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Keith: I’m not picking a fight, I am just pointing out that your choice of argument leaves you exposed to the charge of inconsistency.

    Good gracious, that’s what this is all about……inconsistencies. Read it again!

    The rest of your message is irrelevant to the subject of Doc’s question. Let’s get back on track and stop wasting time.

  11. avatar
    Joey March 20, 2014 at 2:22 am #

    CarlOrcas: Good gracious, that’s what this is all about……inconsistencies. Read it again!

    The rest of your message is irrelevant to the subject of Doc’s question. Let’s get back on track and stop wasting time.

    I second that motion.

  12. avatar
    Arthur March 20, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    CarlOrcas: Okay…..let’s see if I can throw some light on this without boring everyone to death.

    I don’t find it boring at all, and I thank you for providing the information!

  13. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 20, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Arthur: I don’t find it boring at all, and I thank you for providing the information!

    Thank you and you’re welcome!

  14. avatar
    Notorial Dissent March 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    What it boils down to, as CarlOrcas has tried to explain, is that the posses are nothing but social clubs pretending to be something they aren’t. Shurf joe can claim whatever he wants to for public consumption, but he can’t get around what the law really says about the subject. They have NO law enforcement authority, they are not protected by any of the laws that protect the real LEO types, and if they get hurt or cause some legal problem while playing deputty shurf, THEY ARE ON THEIR OWN!!!!!! They have no more legal standing than any other citizen of the state of Arizona.

    However, my feeling is that since Shurf Joe has privately and publicly misrepresented what the posse’s legal status and position is, that any of them who do get hurt would probably have a really good cause of action in court against the county, along with all the other payouts they’ve had to make because of Joe’s actions.

  15. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    Notorial Dissent: However, my feeling is that since Shurf Joe has privately and publicly misrepresented what the posse’s legal status and position is, that any of them who do get hurt would probably have a really good cause of action in court against the county, along with all the other payouts they’ve had to make because of Joe’s actions.

    There’s no doubt about that, in my mind. Frankly I can’t imagine why the county’s risk management people haven’t raised the flag on this.

    The potential harm is mind boggling.

  16. avatar
    Rickey March 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    This discussion brings me back to the talk about posse members using county vehicles and county fuel pumps.

    If my employer gives me a company vehicle to us, I have to reimburse my employer for my personal miles. The IRS considers commuting mileage to be personal mileage. If my employer doesn’t charge me for personal mileage, the value of it is treated as taxable income.

    But the posse members aren’t employees. Some of them are given police cruisers to use and they have access to county gas pumps. Brian Reilly says that they are allowed to drive the cruisers home – he says that he parked his vehicle at his house. I’m wondering what the tax implications are.

  17. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    The posses are a civic rabbit hole: Fantasies riddled with inconsistencies.

    You wonder about posse members using “county vehicles and county fuel pumps”……but that’s not exactly the way it is.

    The posses (private corporations) own the vehicles. They are apparently purchased as surplus from the county but, in the case of the Cold Case Posse’s vehicles, they left the radios and emergency equipment in them. And, somehow or another, they still had their exempt government plates, according to Brian Reilly. (That’s another can of worms.)

    Not sure how the other posses acquire their vehicles but their financials do indicate they pay for the gas, upkeep and insurance. As Mr. Reilly said he had a key to county pumps for his car. He also seemed to be unsure if he was insured while he used the vehicle.

    Is your brain starting to hurt??

    Now…..let’s make your brain really hurt: Who would be 1099ed for what? Would the posse 1099 Mr. Reilly for the use of the car (factoring out fuel?) with the county issuing a separate 1099 for the fuel……at cost or fair market value? Painful!

    I’m not sure if members of other posses have the same sort of access that the Cold Case Posse members appear to have enjoyed. The community patrols – Sun Cities and Sun Lakes – have their own offices where posse members report to work and check out a car, as I understand it, with none assigned to individual members.

    My impression, at this point, is that the other posses don’t have the problems Mr. Reilly was concerned about and that we are discussing here because we can see their finances………unlike Mr. Zullo’s Cold Case Posse.

  18. avatar
    Rickey March 21, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    As an Arizona taxpayer, you also should be concerned about the practice of selling surplus vehicles to the posses for $1 (or whatever the token amount is). I know for a fact that many of the taxis in New York City are former police vehicles, so there is demand for them, and I have no doubt that Maricopa County is losing money every time a vehicle is sold to a posse.

  19. avatar
    Notorial Dissent March 21, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    Probably for teh same reason Shurf Joe has gotten away with a lot of the stuff he has, he never ran it past the county attorney, and the CA probably didn’t know it was happening, however, once he becomes/became aware of it that is a whole other matter. The thing is, that the county is and would be absolutely liable for ANYTHING those idiots did that caused harm to anyone or anything. The other thing, unless AZ law is markedly different from anywhere else I’ve checked, once those county cars were sold to a not county organization, i.e. private social club, those county gov’t plates should have come off immediately, as the plates are supposed to identify who actually owns the vehicle, and using them is highly illegal, one might even, dare we say it, say fraud, not to mention the use of the county gas card, which comes under the heading of misappropriation, that’s theft to those of us who don’t speak governmentese, of county/gov’t property, at least any other place I know of.

    Personally, I think Shurf Joe has a whole lot of ‘splainin’ to do, and the county attorney has a whole field full of mines to defuse before they go off and cost the county any more money.

    CarlOrcas: There’s no doubt about that, in my mind. Frankly I can’t imagine why the county’s risk management people haven’t raised the flag on this.

    The potential harm is mind boggling.

  20. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 21, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Rickey:
    As an Arizona taxpayer, you also should be concerned about the practice of selling surplus vehicles to the posses for $1 (or whatever the token amount is). I know for a fact that many of the taxis in New York City are former police vehicles, so there is demand for them, and I have no doubt that Maricopa County is losing money every time a vehicle is sold to a posse.

    I’m no longer an Arizona resident (or taxpayer) but you are absolutely right about the county losing money……especially when you factor in the radios and police equipment left in the cars.

  21. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 21, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Notorial Dissent: Probably for teh same reason Shurf Joe has gotten away with a lot of the stuff he has, he never ran it past the county attorney, and the CA probably didn’t know it was happening, however, once he becomes/became aware of it that is a whole other matter.

    Let me clarify……the posse system predates Arpaio’s time in office by decades. The original Sun City Posse was incorporated in 1973. And Arpaio talked about the posses in his first book…..about 20 years ago.

    In the meantime his use of them has gotten reams (or is it gigabytes today) of publicity. Anyone in Maricopa County who doesn’t know about he posses has been in a coma.

    Notorial Dissent: The thing is, that the county is and would be absolutely liable for ANYTHING those idiots did that caused harm to anyone or anything.

    It certainly seems possible to me.

    Notorial Dissent: The other thing, unless AZ law is markedly different from anywhere else I’ve checked, once those county cars were sold to a not county organization, i.e. private social club, those county gov’t plates should have come off immediately, as the plates are supposed to identify who actually owns the vehicle, and using them is highly illegal, one might even, dare we say it, say fraud, not to mention the use of the county gas card, which comes under the heading of misappropriation, that’s theft to those of us who don’t speak governmentese, of county/gov’t property, at least any other place I know of.

    There may be some provision in state law for use of the non-revenue plates by affiliated non-profit agencies (I know, I know….they’re not but leave that aside for a moment) but I couldn’t find it anywhere.

    The gas for the Cold Case Posse cars is another matter entirely. I’m not sure its a misappropriation so much as a misuse (a distinction with only a minor difference, I know) of county assets….kind of like the cars and equipment being transferred for less than market value.

    Notorial Dissent: Personally, I think Shurf Joe has a whole lot of ‘splainin’ to do, and the county attorney has a whole field full of mines to defuse before they go off and cost the county any more money.

    The Board of Supervisors are the folks who can really do something about this stuff. To their credit they have taken on the sheriff with mixed results and lots of pain for them and the public.

  22. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    cavitekid: Very common procedures in all states

    Really? Can you give us some examples?

    cavitekid: Not employees as that would require payment according to positions filled, and mou’s for benefits and negotiations.

    Certified reserve officers in two states I am familiar with are treated as employees by state statute.