Special Section: Access Arizona
Keeping Pinal County Safe By Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff
The citizens, families and businesses that call Pinal County home, are fortunate to have a group of highly trained law enforcement and detention personnel.
he Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has a very simple mission statement; “Keeping you, your family, and our communities safe.” Eight words that get to the heart of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office pledge to the community. These eight words guide the diverse and talented professionals who make up the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Keeping you, your family and the communities safe is a mission that is accomplished in so many different ways in Pinal County. Over 600 employees and over 200 volunteers provide a diverse response to the public safety needs of the county of over 400,000 people. The sheriff’s office is tasked with patrolling the neighborhoods, schools and rural areas of unincorporated Pinal County. As well, they have teams of investigators and crime scene specialists to investigate crimes, big and small. The office operates the county’s 9-1-1 emergency call center and perform search and rescue for those that find themselves in need. Along with traditional law enforcement and support functions, the Sheriff’s Office is mandated by law to maintain and staff a safe and efficient jail facility. There are 233 uniformed and support personnel staffing the county’s adult detention facility. The facility is the third largest county jail in the state of Arizona, having a rated capacity of 1,503 beds. The primary function of the jail is to house inmates awaiting trial for felony and misdemeanor crimes. A percentage of the population has been sentenced to serve time in the jail and are serving their term of less than a year in the facility. The Pinal County Jail was selected as a pilot site by the Nationals Sheriffs’ Association for Jail Operations for Accreditation. The accreditation is governed by legal based standards established through case law. The Pinal County Jail received its first accreditation in June 2011 and was reaccredited December 2013 receiving a “Level
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1” rating which is the highest score possible. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Jail is the first Arizona Jail to receive their National Accreditation. The patrol division of the sheriff’s office is staffed by 215 sworn deputies who operate out of four districts that cover the 5437 square miles of the county. Patrol areas include the northern county areas of Apache Junction and San Tan Valley, to the communities of San Manuel and Saddlebrook in the south. Our eastern region covers the unincorporated areas of Superior, Kearny, Winkleman and Hayden and the western regions cover unincorporated areas of Casa Grande, Maricopa and Stanfield. The patrol officers value their community partnerships with the schools, boys and girls clubs, the diverse business community and civic groups. They responded to over 90,000 calls for service in 2014. The Sheriff’s Office investigative teams handle all types of cases that can result in prolonged, sensitive or expertise driven criminal investigations. Some of the units of PCSO that make up the investigative bureau are, Robbery/Homicide, Person Crimes, Property Crimes, Anti Smuggling, Sex Offender Registration and Tracking, Computer Forensics, Crime Victim Volunteers and the ID Technicians Unit. The Sheriff’s Office also oversees a regional (SWAT) tactical response team, and a regional narcotics task force.The investigative units support all law enforcement agencies within Pinal County and are staffed for around-the-clock response. The 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center provides 24-hour a day coverage for emergency and non-emergency calls. The 29 dispatchers that staff the center are highly trained in law enforcement communications and support sheriff’s deputies as well as local police and fire agencies. The 29 men and women who staffed the call center in 2014 handled over
300,000 non-emergency calls and over 64,000 9-1-1 emergency calls. The Pinal County Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit conducts day and night mobile Search and Rescue operations in both urban and wilderness environments. The Aviation Unit works closely with search and rescue teams on the ground to provide quick responses to some of the most rugged terrain in the county. In the first three months of 2015, the SAR teams responded to 17 searches for individuals, 34 rescues and 19 patrol support missions. SAR assets are on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and at a moment’s notice, to provide assistances to anyone in the county that is lost or in crisis A key part of our search and rescue operations are the members of the Pinal County SAR Volunteer Posse. They are a group of highly trained rescuers that assist local, county, and state agencies in the many varied terrains that need to be covered in any search and rescue mission that comes up. The citizens, families and businesses that call Pinal County home, are fortunate to have a group of highly trained law enforcement and detention personnel who carry out the many diverse public safety functions of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. The mission to keep you, your family and our communities safe is much more than eight words; it is the standard that each employee strives to meet every day and their commitment to the communities they serve.
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