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Obama Conspiracy Theories breaks story on a bad situation for Maricopa County posses

The Arizona’s Politics blog has been following the unfolding story of posse vehicles in Maricopa County. Questions began to be asked after Brian Reilly disclosed on this blog that his Cold Case Posse car had county license plates on it, as do all of the many sheriff’s posse cars in the county, and in violation of county policy. It was also discovered that the more than 100 vehicles (except when used in search and rescue operations) are not covered by county insurance. Arizona law requires all vehicles to be registered and to have liability insurance coverage.

This could have been a bad situation in case of an accident, because individual posses, who are separate entities from the Sheriff’s Office, could face serious uncovered liability.

Following my article about the Sun City West Posse ceasing operations with county vehicles, we find that posses across the county have all stopped using vehicles with county plates until they can register them and get proper insurance.

I never want to be part of the story, but here I think we did a good thing.

Read more:

Update:

Breaking: Maricopa County Sheriff’s posse shuts down

A small item appeared on the Associated Press wire yesterday, stating that the Sun City West posse commander told its members to cease operations, after they discovered that there was no insurance coverage on those Crown Victoria surplus police cruisers with county plates that the posse members had been driving. Note that all the posse cars have county license plates, not just the Cold Case Posse cars.

At this time, Sun City West is the only posse to suspend operations, according Sheriff Arpaio, but others may follow, at least until the insurance issue gets sorted out.

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Posse Gate

I’ve focused on financial questions about the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse. They are a private non-profit,  tax-exempt corporation, and their finances remain shrouded in mystery with no reporting to the Sheriff’s Office, the State of Arizona or the IRS.

We’ve learned that there are 3,000 members of  Sheriff Joe’s various posses. Exactly what that association is remains murky, and it appears that they are either independent or closely associated depending on whatever is convenient in a particular situation. When it comes to emphasizing the authority of the Cold Case Posse, they are hand-in-glove with Sheriff Arpaio, but when it comes to financial oversight, they are totally independent.

I’m sure some of the MCSO posses do great work in search and rescue, and are a credit to their community. On the other hand, the financial shenanigans and lack of transparency I’ve found with the Cold Case Posse are not unique, nor are they new. For example:

Undie-Gate (1996-1998)

imageYou may have heard that Arpaio made inmates wear pink underwear, but did you know that his posses sold souvenir versions, the proceeds from which were hidden from the public? A Superior Court Judge said that because they were independent, Arizona’s open records law did not apply to them and they didn’t have to explain where the money went. Read the story at the Phoenix New Times:

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