[ {"id":"073c85ca-bb35-5421-b265-87d70659e344","type":"article","starttime":"1495953000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-27T23:30:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1496008897","sections":[{"local":"news/local"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"},{"state-and-regional":"news/state-and-regional"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","enterprise":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Feds seize guns of 8 Chinese students at University of Arizona","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/article_073c85ca-bb35-5421-b265-87d70659e344.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/feds-seize-guns-of-chinese-students-at-university-of-arizona/article_073c85ca-bb35-5421-b265-87d70659e344.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/feds-seize-guns-of-chinese-students-at-university-of-arizona/article_073c85ca-bb35-5421-b265-87d70659e344.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Murphy Woodhouse\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Officials say it doesn't appear there was any criminal intent by students in buying the guns.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topread","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"76664"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"cbd581bd-03ef-5887-b6f1-243330b33936","description":"University of Arizona Chinese international student Yifei Gong purchased this RAS47 after getting a resident hunting license. \u2014 Credit: Courtesy Yifei Gong","byline":"Courtesy Yifei Gong","hireswidth":1662,"hiresheight":1246,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/bd/cbd581bd-03ef-5887-b6f1-243330b33936/591f739094d5a.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1014","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/bd/cbd581bd-03ef-5887-b6f1-243330b33936/591f739092fd8.image.jpg?resize=1014%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/bd/cbd581bd-03ef-5887-b6f1-243330b33936/591f739092fd8.image.jpg?crop=1662%2C934%2C0%2C155&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/bd/cbd581bd-03ef-5887-b6f1-243330b33936/591f739092fd8.image.jpg?crop=1662%2C934%2C0%2C155&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/bd/cbd581bd-03ef-5887-b6f1-243330b33936/591f739092fd8.image.jpg?crop=1662%2C934%2C0%2C155&resize=1024%2C575&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":26,"commentID":"073c85ca-bb35-5421-b265-87d70659e344","body":"

In recent months, federal and state officials have cited at least eight Chinese students at the UA for fraudulently obtaining resident hunting licenses, and also seized from them a number of firearms obtained using those licenses.

A high-ranking federal official told the Star his agency has no evidence of \u201cmalicious intent\u201d by the eight students. Nevertheless, the purchases reveal what officials say is a potentially troubling vulnerability in federal and Arizona firearms laws, which exempt international students and other nonimmigrant visa holders with hunting licenses from prohibitions on gun ownership.

One of the University of Arizona students cited said he was simply intrigued by American gun culture and wanted to have the experience of shooting his own firearm, a common motivation among the cited students, according to the federal official.

\u201cIt\u2019s totally not possible,\u201d Yifei Gong said of his prospects of ever owning a gun in China, where individual gun ownership is heavily restricted. \u201cYou probably won\u2019t have a firearm for your life. That\u2019s why most people want a firearm in China. They can\u2019t buy one; that\u2019s why they want one.\u201d

Following advice found online and from fellow international students, Gong went to a Walmart and purchased a resident hunting license in November, according to him and Arizona Game and Fish Department records obtained by the Star. With the license, he said, he went to a gun shop and bought a semi-automatic RAS47, a U.S.-made rifle designed to mimic the Kalashnikov.

While self-defense was an element of his desire to purchase a gun, Yifei said it was first and foremost for \u201cfun,\u201d and he took his rifle to local shooting ranges several times.

But Gong\u2019s time as an Arizona gun owner was to be short-lived.

In the early morning of Dec. 6, a state game and fish officer and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents went to Gong\u2019s off-campus Tucson apartment to ask about his license and, ultimately, to seize his firearm, according to a report.

Gong was cited by the state officer for fraudulently obtaining a hunting license, a Class 2 misdemeanor to which he pleaded guilty and paid a fine. He is facing no other state or federal charges, according to court documents and a federal official.

Gong\u2019s experience was not an isolated incident. As of early May, seven other Chinese students at the UA had been similarly cited and had their guns taken, according to court records and Homeland Security Investigations.

The citations and seizures are the most recent development in what Scott Brown, the Phoenix HSI special agent in charge, described as a more than yearlong project of the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats, a multiagency group of state and federal agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Despite the ominous sound of the name, Homeland Security Iinvestigations, the lead agency on the matter, does not suspect the eight UA students had any \u201cmalicious intent\u201d when they acquired their licenses and guns, Brown said. He did say there are a \u201cvery small number\u201d of other cases where there could be such intent, but even with those, Brown clarified, \u201cour concern isn\u2019t necessarily that they themselves pose the direct threat.\u201d

\u201cPeople like to go out in the desert and shoot guns \u2014 U.S. citizens and foreign students alike,\u201d he said of what his agency found to be the most common motivation at play.

Brown said the cases highlight what he described as a loophole in firearms regulation that \u201ccould be exploited by those with malicious intent.\u201d

\u201cThis is occurring in other states, where there are foreign students, where there are similar state hunting license requirements,\u201d he added.

As it stands under federal law, nonimmigrant visa holders, like international students, are generally prohibited from owning guns. However, exemptions are made for those with a valid hunting license or permit, according to the ATF\u2019s website. Arizona law reflects that exemption.

To buy a resident Arizona hunting license, applicants must have lived in the state for six months and not claim residency in another state or jurisdiction, according to the Game and Fish Department. One of the requirements of an F-1 student visa is maintaining \u201ca residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up,\u201d according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service\u2019s website. That designation would typically prevent an international student from being able to get a resident hunting license.

\u201cThe visa paperwork make it very clear that they are not a resident of the United States,\u201d said Gene Elms, law enforcement branch chief with Arizona Game and Fish. \u201cThey don\u2019t qualify for a resident license in Arizona.\u201d

Nevertheless, Gong said he easily purchased a resident tag at the Walmart on South Houghton Road last November, something Elms said he wasn\u2019t surprised to hear. Other students purchased their resident licenses similarly, though two bought them through AZGFD\u2019s online hunting license portal, according to AZGFD reports.

\u201cI went to Walmart and they asked me how long I\u2019ve been here. I\u2019ve been here for at least two years, and they just assumed that I\u2019m a resident of Arizona, and that\u2019s the hunting license they gave me,\u201d Gong said.

A Walmart spokesperson confirmed Gong\u2019s purchase. \u201cWe have policies and procedures in place to help ensure we comply with applicable laws when issuing hunting licenses,\u201d a statement from the company read. \u201cA customer must provide valid identification at the time of the purchase to confirm residency.\u201d

Several local gun shops declined to sell Gong a gun, citing their policy of not selling to international students. However, he said he eventually found one where his hunting license and other documents were enough to buy an RAS47.

\u201cI did not know (I was breaking the law) until they seized my firearm. I believe that most of the people who are cited with this charge did not know that,\u201d Gong said. \u201cIf there is something wrong with my hunting license, why would they sell it to me?\u201d

Nonresident Arizona hunting licenses, while significantly more expensive than resident tags, can be purchased by nonimmigrant visa holders in Arizona. It\u2019s legal for such license holders to buy and own a firearm until the license expires, at which time \u201cthey become a prohibited possessor,\u201d said Mark Hart, a spokesman for the Game and Fish Department.

No \u201cbig hammer\u201d

In late 2015, the FBI issued a warning after it received reports of Chinese international students \u201clegally\u201d purchasing guns, according to a Dec. 23 Phoenix ABC 15 story.

In one case detailed in the broadcast, a Chinese student was expelled and deported after bringing two AR-15s onto the Arizona State University campus. Brown described that incident as \u201cthe most serious\u201d in Arizona involving an armed international student.

Then, on Jan. 16, Juang Yue, a 19-year-old Chinese student at ASU, was shot and killed in a road-rage incident, news of which spread quickly in the Chinese student community.

In the wake of the tragedy, some Chinese students expressed an interest in buying guns for self-defense, and information on how to acquire them circulated online, as did warnings about the potential dangers of gun ownership. Gong said he was aware of the incident but that it played only a small role in his desire to purchase a gun.

It was around the time of the FBI warning and shooting that ASU\u2019s Police Department asked the ATF for assistance with foreign student gun purchases. ATF, in turn, reached out to HSI because of its expertise in immigration-related issues, according to Brown.

In late 2016, state game and fish employees also noticed an uptick in students who did not appear to be residents coming to their Tucson office to buy hunting licenses, Elms said.

It took time, Brown said, to acquire the records necessary to determine who may have purchased licenses and firearms illegally, as well as what their intent was. The hunting license charges started coming in late 2016, according to court records. But those misdemeanor citations came from the state wildlife agency, not HSI, which could have brought more serious federal firearms charges.

\u201cIf there\u2019s no malicious intent and we can get the students into compliance, remove the unlawfully obtained firearms ... we don\u2019t need to drop a big hammer,\u201d Brown said about why the state filed the charges.

Beyond Gong\u2019s AK-47 lookalike, HSI agents have seized handguns and other rifles from the UA students.

\u201cEvery person that we\u2019ve talked to, that we\u2019ve seized weapons from, has acknowledged that they were not purchased for the purpose of hunting,\u201d Brown said. \u201cOne person did say they were for hunting coyotes. The story was so hideously inaccurate he eventually decided that he didn\u2019t want to stick with that story.\u201d

Updates, reform needed

There are several efforts underway to make it more difficult for foreign students to improperly purchase guns. While declining to go into details, Brown said the Legislature and Congress may eventually consider legislation that would \u201cclose the vulnerabilities.\u201d

At the state level, the goal would be to reach \u201ca standardized definition of residency in alignment with the federal definition of residency,\u201d Brown said.

When it comes to nonresident hunting licenses, Homeland Security Investigations feels they should enable nonimmigrant visa holders to purchase only guns \u201cspecific to hunting/outdoor game sportsmanship,\u201d according to a statement provided by the agency.

While he\u2019s sympathetic to the concerns raised by HSI and others, Elms pointed out that many foreign nationals come to Arizona to hunt from around the world and legislative changes could negatively impact their ability to do so.

If the department\u2019s commission backs a state legislative change, Elms said the state Game and Fish Department might support it, but at the end of the day, it is federal law \u201cthat creates this loophole,\u201d referencing the hunting license exemption for nonimmigrant visa holders purchasing guns.

\u201cOur state statute simply points to that federal legislation,\u201d he added.

In their statement, HSI agrees that the federal exemptions for nonimmigrant visitors \u201cneed to be updated.\u201d

\u201cHSI and law enforcement partners have discussed that aliens here for specific hunting and/or professional sporting competition should be the only ones in possession of firearms or granted exemption to purchase firearms,\u201d the statement goes on to say.

In the next few years, Game and Fish is switching to an online-only license application process, which could make inappropriately purchasing a resident license less likely. \u201cWhen you do apply online, you\u2019re prompted with a lot more questions than you would be at the Walmart,\u201d Elms said.

Elms and Brown agreed that education could go a long way toward addressing the issue. In the wake of the citations, Brown said HSI and other agencies are working with state universities to make sure such students have a better understanding of gun laws and hunting license requirements.

\u201cLife outside of campus can be complicated for all students, domestic and international, and occasionally in upholding all state and federal laws,\u201d a statement from the UA reads, which goes on to say that when situations like this arise, the university\u2019s staff communicates \u201cwith relevant legal and law enforcement entities as appropriate.\u201d

\u201cMost of the Chinese students here, the problem with them is just their lack of knowledge of the law system,\u201d Gong said. \u201cThey know there\u2019s a way you can purchase firearms, but they don\u2019t actually know a lot about the firearms law.\u201d

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Four former Southern Arizona law enforcement officers surrendered their state certifications for police work earlier this week, and a fifth ex-police officer is facing the loss of his, officials said.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training board voted Wednesday to accept consent agreements with Brandon Kelley, Arick Martino and Lisa E. Lopez \u2014 all formerly employed by the Tucson Police Department \u2014 allowing the three to voluntarily relinquish their peace officer certifications, said Sandy Sierra, a board spokeswoman.

Without a valid peace officer certification, a person is barred from working in law enforcement in Arizona.

The board also voted to accept the voluntary relinquishment of former Cochise County sheriff\u2019s deputy Steven D. Ray\u2019s certification, Sierra said.

Blake Deimund, a former Tucson police sergeant, is facing the loss or suspension of his certification, after the board decided to initiate proceedings against him.

Brandon Kelley

Kelley, 26, was fired from TPD in November 2015 after he yelled offensive words at a motorist, tried to cover it up and then lied about it, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.

In June 2014, Kelley stopped his patrol car on a downtown street and was blocking up, when another driver pulled up behind him.

Kelley yelled to the driver, \u201cGo around you stupid (expletive deleted) foreigner,\u201d City Attorney Mike Rankin said during a 2015 City Council meeting, during which an overview of Kelley\u2019s case was presented.

The patrol car\u2019s video camera picked up Kelley\u2019s word and a civilian also witnessed the incident, Rankin said.

Investigators found that Kelley \u201cintentionally manipulated\u201d the recording device and tried to disconnect it to delete the audio recording of the incident, according to the AZPOST\u2019s case overview.

Three weeks later, Kelley was found to have lied when he requested a police report for personal use, but wrote \u201ccourt\u201d on the department\u2019s request log as the reason he was seeking the report.

Kelley, who had been on the force for three years, was fired for \u201cuntruthfulness,\u201d but appealed his termination with the city\u2019s Civil Service Commission, which upheld the decision.

Arick Martino

Martino, 28, resigned from the TPD for an incident involving excessive force that occurred in 2015 after Martino and five other officers responded to a disturbance and the suspect resisted arrest, according to the AZPOST\u2019s case overview.

The officers placed the suspect face down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back and his legs restrained, after which the man, who was still very agitated, struck his head against a plastic trashcan.

Martino, who was hired by TPD in 2013, called the man a \u201cjackass\u201d and dropped to his knees on the suspect\u2019s upper back while the man was still retrained, the AZPOST document said.

After witnessing what happened, two of the nearby officers pushed Martino off the suspect, according to the document.

Martino told investigators with TPD\u2019s office of professional standards that he used that amount of force because the suspect was attempting to harm himself, but body camera footage and interviews with the officer officers didn\u2019t back up Martino\u2019s claims.

TPD investigators determined that because Martino called the suspect a derogatory name before using force, that demonstrated intent to insult or provoke a restrained suspect.

Lisa E. Lopez

Lopez, 49, was a 19-year veteran of TPD when she resigned last September after an internal investigation revealed that she \u201cfailed to thoroughly investigate 36 cases\u201d between 2008 and 2016, according to AZPOST documents.

As a detective, Lopez was assigned to the child sexual abuse unit and the vulnerable adult abuse unit at those times.

Because the case went directly to a consent agreement and the board did not initiate proceedings against Lopez, the AZPOST\u2019s case overview does not include details of the investigation that would usually be found in the board\u2019s charging board document.

The Star requested the summary report from TPD\u2019s office of professional standards investigation into Lopez more than two weeks ago, but the records were not made available by the department.

Steven Ray

Ray, 44, worked as a deputy for the Cochise County Sheriff\u2019s Office for nearly 18 years before his January resignation. No details regarding his infractions were available, as Ray\u2019s case went directly to a consent agreement.

Blake Deimund

Deimund, 34, worked for TPD for nearly 11 years before he resigned last October after he was found to have lied about a traffic stop multiple times, AZPOST documents show.

In March 2015, Deimund conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle he said was driving 55 mph in a 40 mph zone. Because the driver had no insurance or registration, the vehicle was impounded. During a search of the car, Deimund found a firearm and arrested the driver on a prohibited possession charge, the documents show.

The driver spent nearly six months in jail, proclaiming his innocence, before Deimund told deputy Pima County Attorney Kelly McInroy he wrote the wrong speed down in his reports, and the suspect was actually driving 45 mph.

Because of Deimund\u2019s misinformation, the charges against the suspect were dismissed and the man filed a $75,000 claim against TPD, the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office, Deimund and another officer for a wrongful traffic stop, AZPOST documents show.

Deimund gave conflicting information as to why he wrote down the wrong speed during each of his three TPD interviews and to the county attorney. TPD investigators determined he didn\u2019t stop the car for a speeding violation and was untruthful during his interviews.

The AZPOST will mail a letter to Deimund notifying him of the charges, after which he\u2019ll have the opportunity for his case to be heard before an administrative court judge.

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A woman at the center of a years-long investigation into a string of illicit Tucson massage parlors has pleaded guilty to two felonies.

During a status conference in Pima County Superior Court on May 17, Clarissa Lopez entered an unscheduled change of plea, pleading guilty to one count of keeping a house of prostitution and one count of receiving the earnings of a prostitute, both class 5 felonies, according to court records.

Lopez was facing a total of eight felony charges, including illegal control of an enterprise, money laundering and pandering.

She was indicted in February 2016, a year after Tucson police raided multiple locations across town believed to be affiliated with the By Spanish prostitution raid, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.

A first-time offender, Lopez is facing a maximum sentence of two years in prison for each charge.

Lopez\u2019s sentencing is scheduled for June 19.

Her boyfriend, Ulises Ruiz, will be going to trial next year in connection with the case, and is facing six felonies, including illegal control of an enterprise, keeping a house of prostitution, money laundering and receiving the earnings of a prostitute.

In the Wednesday status conference, Pima County Superior Court Judge Howard Fell set a trial date for Jan. 9, 2018, and estimated the trial would last three days.

In a May 8 settlement conference, Sean Bruner, an assistant Pima County public defender who is Ruiz\u2019s attorney, said there was no evidence his client did anything to merit the charges levied against him and that the county attorney\u2019s office was \u201ctrying to pull him in because he\u2019s the boyfriend.\u201d

Ruiz\u2019s only connection to By Spanish is that he answered the phone once or twice, Bruner said.

As a result of TPD\u2019s investigation into By Spanish, eight police department employees lost their jobs after they were found to be customers of or have knowledge of the illicit business. Police also identified government employees, firefighters, Border Patrol agents and Air Force personnel as customers.

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Taxpayers started footing the bill for housing Ivan Moreno Miranda shortly after a Border Patrol agent caught him on Jan. 14.

Moreno Miranda crossed the border illegally near Douglas after being deported in 2013, federal court records show. The U.S. Attorney\u2019s Office filed criminal charges against him and on Jan. 17 he was placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service while his case unfolded, at a daily detention cost of about $80.

The cost of detaining Moreno Miranda kept growing until Thursday, when federal Judge Raner C. Collins sentenced him to time served. After four months in the custody of the Marshals Service, the cost of housing Moreno Miranda came to about $9,600.

Those expenses can escalate quickly.

A similar, but longer and costlier, story played out with David Borrayo Fajardo, who was also sentenced Thursday. He was caught in October near Ajo, crossing the border illegally a month after being deported. He had a series of criminal convictions from the early 1990s, including aggravated assault when he was 19 years old, according to a sentencing memorandum.

His attorney needed more time to prepare and the proceedings lasted three months longer than Moreno Miranda\u2019s case, court records show. After seven months in marshals service custody, the cost to house Borrayo Fajardo came to about $16,800.

In the last decade, housing people on immigration-related charges in Southern Arizona cost taxpayers more than $1.8 billion, according to statistics obtained by the Arizona Daily Star through public-records requests.

Border detention costs graphic

The Marshals Service spent about $1.1 billion in Southern Arizona housing people on similar charges in fiscal years 2007-15, according to agency records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

More than 90 percent of those funds, or about $1 billion, went to the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence owned by CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent $760 million detaining people for violating immigration laws in Southern Arizona in fiscal years 2007-16, agency records obtained through a public-records request show.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is housing 2,825 immigration offenders who were sentenced in Arizona, at an annual cost of $98 million, according to agency statistics obtained through a public-records request. Most of them are housed elsewhere in the country, while 266 are housed in Arizona at an annual cost of $9.2 million.

Arizona sheriff\u2019s departments spent $335 million in fiscal years 2009-16 housing illegal immigrants convicted of breaking state and local laws, according to statistics provided by Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, president of the Arizona Sheriffs Association.

In all, detaining illegal immigrants in Southern Arizona cost taxpayers well over $2 billion in the past decade, not including the costs of the Border Patrol\u2019s holding facilities, where illegal immigrants are held for hours or days after an agent catches them near the border.

ICE saw its annual detention costs in Southern Arizona quadruple during fiscal years 2007-16 to $96 million. Detention costs for the Marshals Service grew by 50 percent to $141 million in fiscal year 2015, the most recent year for which the Star could obtain Marshals Service records.

Those costs could continue to rise as federal agencies put in motion the Feb. 20 directive from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to end the policy of \u201ccatch-and-release\u201d of illegal immigrants, in which authorities issue notices to appear at removal hearings, rather than take them into custody.

To keep pace with the expected rise in detainees, Kelly directed ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to \u201callocate all available resources to expand their detention capabilities and capacities at or near the border with Mexico to the greatest extent possible.\u201d

In an April 11 memo, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors in border states to prioritize a variety of immigration-related crimes and to develop guidelines for prosecutions \u201cto accomplish the goal of deterring first-time improper entrants.\u201d

A memo from the U.S. Attorney\u2019s Office describing new plea agreement policies indicates the federal court in Tucson will see more felony prosecutions of immigration-related crimes, such as crossing the border illegally after deportation.

\u201cFrom a defense attorney\u2019s perspective, it\u2019s job security,\u201d lawyer F. Michael Carrillo said after a hearing in federal court in Tucson. \u201cFrom a human perspective, it\u2019s a scam. It\u2019s heartbreaking.\u201d

\u201cThese are the \u2018bad hombres\u2019?\u201d Carrillo continued. For many of his clients, \u201ctheir criminal history is a bunch of immigration violations.\u201d

What we don\u2019t know

Despite spending $760 million of taxpayer money, ICE declined to allow the Star to tour detention facilities, provide the number of ICE detainees in Southern Arizona, or provide the daily cost to house a detainee.

The Border Patrol did not respond to requests for information about the use of various enforcement tools; where illegal immigrants are sent after leaving Border Patrol custody; or statistics on the agency\u2019s prosecution programs.

The U.S. Attorney\u2019s Office did not respond to a request for information about how prosecutors decide to file criminal charges in immigration-related cases, how those decisions evolved in the last decade, and how new policies affect those decisions.

How it works

Without information from official sources other than the Marshals Service, the Star used interviews with defense lawyers, agency reports, and court records to sketch the outlines of how the immigration detention system works in Southern Arizona.

Illegal immigrants take a myriad of paths through the detention system, but they can be divided roughly into two basic paths: criminal and administrative.

On the path that involves criminal charges, a federal prosecutor decides whether to charge a detainee at a Border Patrol station with illegal re-entry, the legal term for crossing the border illegally after being deported, or another immigration-related crime.

If criminal charges are filed, defendants are taken into custody by the Marshals Service \u2014 which Fidencio Rivera, chief deputy U.S. marshal in Arizona, described as the \u201cfederal sheriff\u2019s office\u201d \u2014 while their cases are prosecuted.

About one-third of the people apprehended by the Border Patrol in the Tucson Sector are charged criminally. For fiscal years 2011-16, about 580,000 apprehensions resulted in about 205,000 prosecutions, according to the Border Patrol\u2019s annual sector profiles.

While Moreno Miranda and Borrayo Fajardo went through a monthslong process of prosecution, thousands more immigration-related cases are handled through fast-track prosecution programs, such as Operation Streamline, and usually are resolved in a matter of days.

After Borrayo Fajardo\u2019s sentencing Thursday to one year in prison, with credit for time served, the Marshals Service will take him to a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility, court records show. The judge recommended he be placed in an institution in or near Arizona.

On the administrative path, Moreno Miranda was sentenced to time served and will not be taken to federal prison. Instead, ICE likely will place him in a detention center while he is processed for deportation.

ICE also takes custody of illegal immigrants when they are released from county jails or after federal prosecutors decline to file criminal charges.

During fiscal years 2007-15, ICE handled 110,000 administrative arrests in Arizona, according to the Department of Homeland Security\u2019s Office of Immigration Statistics.

Detainees can remain in ICE custody for a few days or for many months, depending on whether they choose to appeal their removal order, apply for asylum, or if their country of origin delays in issuing travel documents.

In a separate administrative path, Border Patrol agents use expedited removal, which allows for deportation without involving an immigration court.

A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute on the Border Patrol\u2019s \u201cconsequence delivery system\u201d showed about half of the Tucson Sector apprehensions researchers could track in fiscal year 2014 resulted in expedited removal, 26 percent were prosecuted and 12 percent led to voluntary returns and notices to appear.

Where the money went

Statistics provided by ICE showed where detention dollars were spent in Southern Arizona for fiscal years 2013-16, but for previous years the agency provided only annual spending totals.

For the four years with detailed information, ICE spent a total of $167.3 million at the agency-owned facility in Florence, $136.2 million at CoreCivic\u2019s facility in Eloy, $66.8 million at CoreCivic\u2019s facility in Florence and $15.5 million at the Pinal County Sheriff\u2019s Office.

The Marshals Service guarantees payment for 3,420 beds at CoreCivic facilities, Rivera said. The agency also uses 293 beds at the Federal Correctional Institution-Tucson, but does not pay for those beds.

The marshals service also paid $48.6 million in fiscal years 2007-15 to the San Luis Regional Detention Center, near Yuma, operated by Emerald Cos. LaSalle Corrections now owns the facility.

Rivera declined to provide the daily bed rate charged by CoreCivic, citing concerns about competition for the government contract.

However, the Marshals Service\u2019s detention budget submission for fiscal year 2017 showed the average daily jail costs at private facilities was $79.24 in fiscal year 2015, up from $72.88 in fiscal year 2011. The agency expected that rate to have risen to $80.67 in fiscal year 2016 and $82.22 in fiscal year 2017.

The daily cost at the Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities comes to $88, according to calculations included in presentence reports in immigration-related cases.

CoreCivic has come under fire for 15 in-custody deaths at the Eloy Detention Center since 2003 and immigrant-rights activists decry a profit-making motive behind incarceration.

CoreCivic did not respond to a request for comment. But Rivera said the company\u2019s facilities are the only places that can handle the volume of detainees handled by the Marshals Service.

\u201cWe couldn\u2019t do our jobs without them,\u201d Rivera said.

The company also saved the agency money by building a medical facility, Rivera said, which helped avoid the costly practice of sending deputy marshals to guard inmates at local hospitals.

"}, {"id":"4a6c8d01-c111-5489-bff1-a0e95c417956","type":"article","starttime":"1495260900","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-19T23:15:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495744678","priority":30,"sections":[{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Pima County sergeant's demotion was not by the book, board finds","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/article_4a6c8d01-c111-5489-bff1-a0e95c417956.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/pima-county-sergeant-s-demotion-was-not-by-the-book/article_4a6c8d01-c111-5489-bff1-a0e95c417956.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/pima-county-sergeant-s-demotion-was-not-by-the-book/article_4a6c8d01-c111-5489-bff1-a0e95c417956.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Former lieutenant said he was demoted for openly supporting sheriff's opponent during last season's campaign.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"75661"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"815d2475-01ff-5d62-a268-fc1bb0b338c3","description":"Pima County Sheriff sergeant Terry Parish II","byline":"Courtesy of Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department","hireswidth":1175,"hiresheight":1762,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/15/815d2475-01ff-5d62-a268-fc1bb0b338c3/591f9ba65164c.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"507","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/15/815d2475-01ff-5d62-a268-fc1bb0b338c3/591f9ba64f989.image.jpg?resize=507%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"69","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/15/815d2475-01ff-5d62-a268-fc1bb0b338c3/591f9ba64f989.image.jpg?crop=985%2C682%2C118%2C284&resize=100%2C69&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"208","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/15/815d2475-01ff-5d62-a268-fc1bb0b338c3/591f9ba64f989.image.jpg?crop=985%2C682%2C118%2C284&resize=300%2C208&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"709","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/15/815d2475-01ff-5d62-a268-fc1bb0b338c3/591f9ba64f989.image.jpg?crop=985%2C682%2C118%2C284"}}}],"revision":16,"commentID":"4a6c8d01-c111-5489-bff1-a0e95c417956","body":"

A Pima County law enforcement review board decided that the January demotion of a Sheriff\u2019s Department sergeant did not follow county guidelines.

Terry Parish was demoted from lieutenant back to sergeant Jan. 1 after newly elected Sheriff Mark Napier said Parish failed his probationary period.

Under Pima County Law Enforcement Merit System rules, suspensions and terminations are appealable, but demotions that take place as a result of failing probation are not.

After two days consisting of nearly eight hours of testimony, the Merit Commission decided it had the jurisdictional authority to hear Parish\u2019s appeal of his demotion because of unclear language in the system\u2019s rules regarding a demotion\u2019s effective date.

\u201cIt\u2019s rare but not uncommon for us to hold jurisdictional hearings,\u201d commission chairwoman Georgia Brousseau said at the start of the April 10 meeting.

Because Parish\u2019s demotion \u2014 which came on the heels of a tumultuous election for Pima County sheriff \u2014 occurred under unique or unclear circumstances, the Merit Commission decided it would hear the case to make sure no rules were broken.

\u201cUnlike the last 37 years, we\u2019ve had a change in the Sheriff Department\u2019s administration,\u201d Brousseau said. \u201cAnd an action that occurred very early into the new sheriff\u2019s tenure has been called into question.\u201d

Parish\u2019s attorney, Mike Storie, said Napier demoted Parish out of retaliation for his open support of then-Sheriff Chris Nanos during the election. Nanos, who was appointed sheriff in 2015, lost to Napier in November\u2019s election.

Storie argued that regardless of the motive, the Sheriff\u2019s Department violated a Merit System rule that says a demotion must be processed at the beginning of a pay period.

Parish was demoted Jan. 1 \u2014 the day Napier took office \u2014 and his drop in pay became effective the same day.

During his testimony, Parish said that under a Merit System rule that was added last year, his demotion shouldn\u2019t have taken effect until the start of the next pay period Jan. 8.

Parish\u2019s probation period as a lieutenant ended Jan. 3, and rules require that if an employee is going to be failed, it has to happen before the probation period ends.

Also, because Parish\u2019s demotion didn\u2019t technically go into effect until Jan. 8, five days after Parish\u2019s probationary period ended, he passed his probation to remain a lieutenant, according to the Merit Commission\u2019s attorney, Barry Corey.

In order to demote an employee who is not on probation, the department must serve that person with a notice of intent and hold a hearing, so if the department intends to demote Parish, they\u2019d have to reinstate him to lieutenant and give Parish back pay dating to January in order to begin the process, Storie said.

As of now, the situation is in a sort of limbo and it\u2019s up to the Sheriff\u2019s Department to decide how to proceed, Corey said.

If Parish is not returned to lieutenant status, the commission will be notified and set a hearing on the issue. If his rank is restored, the commission\u2019s involvement is over, Corey said.

\u201c(Parish\u2019s demotion) was the result of input of several commanders on the Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department, review of performance incidents during probation and was fully reviewed by Pima County Human Resources and legal,\u201d Sheriff Mark Napier said Friday. \u201cDue to the lack of clarity in the language of the rules and the unintended consequences they created, uncertainty was created about the application of the rules specific to Sergeant Parish\u2019s demotion.\u201d

When rules are unclear, the doubt that\u2019s created \u201ccorrectly leans in favor of the affected employee,\u201d he said.

The Sheriff\u2019s Department will be reviewing the matter with its legal advisers and the county\u2019s Human Resources Department to determine the best way to proceed, Napier said.

"}, {"id":"2e4472d5-d216-52e3-b8d7-6892f06a3603","type":"article","starttime":"1495134000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-18T12:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495938028","priority":40,"sections":[{"local":"news/local"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"},{"tucson":"business/tucson"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona warned over improperly slashing workplace safety penalties","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/article_2e4472d5-d216-52e3-b8d7-6892f06a3603.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/arizona-warned-over-improperly-slashing-workplace-safety-penalties/article_2e4472d5-d216-52e3-b8d7-6892f06a3603.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/arizona-warned-over-improperly-slashing-workplace-safety-penalties/article_2e4472d5-d216-52e3-b8d7-6892f06a3603.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Emily Bregel\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"The governor-appointed Industrial Commission of Arizona has 30 days to respond to the findings, prompted in part by a Star investigation.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["industrial commission of arizona","arizona division of occupational safety and health","osha","caspa","occupational safety and health administration"],"internalKeywords":["#toptwo","#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"76740"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"4c2730ab-2788-55c4-a7da-af1f98e1f767","description":"Jos\u00e9 Mata suffered burns over 42 percent of his body after a workplace accident. His employer\u2019s penalty was cut from $69,300 to $25,300. Mata returned to work and says the company improved its safety protocol.","byline":"Courtesy of Jos\u00e9 Mata","hireswidth":1745,"hiresheight":933,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/c2/4c2730ab-2788-55c4-a7da-af1f98e1f767/585330f01e3e9.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1170","height":"626","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/c2/4c2730ab-2788-55c4-a7da-af1f98e1f767/585330f01c555.image.jpg?resize=1170%2C626"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"53","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/c2/4c2730ab-2788-55c4-a7da-af1f98e1f767/585330f01c555.image.jpg?resize=100%2C53"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"160","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/c2/4c2730ab-2788-55c4-a7da-af1f98e1f767/585330f01c555.image.jpg?resize=300%2C160"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"548","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/c2/4c2730ab-2788-55c4-a7da-af1f98e1f767/585330f01c555.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C548"}}}],"revision":37,"commentID":"2e4472d5-d216-52e3-b8d7-6892f06a3603","body":"

An investigation by federal OSHA officials has found the Industrial Commission of Arizona\u2019s practice of arbitrarily reducing employers\u2019 penalties for safety violations is undermining the deterrent power of those penalties and is not permitted under existing policies.

The investigation also determined the governor-appointed commission \u201chas been operating outside of its legal authority\u201d by reclassifying the severity level of safety violations recommended by inspectors at the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or ADOSH.

\u201cThe big question is what the implication of this will be, in terms of the follow-up the state does to address these concerns,\u201d said Peter Dooley, a Tucson-based workplace safety consultant with the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.

OSHA officials said last year that the agency\u2019s investigation into the Industrial Commission was prompted by a number of complaints from the public, including one filed in December by Dooley.

Last year, a Star investigation found the Industrial Commission \u2014 which oversees ADOSH and reviews its recommended penalties over $2,500 \u2014 routinely reduces those penalties and reclassifies violations, often without clear justification. The cuts sometimes occur after the employer attends the commission\u2019s public meetings and requests a penalty reduction.

Dooley said scrutiny from the Star over the course of six months in 2016, and the resulting December 2016 Star article on the commission\u2019s practices, helped drive federal OSHA\u2019s investigation.

\u201cThat certainly brought attention to the issue,\u201d he said. \u201cThere\u2019s no question that played a role.\u201d

Industrial Commission chairman Dale Schultz strongly defended the commission\u2019s practices in a February letter to federal OSHA officials, calling out the federal agency for its \u201crecent adversarial approach.\u201d

\u201cFederal OSHA\u2019s actions in pursuing this (complaint) serve only to discourage state innovation by attempting to force Arizona to become a monolithic superimposed federal system,\u201d Schultz wrote in the letter, provided to the Star in response to a public records request.

The Star\u2019s 2016 analysis of Industrial Commission meeting minutes found the 139 penalty proposals the commission reviewed between January 2016 and the end of November 2016 got reduced by a total of more than $186,000. Commissioners voted to reduce ADOSH\u2019s recommended penalties in more than half of the cases they reviewed in that period, the Star analysis showed.

Schultz has said the commissioners are focused on improving workplace safety and collaborating with employers and employees \u2014 not necessarily issuing the highest penalties.

Arizona is one of 26 states with a state-level occupational safety and health enforcement program. The program must be at least as effective as federal OSHA, or it risks being taken over by the feds.

The commission\u2019s round of cuts \u2014 which happen before the penalties are formally issued to employers \u2014 is unique among OSHA programs across the country, experts said.

Under Arizona\u2019s agreement with federal OSHA, which created Arizona\u2019s state-level OSHA plan, the ICA is permitted to review recommended penalties and to ensure any penalty reductions have been correctly applied using pre-defined criteria, such as employer size and safety history. Those criteria are outlined in ADOSH\u2019s field operations manual, or FOM.

The OSHA investigation found commissioners gave additional reductions after those formula-based cuts had already been calculated and applied by ADOSH.

\u201cOSHA finds that the ICA is currently reducing penalties in a seemingly arbitrary manner, without regard for the factors in the FOM,\u201d said a May 4 letter from Zachary Barnett, area director for federal OSHA in Arizona.

The letter obtained by the Star explained OSHA\u2019s findings to complainants whose concerns prompted the investigation. \u201cThis practice reduces the deterrent effect of higher penalties and fails to ensure that employers within the state are treated equally.\u201d

Industrial Commission spokesman Bob Charles said the commission is reviewing federal OSHA\u2019s findings. Declining workplace injury rates in Arizona show the commission\u2019s strategy is effective, Charles said in an email.

\u201cTo paint ADOSH or the commission as being anti-safety would be inaccurate and would overlook the extensive amount of work and outreach the agency, commissioners and ADOSH are doing,\u201d he said.


On Dec. 9, federal OSHA sent a formal Complaint Against State Program Administration, known as a CASPA, to Industrial Commission director James Ashley. The document cites 10 cases in which Industrial Commission members voted to reduce penalties for workplace safety violations, or to downgrade the severity level of violations.

In one example from a commission meeting in December, commissioners voted to reclassify a roofing company\u2019s serious violations as \u201cnon-serious\u201d and to reduce penalties for serious and repeat violations from $18,500 to $4,750 after a discussion with the employer.

In its letter, federal OSHA asked for an explanation of the criteria used to determine those reductions.

In his February response, ICA chairman Schultz did not directly address any of those specific cases. But he gave a detailed defense of the commission\u2019s philosophy, which he said is rooted in the factors included in the state\u2019s field operations manual, and he cited Arizona statute that gives \u201cbroad authority\u201d to the commission to assess all civil penalties.

\u201cWith all due respect,\u201d he wrote, \u201crather than suggesting to the media that the commission should operate as a rubber stamp on ADOSH citations and penalties, Arizona\u2019s state plan would be better served if you would support the long-standing statutory role of the commission.\u201d

The Industrial Commission has 30 days from the issuance of the May 4 letter to provide a written response. Federal OSHA recommended the state propose changes to its state OSHA plan to define the role of the Industrial Commission and explain the criteria it uses to approve and adjust proposed citations. Those changes would have to be submitted to federal OSHA for approval.

The letter also directs the commission to stop reclassifying the violations cited by ADOSH.

Workplace-safety advocates say that high penalties for violations are a crucial deterrent for employers who might look to save money by cutting corners on safety practices and equipment.

Like many states, ADOSH doesn\u2019t have enough inspectors to visit workplaces regularly, meaning hefty penalties for violations is even more necessary to keep workers safe, Dooley said.

Arizona\u2019s ADOSH field workers would need 122 years to inspect each workplace in the state once, according to AFL-CIO\u2019s most recent report on workplace fatalities.

Stiff penalties for violations, such as failure to use fall-prevention equipment, \u201csends a message to every employer in the state about how important it is to be following the regulations,\u201d Dooley said. \u201cIf that company gets their fine reduced, that sends a message that compliance is a lot less important.\u201d

"}, {"id":"25fb1466-fac6-53e0-a025-9e123258a83f","type":"article","starttime":"1494991800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-16T20:30:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495243687","priority":30,"sections":[{"crime":"news/local/crime"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Report: Battery-filled sock found in Pima County jail cell where inmate was slain","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/article_25fb1466-fac6-53e0-a025-9e123258a83f.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/report-battery-filled-sock-found-in-pima-county-jail-cell/article_25fb1466-fac6-53e0-a025-9e123258a83f.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/crime/report-battery-filled-sock-found-in-pima-county-jail-cell/article_25fb1466-fac6-53e0-a025-9e123258a83f.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Cellmate- who is accused in the murder- is also facing charges in the death of his wife.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"76766"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"b38f57e4-8042-5202-95ee-0aeff9741700","description":"King Yates","byline":"Tucson Police Department","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"480","height":"600","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/38/b38f57e4-8042-5202-95ee-0aeff9741700/58fbe4778f8d9.image.jpg?resize=480%2C600"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/38/b38f57e4-8042-5202-95ee-0aeff9741700/58fbe4778f8d9.image.jpg?crop=480%2C270%2C0%2C165&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/38/b38f57e4-8042-5202-95ee-0aeff9741700/58fbe4778f8d9.image.jpg?crop=480%2C270%2C0%2C165&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/38/b38f57e4-8042-5202-95ee-0aeff9741700/58fbe4778f8d9.image.jpg?crop=480%2C270%2C0%2C165"}}}],"revision":12,"commentID":"25fb1466-fac6-53e0-a025-9e123258a83f","body":"

A Sheriff\u2019s Department investigation into an inmate accused of killing his cellmate has revealed that a sock full of batteries was found in the man\u2019s bunk.

Branden Roth, 24, was found dead in his cell at the Pima County jail the morning of April 19, with trauma to his head and face and defensive wounds to his hands, according to Pima County Sheriff Department\u2019s investigative report released Tuesday.

His cellmate, King Yates, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Roth\u2019s death, according to Pima County Superior Court records.

Yates, who was being held on $1 million bond at the time, was already facing second-degree murder charges in the Nov. 20 shooting death of his wife, Cassandra, for which he has an upcoming trial.

Corrections officers found Roth in his cell shortly after 9 a.m., covered in blood, with cuts on his face and head and bruises on his neck. Several guards noted there was a \u201clarge amount of blood throughout the floor,\u201d the report said.

The guards immediately called for medical assistance and ordered Yates, who was lying on the bottom bunk with his back to the door, to leave the cell. Yates ignored the first two commands and on the third, \u201ccalmly got up, walked out of the cell and stepped outside,\u201d the report said.

\u201cYates did not have any kind of expression on his face. He did not appear to be upset or scared,\u201d the report said. Inmates who saw Yates being escorted from the unit said he was smiling.

Detectives noted blood spatter on the floor of the cell, the wall, the desk and all over the bunk, including the sheets. While inspecting Yates\u2019 bunk, detectives found a pair of red socks, one balled up inside of the other with batteries inside. The reports do not mentioned how Roth was killed or if a weapon was used.

Roth\u2019s autopsy results are still pending.

Crime scene technicians found blood on the sink and noted what appeared to be blood on Yates\u2019 clothes.

The detective who told Yates that he was under arrest for the slaying wrote in his report, \u201cYates looked at me and said, \u2018Oh yeah\u2019 ... as if he was agreeing with me.\u201d

Inmates who knew or previously shared a cell with Yates said he had a problem with most of the other inmates, initiated fights and paid others to beat up people he had a problem with, the report said.

One inmate, who said he has known Yates since he was 5 years old, said Yates was \u201cnot right in the head,\u201d the report said. The inmate told detectives that every time he saw Yates go into a room with someone, he would worry for the person\u2019s safety.

None of the inmates said they heard anything the morning of Roth\u2019s death until corrections officers started calling for help, saying the man was dead.

Roth was in jail awaiting sentencing next month after pleading guilty to a felony count of trafficking in stolen property less than two weeks before, according to court records.

He was facing a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for stealing an engine diagnostic tool worth $10,000 from a Brakemax in Oro Valley. Roth pawned the item days later for $200, records show.

The charges against Roth were dismissed days after his death.

The Sheriff\u2019s Department did not immediately respond to request for comment regarding policies for determining cellmate assignments.

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A Tucson couple accused of operating a prostitution ring in Tucson for more than four years were unable to reach a plea agreement during a settlement conference in court Monday.

Clarissa Lopez and Ulises Ruiz were charged with multiple felonies in February 2016 in connection with the \u201cBy Spanish\u201d prostitution ring, that had locations scattered across Tucson until it was shut down during a January 2015 raid.

The couple was indicted on six felony charges each, including illegal control of an enterprise, keeping a house of prostitution, receiving the earnings of a prostitute and money laundering.

Lopez was also charged with an additional two felony counts of pandering, for recruiting women to lead a life of prostitution, court records show.

At the settlement conference in Pima County Superior Court, attorneys for Lopez and Ruiz argued that their clients should be allowed to plead guilty to one undesignated offense each, as opposed to the multiple felony counts they\u2019re facing.

An undesignated offense is treated as a felony, but the court can later enter a ruling to designate it as a misdemeanor, according to Arizona law.

A class six felony is the lowest level one can be charged with. The charges Ruiz and Lopez are facing are all class three or class five felonies.

Pima County Prosecutor Bruce Chalk said he was not interested in an undesignated offense plea and was ready to proceed to trial.

Lopez\u2019s attorney, Cornelia Honchar, argued that the Tucson Police Department\u2019s investigation was \u201csloppy\u201d and a \u201ccover your a--\u201d operation once law enforcement officers were found to have been involved.

Honchar also reiterated that none of the men identified as customers were charged with any crimes and argued that the charges against her client were excessive, as it\u2019s a misdemeanor for men to pay for sex.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Howard Fell asked why Lopez and Ruiz should be allowed to plead to the open-ended offenses, to which Honchar replied that they deserve a fresh start.

Assistant Public Defender Sean Bruner, who is representing Ruiz, said there was no evidence that his client did anything to merit the charges levied against him.

He said there are no financial records to indicate Ruiz was involved in money laundering, saying that the county Attorney\u2019s Office was \u201ctrying to pull him in because he\u2019s the boyfriend.\u201d

Bruner argued that Ruiz has no criminal history, despite the fact that he was convicted of disorderly conduct in November in connection with assaulting a neighbor who was taking pictures of the alleged brothel.

Ruiz\u2019s only connection to \u201cBy Spanish\u201d was that he answered the phone \u201conce or twice,\u201d Bruner said.

However, from 2011 to 2015, while \u201cBy Spanish\u201d was allegedly operating, Ruiz and Lopez had no documented source of income but were able to purchase a home, two cars and two businesses \u2014 a pet store and a hair salon, Chalk said.

The county Attorney\u2019s Office has receipts for over $200,000 in purchases and a \u201chuge amount\u201d of that cash can be directly attributed to Ruiz, Chalk told the court.

Lopez and Ruiz, who were seated in the court gallery, remained silent throughout the proceedings, giving no indication whether they\u2019d be willing to plead guilty to a felony charge.

The couple are due back in court May 17 for a status conference, at which time they can submit a change of plea if they\u2019re ready, Fell said.

"}, {"id":"857e22d6-5fb1-5de5-bd77-a5f5a9b62fd8","type":"article","starttime":"1494122400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-06T19:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1494283080","priority":40,"sections":[{"tucson":"business/tucson"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Three programs at local for-profit schools flunk gainful employment standards","url":"http://tucson.com/business/tucson/article_857e22d6-5fb1-5de5-bd77-a5f5a9b62fd8.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/business/tucson/three-programs-at-local-for-profit-schools-flunk-gainful-employment/article_857e22d6-5fb1-5de5-bd77-a5f5a9b62fd8.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/business/tucson/three-programs-at-local-for-profit-schools-flunk-gainful-employment/article_857e22d6-5fb1-5de5-bd77-a5f5a9b62fd8.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Carol Ann Alaimo\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"New rules aim to protect students, taxpayers","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["tucson","for-profit schools","education","business"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"76503"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"3e3c6f79-ced8-5a2d-87ef-07da90500959","description":"A local cosmetology program failed the new standards from the federal government.","byline":"Arizona daily star 2007","hireswidth":1196,"hiresheight":1732,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/e3/3e3c6f79-ced8-5a2d-87ef-07da90500959/590dee5518ec5.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"525","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/e3/3e3c6f79-ced8-5a2d-87ef-07da90500959/590dee5517f9b.image.jpg?resize=525%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"145","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/e3/3e3c6f79-ced8-5a2d-87ef-07da90500959/590dee5517f9b.image.jpg?resize=100%2C145"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"434","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/e3/3e3c6f79-ced8-5a2d-87ef-07da90500959/590dee5517f9b.image.jpg?resize=300%2C434"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1483","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/e3/3e3c6f79-ced8-5a2d-87ef-07da90500959/590dee5517f9b.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1483"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"857e22d6-5fb1-5de5-bd77-a5f5a9b62fd8","body":"

Two bachelor\u2019s degree programs at a for-profit Tucson university have received failing grades from the federal government because graduates didn\u2019t earn enough to repay their student loans without hardship.

The graphic design and interior design programs at Southwest University of Visual Arts, 2525 N. Country Club Road, did not meet the government\u2019s new \u201cgainful employment\u201d standards, federal data show.

The rules, which took effect Jan. 1, take aim at career training that leaves graduates with high debt levels compared to their earning power.

\u201cThe regulations are intended to protect students and taxpayers by providing warnings about programs with relatively high loan debt compared to the earnings their students could hope to achieve after graduating,\u201d lawyers for the U.S. Education Department said in a recent court filing.

For a program to pass muster, the student loan payments of a typical graduate cannot exceed 8 percent of total earnings or 20 percent of discretionary income.

At Southwest \u2014 which charges $23,000 a year for tuition and fees \u2014 a graphic design graduate had median annual earnings of $29,393 after four years of schooling, while interior design graduates had median earnings of $32,046, the data show.

About 140 students in various programs attended Southwest last school year, and nearly 60 percent took out federal student loans, government data show.

Southwest officials could not be reached for comment. The Arizona Daily Star left a phone message with a receptionist Thursday but no one responded by Friday.

A cosmetology program at privately-owned Arizona Academy of Beauty, 5631 E. Speedway, also failed the new standards.

The academy charges $14,500 for its 54-week cosmetology program, and according to federal data, its graduates earn $8,977 a year. The school had a total of 33 students in all programs last school year, the data show.

Carey White, owner of the beauty school, said the annual earnings figure for graduates is artificially low because it only counts income reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

Cosmetologists typically derive much of their income from tips, which they often don\u2019t report for tax purposes, she said.

The Scottsdale-based American Association of Cosmetology Schools made the same argument in a February lawsuit against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that seeks to block the new rules.

Education Department lawyers are fighting back in court \u2014 to the surprise of some higher education experts who expected the Trump administration to side with the for-profit education industry on the issue.

\u201cThe public interest is served by allowing the (education) department to go forward with implementing the (gainful employment) regulations,\u201d attorneys representing DeVos said in a court filing.

Programs that repeatedly fail the new standards would become ineligible for federal student aid.

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A commonly used exploding target was involved in setting off the 46,000-acre Sawmill Fire on state trust land south of Tucson, the Star has confirmed.

The off-duty Border Patrol agent whose recreational shooting sparked the fire apparently was shooting at an exploding target, when target shooting isn\u2019t allowed on state lands, a law enforcement source confirmed late this week. In general, discharge of firearms is only allowed \u201cpursuant to lawful and licensed hunting,\u201d a State Land Department website says.

Land Department officials didn\u2019t respond to several requests from the Star on whether exploding targets, which are typically detonated by bullets, are specifically banned on their lands. They are banned on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands in Arizona and other Western states. But the Land Department\u2019s websites say nothing specific about exploding targets.

The Sawmill blaze, which has cost at least $5 million to fight, spread quickly because of high winds after starting in late morning April 23 on state-owned Santa Rita Ranch, east of Madera Canyon near the Santa Rita Mountains.

At the time, winds were gusting up to 40 miles an hour and the National Weather Service had issued a fire watch, said Chuck Wunder, chief of the Green Valley Fire Department, first to respond to the blaze. A fire watch is a red flag, warning that \u201cconditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and that there is potential for rapid spread,\u201d said Wunder.

His department received a fire call at 10:58 a.m. When the department\u2019s first firefighting unit arrived at 11:11 a.m., the fire was heading north and east and already covered 300 acres, said Wunder. His family has the grazing permit for the Santa Rita Ranch but he was working, away from his house there, when the fire began, Wunder said.

Before the fire was largely contained a week later, it had jumped over the Santa Ritas and crossed Arizona 83 to attack the historic Empire Ranch and the surrounding 42,000-acre Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Although the fire didn\u2019t damage any buildings, it prompted authorities to put hundreds of neighboring homeowners on pre-evacuation notice. It put scores of homes, ranches and outbuildings, communications facilities and power lines at risk for several days and temporarily closed a section of Arizona 83.

The Forest Service is conducting an investigation of the blaze. It and other agencies have been reluctant to discuss how it started during the probe. The Forest Service has refused a Freedom of Information Act request to turn over records on the blaze to the Star. The Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department has said its records must first go through a legal review before being released. The State Land Department has not formally responded to the newspaper\u2019s records request.

The Forest Service has also said little about the origin of a much smaller April 4 brush fire that burned 50 acres on Mount Lemmon and briefly closed a seven-mile stretch of the Mount Lemmon Highway. It has said only that it believes the fire was related to recreational shooting, citing witness reports and activity associated with where the fire started. The Forest Service said it is looking for a \u201cperson of interest\u201d who may have started the fire. In contrast, the off-duty Border Patrol officer linked to the Sawmill Fire reported that blaze to authorities, the Border Patrol has said.

The exploding target that triggered the Sawmill Fire contained Tannerite, a compound of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, a law enforcement source told the Star. Tannerite is known as a binary explosive, in which its two substances are inert by themselves but can explode when mixed. Made by a company in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, it is commonly employed across the country for target practice and other purposes.

\u201cWhen shot with a high-power rifle it produces a water vapor and a thunderous boom,\u201d says the website of Tannerite Sports LLC, the Pleasant Hill, Oregon-based company that manufacturers Tannerite.

When the two substances contained in Tannerite are kept separately, they are inert and their use isn\u2019t regulated. But when they\u2019re mixed, the final product is regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. People can\u2019t transport the mixed product without getting the proper permits or licenses from ATF.

The link between exploding target shooting and fire has prompted widespread concern across the West. Forest Service officials have blamed the use of exploding targets on more than a dozen wildfires across the West in recent years, according to press reports.

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The Sheriff\u2019s Department former chief deputy was sentenced to probation in federal court Friday, wrapping up an FBI investigation into money laundering and theft that began more than a year ago.

Christopher Radtke, who had served a second-in-command to the Pima County sheriff, pleaded guilty in February to three misdemeanor counts of theft of federal funds, after he was indicted in September on felony counts of conspiracy to launder money and theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. His plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Markovich.

Radtke was sentenced to one year of probation for each charge, to be served concurrently. He also was fined $3,000 and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service in the next year. His plea agreement also contained a stipulation that Radtke not seek work in law enforcement or with Pima County.

The charges stemmed from a 2015 Star investigation about cafes located in sheriff\u2019s headquarters and the Pima County jail, operated by Radtke\u2019s niece, rent-free and without a required county contract.

Through public records requests, the Star learned the department had spent nearly $30,000 of money on the two cafes, which officials said came from RICO money but later said came from the department\u2019s general fund.

After the news story ran, the FBI was contacted by a number of sheriff\u2019s department employees and began an investigation into the department\u2019s use of federal money. The months-long investigation found that Radtke embezzled roughly $500,000 in money seized under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO.

Although no one else was charged as a result of the case, the investigation revealed that several members of the department were involved in practices to divert RICO money intended for the sheriff\u2019s auxiliary volunteers fund, which was intended for crime fighting and prevention purposes, U.S. Attorney David Backman of the District of Utah said in court.

\u201cWe identified a person in the (department\u2019s) upper leadership who was probably more culpable than Mr. Radtke, but he\u2019s no longer with us,\u201d Backman said, referring to the department\u2019s former chief of staff, Bradley Gagnepain, who committed suicide last June.

The case started as a result of a \u201cseries of concerns\u201d at the Sheriff\u2019s Department, and the U.S. Attorney Office\u2019s goal in prosecuting was to clean up the corruption in the department, Backman said.

\u201cIn this case, it\u2019s been a huge success,\u201d he said, adding that their first concern after charges were levied against Radtke was removing him from the Sheriff\u2019s Department. \u201cHis resignation was a significant moment, because it took care of the problem.\u201d

The challenge in the U.S. attorney\u2019s case became if Radtke should be held to federal felony charges or if the office should proceed with a plea deal.

\u201cI know that the plea is perceived by some as too lenient,\u201d Backman said. \u201cBut under all the facts, this is appropriate.\u201d

Radtke\u2019s attorney, Sean Chapman, said in court that it\u2019s clear from the letters submitted to Markovich that Ratdke is a well-respected member of the community who served it well for decades.

\u201cUnfortunately, he made a mistake,\u201d Chapman said, adding that the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office knew the RICO money was being used for other department purposes.

The reason for the long-running practice of diverting funds was so that the department didn\u2019t have to go through the bureaucracy of requesting the money from the department\u2019s general fund, Chapman said.

\u201cIt\u2019s important to know that money wasn\u2019t stolen; it was used for department purposes,\u201d Chapman said.

In February, Radtke admitted that while the practice had been going on for 18 years, he was involved only during the last six years.

\u201cEventually he knew it was wrong,\u201d Chapman said. \u201cThis will always be a mark on his reputation.\u201d

When asked if he wanted to address the judge, Radtke declined.

People seated in the court\u2019s gallery, many of them Sheriff\u2019s Department employees, groaned in disappointment as Markovich said he was accepting the plea, despite the fact that he added the required community service, which was not a condition of the proposed agreement.

\u201cThis has been a difficult decision, being that the case started with seven felonies,\u201d Markovich said, calling the case an indictment against the entire Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department for the last 18 years.

\u201cThe biggest irony in this case is the reason it ended up being filed is a lack of courage,\u201d Markovich said. \u201cHe didn\u2019t have the courage to end this practice.\u201d

The irony existed in that no one ever doubted Radtke\u2019s courage while he wore a badge for nearly 30 years, Markovich said.

After the courtroom cleared, Sgt. Kevin Kubitskey, president of the Pima County Deputy Sheriff Association, confronted Backman in the hall, saying this wasn\u2019t justice and he should be ashamed with how the case was prosecuted.

Backman reiterated the goal was to end the corruption in the department and that had been achieved.

Because Backman doesn\u2019t personally know all the players involved or have knowledge of all the players involved, he doesn\u2019t have the right to make that claim, Kubitskey said.

\u201cI don\u2019t think he was well-informed or well-educated in regards to Christopher Radtke and what actually happened over the last 30 years of his career,\u201d Kubitskey said later. \u201cI personally know others that were involved that are still employed. To have him say he\u2019s rid the Sheriff\u2019s Department of that is way off base.\u201d

It was disappointing that the seven felonies resulted in a misdemeanor conviction, in part because of what himself and the other whistleblowers who spoke to the FBI went through under Radtke\u2019s reign, Kubitskey said.

\u201cTo walk away from a potential (sentence of) 80 years in prison and $1.5 million in restitution, the true victim here is the community,\u201d he said. \u201cWhat\u2019s the community going to think now? That law enforcement officials at that level can get away with stealing their money? It doesn\u2019t make any sense.\u201d

It\u2019s going to take time and effort to eliminate all the corruption in the department, but new Sheriff Mark Napier is making the right steps toward making the department whole again, Kubitskey said.

\u201cYou don\u2019t just get rid of one person over 18 years and expect that it all gets cleaned up. It\u2019s not logical to think that way,\u201d he said.

Although the federal investigation is closed, Kubitskey said there\u2019s always hope Napier could find ways to address the situation at the state level.

\u201cI understand they wanted more out of this case, but I think this case has been highly successful,\u201d Backman said in a later interview. \u201cBefore we filed this case, there was corruption at the Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department that\u2019s no longer there.\u201d

Addressing Chapman\u2019s claim that the County Attorney\u2019s Office was aware of the department\u2019s misuse of funds, Backman said that although they hadn\u2019t officially investigated the office, they had no evidence that the County Attorney\u2019s Office was complicit.

\u201cThey did have to approve these (funding requests,) but the problem was that the paperwork being submitted to the County Attorney\u2019s Office was fraudulent,\u201d Backman said.

Recently, the County Attorney\u2019s Office has changed the process for how RICO funds are requested, making it more stringent.

"}, {"id":"148e8ede-2b8b-11e7-8687-2ba6b6af6978","type":"article","starttime":"1493661600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-05-01T11:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1495318775","priority":30,"sections":[{"access-denied":"access-denied"},{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Tucson Police Department delays records of excessive force complaints","url":"http://tucson.com/access-denied/article_148e8ede-2b8b-11e7-8687-2ba6b6af6978.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/access-denied/tucson-police-department-delays-records-of-excessive-force-complaints/article_148e8ede-2b8b-11e7-8687-2ba6b6af6978.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/access-denied/tucson-police-department-delays-records-of-excessive-force-complaints/article_148e8ede-2b8b-11e7-8687-2ba6b6af6978.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Records revealed that Tucson police are rarely suspended for excessive force complaints.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["tucson police department","excessive force","law enforcement","public records","foia"],"internalKeywords":["#watchdog","#latest"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"8cf4dca8-2b9e-11e7-8dfd-cfc75322f05a","description":"Officers' names were left off of records related to excessive force complaints filed against Tucson police.","byline":"Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1432,"hiresheight":1074,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/cf/8cf4dca8-2b9e-11e7-8dfd-cfc75322f05a/59027a7154126.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1013","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/cf/8cf4dca8-2b9e-11e7-8dfd-cfc75322f05a/59027a7152954.image.jpg?resize=1013%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"75","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/cf/8cf4dca8-2b9e-11e7-8dfd-cfc75322f05a/59027a7152954.image.jpg?resize=100%2C75"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"225","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/cf/8cf4dca8-2b9e-11e7-8dfd-cfc75322f05a/59027a7152954.image.jpg?resize=300%2C225"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"768","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/cf/8cf4dca8-2b9e-11e7-8dfd-cfc75322f05a/59027a7152954.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C768"}}}],"revision":18,"commentID":"148e8ede-2b8b-11e7-8687-2ba6b6af6978","body":"

The Tucson Police Department delayed records related to excessive force complaints for more than seven months, and left off the names of the officers when the list was finally released.

On July 8, the Star requested a list of excessive force complaints investigated between Jan. 1, 2010, and July 8, 2016, broken down by year and how many complaints each year were sustained and how many dismissed.

The records revealed that Tucson police officers are rarely suspended for excessive force complaints, with only five officers being suspended in the requested time period.

When the Star received the report in late February, the document included the case number, incident date, type of investigation, status, report number, allegation, violation, finding and action taken. The fields for the employees' names and ID were included on the document heading, but all of columns were left blank.

On March 10, the Star requested the names of the officers associated with the five suspensions. Two weeks later, the department still hadn't provided the names.

The Star contacted TPD's Chief of Staff, and the names and incident summary for each officer was released within days.

Check out the full story here.

"}, {"id":"bf1bb9f5-44ba-56b0-b0c7-633db0d1ded1","type":"article","starttime":"1493621100","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-30T23:45:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1494283081","priority":30,"sections":[{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"},{"crime":"news/local/crime"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Audit of misused sheriff's fund indicated no problems","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/article_bf1bb9f5-44ba-56b0-b0c7-633db0d1ded1.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/audit-of-misused-sheriff-s-fund-indicated-no-problems/article_bf1bb9f5-44ba-56b0-b0c7-633db0d1ded1.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/audit-of-misused-sheriff-s-fund-indicated-no-problems/article_bf1bb9f5-44ba-56b0-b0c7-633db0d1ded1.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Federal probe found money was being illegally taken from the fund by employees.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"75796"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"64804464-6135-57ae-8edd-b9714a5dc752","description":"Christopher Radtke","byline":"Pima County Sheriff's Dept.","hireswidth":1000,"hiresheight":1416,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/48/64804464-6135-57ae-8edd-b9714a5dc752/580147827357e.hires.jpg","presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"537","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/48/64804464-6135-57ae-8edd-b9714a5dc752/580144859c3cb.image.jpg?resize=537%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/48/64804464-6135-57ae-8edd-b9714a5dc752/580144859c3cb.image.jpg?crop=1000%2C562%2C0%2C183&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/48/64804464-6135-57ae-8edd-b9714a5dc752/580144859c3cb.image.jpg?crop=1000%2C562%2C0%2C183&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"575","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/48/64804464-6135-57ae-8edd-b9714a5dc752/580144859c3cb.image.jpg?crop=1000%2C562%2C0%2C183"}}}],"revision":17,"commentID":"bf1bb9f5-44ba-56b0-b0c7-633db0d1ded1","body":"

A 2013 audit of a Sheriff\u2019s Department special fund determined the money was being spent properly, but a federal investigation later revealed that funds had been illegally taken from the account by employees for nearly two decades.

On Feb. 10, the Pima County Sheriff\u2019s Department\u2019s former second-in-command, Christopher Radtke, pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor theft of government property, in connection with the removal of funds from the Sheriff\u2019s Auxiliary Volunteers of Pima County account, which was meant to be used for crime fighting or prevention purposes.

Sheriff\u2019s Auxiliary Volunteers support residents of unincorporated Pima County by performing \u201cnumerous functions vital to the overall mission of the Sheriff\u2019s Department,\u201d according to funding requests submitted to the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office.

Radtke was initially charged with eight felonies in connection with an FBI investigation into the department\u2019s use of federal funds seized under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, otherwise known as RICO. The investigation revealed Radtke and others illegally took roughly $500,000 from the account between 2011 and 2016, although no one else has faced charges.

In Radtke\u2019s statement to the court, he said the Sheriff\u2019s Department staff had been circumventing the restrictions for use of RICO funds for 18 years. Employees collaborated to make it appear as if the department was donating money to the SAV fund, when in fact they were being used by the Sheriff\u2019s Department, according to the U.S. Attorney\u2019s Office.

Radtke is scheduled for sentencing in federal court Friday, May 5.

The financial activity covered under the audit and in the FBI investigation took place under former sheriffs Clarence Dupnik, who held office from 1987 to 2015, and Chris Nanos, who was interim sheriff from 2015 to 2016.

\u201cThis misconduct occurred before I took office and we\u2019re very diligent in following the rules,\u201d said Sheriff Mark Napier. \u201cI welcome the fact that Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall has updated the processes around RICO expenditures to ensure the strictest accountability.\u201d

In response to Radtke\u2019s claims, the Star made a public-records request for all deposits into and expenditures made from the auxiliary volunteers fund during the 18 years he specified. A department representative said because the fund was a nonprofit organization, the department didn\u2019t have access to those records.

The Star submitted a second records request for documents related to RICO funds provided from the Sheriff\u2019s Department into the auxiliary fund, and received the 2013 audit in response, which includes an overview of expenditures from Jan. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2013.

The audit also included a memo from the department\u2019s financial administrator, Ron Jee, saying the staff managing the SAV\u2019s special funds were \u201cconscientious and attentive.\u201d

The special funds reviewed under the audit include building maintenance, community services, special awards, regional memorial and juvenile services. The SAVs also have a general operations fund that is commingled with the special funds in the same checking and savings account, the memo said.

The purpose of the audit was \u201cto review and analyze\u201d the expenditures of the fund \u201cfor reasonableness, accuracy and propriety,\u201d Jee wrote in the memo.

\u201cSheriff\u2019s command staff has oversight and authority to expend the funds\u2019 resources,\u201d the memo said.

From Jan. 1, 2010, through Sept. 12, 2013, the department spent $230,000 from the SAV account, the majority of which was spent from the special awards fund, which is used for the Sheriff\u2019s Department\u2019s annual award ceremony and recognition events.

The audit concluded that overall, the expenses incurred were legitimate and in line with the guidelines for how to spend the money.

\u201cSince RICO revenue was the primary source of funding, the department must continue to be diligent and evaluate whether its use is consistent with applicable guidelines and policies,\u201d Jee wrote.

The audit detailed 24 significant expenses from the SAV account for the time period, but all transactions weren\u2019t available because of the auxiliary volunteers nonprofit status.

In 2007, the Sheriffs Auxiliary Volunteers of Tucson registered as a nonprofit, more than 20 years after the corporation was formed, according to GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on nonprofits.

A search of the corporation\u2019s 990 forms from 2008 to 2015, which provide financial information about nonprofit organizations\u2019 revenue and total expenses, showed the SAV fund as ending the year with a negative balance four of those eight years. The deficit amounts ranged for $4,000 to $16,000, according to the documents.

In order to use RICO funds, the Sheriff\u2019s Department has to request the money from the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office, specifying which area of the department the money will be used.

From June 2011 to July 2013, the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office approved a total of $304,500 in transfers to the Sheriff\u2019s Department meant to be deposited into the SAV account.

The Sheriff\u2019s Department requested $177,200 in RICO money from the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office for use by the SAV account in 2015.

The document shows that in 2015, $75,024 from the SAV account was spent on crime prevention activities \u2014 $100,000 less than the amount of RICO money transferred into the fund, which is only supposed to be used for crime prevention.

Even with the unused amount from the year before, in January 2016, the Sheriff\u2019s Department transferred another $42,200 of RICO money into the volunteers fund. It\u2019s unclear how much of that money was spent on crime fighting, as 2016 tax returns haven\u2019t yet been made public.

The FBI investigation into the Sheriff Department\u2019s use of federal funding started in response to a 2015 article by the Star about Radtke\u2019s niece operating cafes at headquarters and the jail, rent-free and without a contract.

A records request revealed that more than $30,000 was spent on equipment and renovations for the two spaces. Department officials initially said they used RICO funds for those expenses, but later said they were paid for out of the general fund.

Radtke\u2019s indictment includes several items that were purchased for the cafe, including a $2,000 custom-designed menu board.

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Citing Arizona\u2019s dismal rates of dental problems in children and adults, advocates are pushing for a type of provider called a dental therapist to be allowed here.

Dental therapists are \u201cmid-level providers,\u201d similar to the role that physician assistants and nurse practitioners play in the medical world. They are allowed in Minnesota, Maine and Vermont, on tribal land in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, and in some other countries including Australia and New Zealand.

An attempt to add dental therapists as licensed professionals in Arizona failed to pass muster with a legislative subcommittee in December, but advocates say they will try again. Paperwork required for the Arizona Legislature to consider legalizing dental therapists as providers is due Sept. 1.

\u201cThe momentum behind dental therapy is so strong, not just in Arizona, that it\u2019s no longer a question of whether dental therapists will be licensed here or in other states,\u201d said Kristen Mizzi Angelone, a dental policy officer with the Pew Charitable Trusts, which is working with proponents in the Dental Care for AZ coalition. \u201cIt\u2019s really just a matter of when.\u201d

Proponents of dental therapists in Arizona, which include the conservative leaning Goldwater Institute, the Arizona Dental Hygienists Association and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, argue that they could provide a limited scope of dental procedures such as fillings, extractions and crowns at a lower cost.

But they\u2019ve run into an obstacle in organized dentistry, which says adding a new category of health provider is the wrong strategy. The American Dental Association says there is a critical need to connect underserved people seeking care with dentists. The group says that can be achieved through increased awareness, outreach and improved funding for dental services under Medicaid.

There are other ways, the dentists say, to improve oral health in Arizona, such as adding more teledentistry, removing administrative barriers within the managed care system for Medicaid, and attracting more dentists to rural areas.

As for the dental therapists push, \u201cThe problem that we have with the advocates for this model is that it operates from the wrong diagnosis,\u201d said Kevin Earle, executive director of the Arizona Dental Association.

\u201cIt presumes that the problem we have here in Arizona is due to a workforce problem, or a workforce shortage. We strongly dispute that premise.\u201d

Goldwater finds
services lacking

Both sides of the dental therapist debate agree that Arizona could do much better when it comes to oral health.

Annual dental charity events in Phoenix and Tucson show the need.

Tucson\u2019s HopeFest event, which offers free medical and other services to populations in need, every year issues \u201cno camping\u201d rules to the crowds of people who want one of the limited free dental care spots. Attendees, some with painful infections, often take long crosstown bus trips to get to HopeFest and arrive the night before it starts, so desperate to get dental care that they will sleep outside on a sidewalk and wait for hours in line.

A report released this month by the Goldwater Institute and the Texas Public Policy Foundation found that of Arizona\u2019s 7 million residents, 2.4 million as of Jan. 1 lived in areas designated as dental-health-professional shortage areas, which means one or fewer dentists per 5,000 people.

\u201cToo often, oral health services in Arizona are unattainable, unaffordable, or delayed,\u201d says the report, titled \u201cThe Reform That Can Increase Dental Access And Affordability in Arizona.\u201d

More than half of Arizona kindergarten children \u2014 52 percent \u2014 have a history of tooth decay, which is higher than the national average of 36 percent for 5-year-old children, a 2015 Arizona Department of Health Services report found.

But the problem is much worse for American Indian children.

A 2014 study by University of Colorado researchers found that 69 percent of Navajo preschool children in 52 Head Start classrooms had untreated tooth decay \u2014 more than three times the rate for 2- to 4-year-old children in other race and ethnic groups.

Goldwater, citing research by Arizona\u2019s First Things First, says 75 percent of American Indian third-graders in Arizona have a history of tooth decay.

Left untreated, cavities can cause pain and problems speaking, eating, learning and worse. People without dental care are vulnerable to heart and kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even premature death.

The solution, the Goldwater authors say, is dental therapists. One need not be an oral surgeon to perform the many procedures and services that licensed dentists perform, they note. On the flip side, they say, one need not be a dentist to perform a limited scope of common restorative and preventative procedures and services.

A dental therapy career is also a way for people to get into the profession without taking on the debt level of going to dental school, said report author Naomi Lopez Bauman, the Goldwater Institute\u2019s director of health-care policy.

\u201cThere are Indian reservations that are desperate to hire providers. We believe there is a very, very big market in Arizona right now for this type of medical provider.\u201d

Dentists respond

To Earle of the Arizona Dental Association, one key to improving oral health in Arizona is ensuring more people have dental insurance through Medicaid, a government insurance program for low-income people. Arizona\u2019s Medicaid program does not offer any dental coverage to nondisabled adults, and an effort to extend coverage to pregnant women failed in this legislative session.

While children on Medicaid in Arizona have comprehensive dental coverage, Earle says research shows about half don\u2019t make use of it.

\u201cWe should be looking at what are the real problems, and workforce is not a problem,\u201d he said. \u201cWe have had our dental workforce grow by 7 percent over the last 10 years. We have two dental schools here in Arizona and we are graduating over 200 dentists from our two dental schools here.\u201d

Arizona\u2019s Medicaid program is the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). A proposal to add an emergency dental benefit of $1,000 per year for nondisabled adults on AHCCCS could be added during the state\u2019s ongoing budget process this year. That could help somewhat, though oral health advocates say preventive care is the optimal coverage.

Earle also says that dental therapy in the U.S. is not well-established.

\u201cEssentially it is an experiment on a state-by-state basis,\u201d he said. \u201cThere\u2019s no consistency on the training, the scope of practice.\u201d

He also questions whether dental therapists would cost consumers less than dentists.

\u201cDental practices are very capital intensive. It\u2019s very equipment oriented. The overhead is almost 70 percent of the cost of a procedure,\u201d Earle said. \u201cWe dispute the fact that they say by using a dental therapist you can lower the cost of care. There\u2019s no strong evidence to support that.\u201d

Dentist shortage

The rate of practicing dentists in Arizona is 53.89 per 100,000 population \u2014 below the national average of 60.79, the American Dental Association\u2019s 2016 data shows.

And that rate, while it has improved in the last 15 years, doesn\u2019t reflect the way the dentists are clustered, with big gaps in some areas, including Santa Cruz, Pinal, Greenlee and Yuma counties.

\u201cIt is particularly acute in rural and low-income areas,\u201d Goldwater\u2019s Lopez Bauman said. \u201cArizona is definitely faring worse than most of our neighboring states. It\u2019s one thing to wait two months for an appointment, but if there is no provider in your area, you may have to either wait longer or rely on emergency rooms for your care.\u201d

Waits to see a dentist on the Tohono O\u2019odham Reservation are about three months, and the only available dentists are in the tribal capital of Sells, said Chester Antone, a tribal council member who represents the Pisinemo district. Drives to see a dentist from his district are 55 miles each way, he said.

\u201cWe really need to get a handle on the oral health disparities in Arizona,\u201d said Antone, who is supportive of dental therapists. \u201cIt\u2019s the remoteness we have a lot of problems with.\u201d

Antone said tribal members would like to see a career route for dental therapy offered through Tohono O\u2019odham Community College.

Earle of the Arizona Dental Association acknowledges that a provider need exists in some rural areas. But there are solutions, such as improving funding for loan forgiveness programs, he said.

\u201cThe question we need to think about in terms of public policy is what can we do as a state to attract providers into areas where there may be more of an access problem,\u201d Earle said.

\u201cDentists are coming out $262,000 on average in debt. If there is an opportunity to reduce that debt by serving in an underserved area we should be looking at initiatives that try to address that.\u201d

Earle also suggests more robust use of teledentistry and technology to reach patients, and sending dental hygienists and assistants to remote areas like the Tohono O\u2019odham reservation for initial patient assessments.


Affordable care is a problem, too. Original Medicare does not cover dental care, leaving many senior citizens unable to afford to go to the dentist. Cost hinders many freelance and self-employed workers from paying for dental insurance. And dental insurance can still result in big dental bills, depending on the plan.

Lopez Bauman and report co-author John Davidson of the Texas Public Policy Foundation noted the number of Arizonans who seek dental care in Mexico. Care across the border can be good, but it\u2019s less consistent, less regulated, and not governed by Arizona standards, Lopez Bauman said.

\u201cA lot of individuals go to Mexico for their dental care because they don\u2019t have accessible and affordable dental care on this side of the border,\u201d Lopez Bauman said. \u201cIf someone is truly concerned with patient safety and the quality of dental care they are getting, they really should be making this a more hospitable environment in Arizona for mid-level providers.\u201d

The Commission on Dental Accreditation in 2015 adopted a set of educational standards for dental therapists, which advocates cite as a nod toward the future of the profession.

Dental health aide therapists (DHATs) were introduced to Alaska Native communities in 2004, a move that survived a court challenge from dental groups. Now, \u201cAlaskan dental health aide therapists drill and fill teeth in villages that have gone without routine dental care for generations,\u201d journalist Mary Otto writes in her 2016 book, \u201cTeeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.\u201d

Minnesota began allowing dental therapists in 2009. A 2014 report from the Minnesota Health Department found that dental therapists may reduce emergency room use; that clinics with dental therapists reported higher patient satisfaction; and that dental therapists made it possible for clinics to decrease travel time and wait times for some patients.

Arizona application

In order for unregulated health professions to request regulation or expansion in scope of practice, they must apply to the Arizona Legislature.

In December, a legislative subcommittee rejected the application submitted by the Dental Care for AZ coalition, which proposed licensing dental therapists to perform about 80 procedures, versus the 434 that dentists are allowed to perform. Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix cast the only \u201cyes\u201d vote.

\u201cThe advocates simply did not make their case very well,\u201d said Sen. David Bradley, a Tucson Democrat who voted against the application. \u201cThe advocates failed to show that access was a serious issue in Arizona as a function of the number of providers available. Secondly, they really did not address the issue of safety adequately.\u201d

If the advocates make a better case, they will eventually get formal hearings in the regular legislative session, Bradley predicted.

"}, {"id":"74d12231-475d-5983-a464-fe2dc3a6cbce","type":"article","starttime":"1493492400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-29T12:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1494283082","priority":40,"sections":[{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Tucson police officers rarely disciplined for using excessive force","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/article_74d12231-475d-5983-a464-fe2dc3a6cbce.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/tucson-police-officers-rarely-disciplined-for-using-excessive-force/article_74d12231-475d-5983-a464-fe2dc3a6cbce.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/tucson-police-officers-rarely-disciplined-for-using-excessive-force/article_74d12231-475d-5983-a464-fe2dc3a6cbce.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Five officers were suspended between 2010 and 2016.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"73911"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"0cd063e3-aafb-593c-bf3c-644efddcc0be","description":"Students clashed against Tucson Police officers after on University Avenue on March 29, 2014 in Tucson, Ariz. after the Wildcat loss to Wisconsin. Projectiles were thrown at police from the crowd on the street.","byline":"Carlos Herrera / Arizona Daily Star 2014","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"425","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/cd/0cd063e3-aafb-593c-bf3c-644efddcc0be/59050bf601f52.image.jpg?resize=620%2C425"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"69","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/cd/0cd063e3-aafb-593c-bf3c-644efddcc0be/59050bf601f52.image.jpg?resize=100%2C69"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"206","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/cd/0cd063e3-aafb-593c-bf3c-644efddcc0be/59050bf601f52.image.jpg?resize=300%2C206"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"702","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/cd/0cd063e3-aafb-593c-bf3c-644efddcc0be/59050bf601f52.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":17,"commentID":"74d12231-475d-5983-a464-fe2dc3a6cbce","body":"

Only a small percentage of excessive-force complaints against Tucson police officers in a five-year period were sustained, putting the department within the national average, a review of records show.

From Jan. 1, 2010, through July 8, 2016, the Tucson Police Department received 186 complaints from the public regarding excessive use of force, according to records obtained by the Star.

Of those, seven were found to be valid, resulting in two punishments that involved counseling or corrective action and five officer suspensions.

The remaining 179 complaints were found to have been unsubstantiated, with the department\u2019s Office of Professional Standards saying the officers didn\u2019t violate police policy.

The number of complaints filed each year varied greatly, ranging from 19 to 42, according to the records.

The complaints were for uses of force including striking, use of firearms, use of a baton, Taser, pepper spray and handcuffing.

While only a small amount of the complaints were substantiated, one expert says that\u2019s typical.

\u201cThis is pretty normal for the country,\u201d said Robert Taylor, a professor in the University of Texas at Dallas\u2019 criminology program. \u201cI\u2019ve looked at several police departments and found that a remarkably small amount of excessive-force complaints are sustained.\u201d

During the requested time period, the Tucson Police Department sustained 3.8 percent of complaints, which is on average with the 2 percent to 5 percent seen across the country, Taylor said.

Because a lot of complaints are made by witnesses who are seeing the event from a distance, the problem is that those people are only seeing part of the story.

\u201cWitness who see something from afar are only seeing that from a very quick advantage or disadvantage,\u201d Taylor said. \u201cThey don\u2019t understand what happened before or after. All they saw was that one thing.\u201d

If a person is taken to the ground, for example, many times the investigation will reveal that the person was fighting with officers and the was taken down for his or her own good, Taylor said.

However, Taylor said that it\u2019s still important for people to report what may appear to be an excessive use of force.

\u201cI applaud the community for calling the police and saying, \u2018there\u2019s something wrong here,\u2019 and I applaud the Police Department for doing that investigation,\u201d he said.

Police today are aware they\u2019re likely being filmed and they\u2019re more concerned about the community and what the community thinks, Taylor said.

TPD updated its rules regarding use of force in late October and has a number of changes in the works as to how the department reviews use-of-force incidents.

A 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling states that an officer\u2019s use of force on a suspect must be objectively reasonable based on the circumstances, which is determined by the seriousness of the offense, immediacy of threat and if the suspect is actively resisting arrest or trying to evade police said Capt. Paul Sayre of TPD\u2019s Office of Professional Standards.

The situation doesn\u2019t have to meet all three criteria and when determining if force is excessive, a review board can only consider what the officer knew at the time, Sayre said.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which Arizona falls under, has asked departments in its jurisdictions to critique officers on actions and decisions leading up to use of force.

TPD has recently made a number of changes into how officers report when they use force and how the department reviews incidents and complaints.

\u201cEven the perception of overuse of force erodes trust within the community, so there has to be robust oversight,\u201d Sayre said.

By August, all officers will be reporting use of force through a computer program called IAPro, which is used by the Department of Justice and police departments across the country.

In addition to the new reporting method, a police supervisor will immediately come to the scene and investigate any use of force, using his or her department-issued phone to take photos and record interviews, rather than waiting until later.

All incidents of force involving impact weapons and higher \u2014 except for deadly force \u2014 will now go to a force review board made up of the commanders from all of the patrol units, who will decide if the use of force is within policy.

Previously, investigations were handled by an officer\u2019s immediate supervisor and sent up the chain of command.

Sayre believes this will be a more comprehensive and objective way to make decisions, since it doesn\u2019t involve the close connection between an employee and supervisor.

The department will also be initiating a random analysis of lower level uses of force, which include control techniques like striking or taking a person to the ground.

\u201cIn theory, if you have a person that tends to use force a lot at the lower level that they could at some point use higher levels of force,\u201d Sayre said. \u201cThe idea is to intervene and get that employee more training, coaching and mentoring and help them develop better tactics and positions so they don\u2019t have to use higher levels of force.\u201d

For incidents involving use of deadly force the department has changed the system from a board of inquiry to the critical incident review board. The board is chaired by Deputy Chief Chad Kasmar and Capt. Erick Kazmierczak, who heads up the police academy, is vice chairman.

Kazmierczak\u2019s place on the board will allow the department to immediately implement changes to training based on issues identified while the board is reviewing cases, when it used to take up to a year before changes could be made following a review.

Other incident review board members will include patrol lieutenants, a member of the Community Police Advisory Review Board, the department\u2019s legal adviser, two attorneys from the City Attorney\u2019s Office, the department\u2019s independent police auditor and an appointed community representative.

In an investigation, six areas will be critiqued: policy violations based on general orders, supervision, tactics and decision making, training, equipment issues and communication. The results of the critique will reviewed by the incident board.

\u201cBy the end result, you\u2019re going to have a comprehensive critique (of the situation,) considerable civilian input from the community and the independent police auditor and there has to be a full consensus on all these decisions,\u201d Sayre said. \u201cThat\u2019s a much more transparent and objective review of our actions than we were doing before.\u201d

The previous review process for deadly force incidents used to take between six months to a year, but under the new review board, decisions about whether the force was justified are expected to be rendered in less than six months.

In deadly force incidents, the office of professional standards acts as the investigative arm for the review board. Their administrative investigation runs parallel to the department\u2019s criminal investigation, which will also be presented to the county attorney for review.

Two officers under review

In February, an immigration protest in downtown Tucson sparked a community debate on the department\u2019s use of force after body camera footage showed an officer knocking down an elderly female protester.

Three officers sustained minor injuries during the protest and three people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault on a police officer, police said.

Two officers are under investigation for the incident, one for using pepper spray, and the review board has just completed its first meeting in the case. Investigators have completed 27 interviews of department employees and reviewed hours of video evidence, Sayre said.

No determination on whether the officers\u2019 use of force was justified has been made.

The Star, meanwhile, obtained investigative summary reports into the five incidents that resulted in officer suspensions, as full internal reports would take several months to make public to the newspaper, according to a department spokesman.


Sgt. Joel Mann, was suspended twice for the same incident, after he shoved a University of Arizona student over a bench during a disturbance following the Wildcats\u2019 2014 loss in the NCAA basketball tournament. The incident was caught on video and went viral on the internet.

As a result of the incident, Mann was suspended for 20 hours for violating the department\u2019s use of force policy and in a separate investigation, was suspended 60 hours for failing to follow general orders and department procedures, according to the summary report.

The department forwarded the criminal investigation into Mann to the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office, which declined to prosecute, saying that although he was overzealous, there was no criminal intent in his actions.

The city ended up settling with the victim, Christina Gardilcic, for $100,000 plus her attorney\u2019s fees.

Mann is no longer employed by the department.


While arresting a suspect, Officer George Bravo hit the man in the face twice with the butt of his patrol rifle, which is not an approved use of a firearm. The man was not resisting arrest, according to the investigative summary.

Bravo was unable to explain to investigators why he used his rifle in a way that violated department rules.

It was determined he violated six department policies, including general orders which prohibit \u201ccruel, unlawful or improper treatment,\u201d the report said.

A criminal investigation was initiated against Bravo and referred to the county attorney, who declined to prosecute.

Bravo\u2019s supervisor in the incident, Oscar Caballero, was initially suspended for 40 hours for failure to supervise, but he appealed the suspension and it was changed to a written reprimand.

Bravo is still employed by TPD.


The year before, Caballero was suspended for 20 hours for failing to supervise two officers under his command who used excessive force when striking a suspect.

A woman called OPS to report that officers Lenny Wong and Ryan Danaher struck her, and she came in to the station to have her injuries photographed.

Wong and Danaher were both suspended for violating several policies, including expected conduct toward the public and obedience to general orders. Wong was suspended for 40 hours and Danaher for 20, the incident summary shows.

Wong was previously disciplined for assaulting a handcuffed subject, leaving a loaded handgun in his patrol vehicle after the end of his shift and assaulting a woman at a traffic stop, court documents showed.

Wong resigned from TPD in 2014, but Danaher is still employed by the department.


Officer Abel Urzua was suspended 80 hours after he shot a man in the chest and side of the head with a pepperball gun. An internal investigation found that Urzua violated six department policies. He still works for TPD.

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With a rise in syphilis cases among women accompanying the recent popularity of online dating apps, health department officials have taken to social media to help spread the message about free STD testing in Pima County.

Provisional results for last year show 108 cases of syphilis, 93 of which were diagnosed in men, according to county records.

While that was three fewer cases than 2015, cases reported by women last year at least tripled, increasing from \u201cless than six\u201d to 15.

\u201cRecently, females have started getting it, so that\u2019s a difference we saw last year,\u201d said Azucena Huerta, lead communicable disease investigator for the Pima County Health Department, adding that in previous years, the majority of cases mainly involved men having sex with other men.

Of the 15 syphilis cases reported in women last year, 29 percent of the patients said they used internet dating sites.

Syphilis is easy to detect and easily treated. Its symptoms include a sore inside or near the mouth and/or genitals, and a red rash on palms, bottom of the feet, upper thighs or near a person\u2019s armpits. Left untreated, the disease can cause severe nerve damage and blindness.

The increase in female cases that started last September spurred the department\u2019s decision to run sponsored ads on Facebook, which guarantees more people will see them. The ads began running in mid-December, and Huerta believes they\u2019ve made a difference.

\u201cWe haven\u2019t seen a huge increase in testing and it\u2019s really hard to document how many people came in because they saw the ads,\u201d Huerta said. \u201cThe numbers are at least remaining stable in that we have a consistent level of people coming in for testing.\u201d

In February, the department saw a small increase in testing, which Huerta hopes can be attributed to the campaign.

While personal information provided by patients during testing is confidential, a number of people specified they have Facebook profiles, which prompted health officials to believe online would be a good place to put advertising.

In 2013, there were 55 total syphilis cases reported to the county health department, but in 2014, that number increased to 142.

That year, the department began its \u201cyellow and red\u201d campaign on bus stops across town, aptly named because red spots and rashes can be a symptom of syphilis.

Because reported cases were predominantly in the men having sex with men community, the department also previously advertised in bars and publications popular among the gay community.

Despite the fact syphilis rates in Pima County pale in comparison to chlamydia and gonorrhea, with 5,470 and 890 cases, respectively, reported in 2015, the department has chosen to focus its advertising efforts on syphilis.

\u201cThis is the disease that causes congenital cases and there are more complications,\u201d Huerta said.

Pima County has continuously ranked second in the state for syphilis rates, with the majority of the state\u2019s cases coming from Maricopa County, according to Arizona Department of Health Services records.

As of 2015, Arizona ranks 17th highest in syphilis rates among 50 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Visit the county health department\u2019s website at webcms.pima.gov for more information about sexually transmitted diseases and testing services in Pima County.

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Two former Tucson police officers and an ex-Pima County sheriff\u2019s deputy are facing the loss of their peace officer certifications, officials say.

During a Wednesday meeting, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board voted to initiate proceedings against Randy W. Quinn, Steven S. Pupkoff and Michael A. Villarreal, said board spokeswoman Sandy Sierra.

The board will forward formal complaints to all three men, who will have an opportunity for an AZPOST hearing in front of an administrative law judge, Sierra said.

Randy W. Quinn

Quinn, 32, was fired by the Tucson Police Department in December after a months-long internal investigation revealed he ran illegal records checks using the law enforcement computer database, according to department and AZPOST records.

A woman complained to the department that Quinn was running license-plate checks on cars that visited her home, at the request of her ex-husband, who was friends with Quinn. When confronted by investigators, Quinn said he didn\u2019t remember doing that, but admitted to writing down license plate numbers of cars he saw violating traffic laws when he was off-duty in order to identify the car and catch the driver committing a traffic violation when he was on-duty, in order to meet his ticket quota.

Investigators said these \u201ccuriosity checks\u201d were felonies and referred the case to the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office for prosecution.

Because statements made during internal police investigations can\u2019t be used as evidence for criminal proceedings, the Attorney\u2019s Office declined to prosecute.

Quinn, who was hired by TPD in 2007, appealed his firing with the city\u2019s Civil Service Commission in March, but it ruled in favor of the department.

Steven S. Pupkoff

Pupkoff, 45, was arrested last June for an off-duty DUI, after he crashed into a parked car, according to AZPOST records.

A citizen who approached the car after the crash found Pupkoff \u201cslumped over the driver side vehicle with the motor still running and in drive,\u201d the records show.

The citizen notified the owner of the parked car about the crash, who in turn called 911 to report the crash. Officers who responded to the scene noted that Pupkoff was initially unresponsive, but eventually woke up and rolled down the window.

Officers \u201cimmediately noticed signs and symptoms of impairment\u201d and he refused to perform field-sobriety and breathalyzer tests. He was taken to a hospital and arrested for a DUI, but still refused to submit to a blood test. After officers obtained a telephonic search warrant, the blood draw was completed, and results showed that Pupkoff\u2019s blood alcohol level was 0.20, more than twice the legal limit, according to AZPOST records.

Pupkoff, who was hired by TPD in 1992, pleaded guilty in March to extreme DUI and was ordered to pay $3,840, spend 10 days in jail and 11 months on unsupervised probation.

Michael A. Villarreal

Former sheriff\u2019s deputy Michael A. Villarreal was fired in November after telling a coworker that deputies had been dispatched to her home for reports of underage drinking, according an AZPOST case overview.

On Oct. 30, Villarreal was dispatched to a home for a house party with underage drinking, which he knew to be the home of a Sheriff\u2019s Department employee.

Before starting his shift, Villarreal, 29, knew that his coworker was going to be throwing a party and agreed to give her a \u201cheads up\u201d if any 911 calls came in regarding the party.

After he heard the 911 call, Villarreal called the woman on her cellphone and told her to get the party under control, before meeting with a supervisor and other deputies for a briefing on how to respond to the party.

Villarreal, who graduated from the law enforcement training academy last February, told investigators that before he heard the 911 call, he had no knowledge of any underage drinking at the party.

The woman, who works for the Sheriff\u2019s Department as a corrections officer, was cited for contributing to the delinquency of minors by knowingly providing them with alcohol.

The case was not referred for prosecution, but Pima County Consolidated Justice Court records indicate that she completed an adult diversion class in connection with the misdemeanor citation.

Villarreal was \u201ccompletely forthright with investigators\u201d and said he told his coworker about the 911 call because they previously worked as corrections officers together.

Despite the fact that \u201cVillarreal agreed it was a conflict of interest, a lapse in judgment and something he would never do again,\u201d he was terminated from the department on Nov. 18.

"}, {"id":"1be8e327-bc00-5d86-af92-970c6c247a84","type":"article","starttime":"1492757100","starttime_iso8601":"2017-04-20T23:45:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1494283083","priority":42,"sections":[{"watchdog":"news/local/watchdog"}],"flags":{"watchdog":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"City offering Tucson police, fire employees hefty retirement bonus","url":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/article_1be8e327-bc00-5d86-af92-970c6c247a84.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/city-offering-tucson-police-fire-employees-hefty-retirement-bonus/article_1be8e327-bc00-5d86-af92-970c6c247a84.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/news/local/watchdog/city-offering-tucson-police-fire-employees-hefty-retirement-bonus/article_1be8e327-bc00-5d86-af92-970c6c247a84.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Caitlin Schmidt\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"Program will be capped at 35 employees.","supportsComments":false,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#watchdog","#top5"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"75986"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"659b0998-46c6-52af-bc71-8e89ae3feb51","description":"","byline":"Tucson Police Department","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"940","height":"492","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/59/659b0998-46c6-52af-bc71-8e89ae3feb51/584b2bfb14fba.image.jpg?resize=940%2C492"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/59/659b0998-46c6-52af-bc71-8e89ae3feb51/584b2bfb14fba.image.jpg?crop=874%2C492%2C32%2C0&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/59/659b0998-46c6-52af-bc71-8e89ae3feb51/584b2bfb14fba.image.jpg?crop=874%2C492%2C32%2C0&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/59/659b0998-46c6-52af-bc71-8e89ae3feb51/584b2bfb14fba.image.jpg?crop=874%2C492%2C32%2C0"}}}],"revision":15,"commentID":"1be8e327-bc00-5d86-af92-970c6c247a84","body":"

Up to 35 Tucson police and fire employees could receive a $50,000 cash bonus if they decide to take the city up on an early retirement offer.

The incentive package, which was discussed by Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and the Tucson City Council during a Wednesday study session, also includes sick-leave payout for 100 percent of the employee\u2019s accrued hours and an optional medical subsidy to pay for health insurance premiums for up to three years.

The package is designed to \u201cstreamline operations and modify the work-force composition\u201d in the Tucson Police and Fire departments, City Manager Mike Ortega wrote in a memo.

For the Police Department, the incentive will only be available to sergeants, lieutenants, captains and assistant chiefs and will be capped at 10 sergeants and 13 commanders, the memo said.

In the Fire Department, captains, battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs and assistant chiefs are eligible for the incentive package, which will be capped at 10 captains and two chiefs.

The anticipated cost for sick-leave payout plus the $50,000 bonus would be about $65,083 per police employee and $82,498 per fire employee, according to the memo.

The medical subsidy would cost $28,800 per employee.

Based on the assumption that 12 employees would retire from each department, the total cost of the package would be about $2.5 million, Ortega wrote in the memo.

The anticipated savings from creating vacancies depends on the action taken by each department, Ortega said. The plan is for the Fire Department to use the savings to convert commissioned positions to civilian positions, according to the memo.

\u201cIt is not my intent to convert every single vacancy into a civilian position,\u201d Ortega said during the study session. \u201cThis is consistent with what we\u2019ve talked about for about a year and a half, to really challenge vacancies across the board and particularly in the public safety ranks, where there may be opportunity to look at civilians providing services that are currently provided by commissioned personnel.\u201d

No savings are projected during the first year, but Ortega described the action as \u201can investment in future year savings.\u201d

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich said there had been previous discussion of fire safety inspectors being converted to civilian positions and asked Ortega if this was part of the incentive plan.

\u201cThe conversation is broader than just the inspectors,\u201d Ortega said. \u201cIf we agree that the station staffing, which is of paramount importance, is basically what we want to focus on in terms of response time ... what I really challenge the department to do is we hold that harmless and everything else becomes ... part of the conversation.\u201d

Ortega stressed there are no immediate plans to convert any commissioned fire or police department positions to civilian posts, adding that the restructuring depends entirely on how many employees take the city up on its offer.

The plan within the Police Department would be to add 12 entry-level police officers in place of the vacated positions, saving the department a projected $645,000 in the first year, Ortega wrote in the memo.

\u201cVacancies give us opportunities from a management perspective to look at how we do business,\u201d he said. \u201cWhat I\u2019ve challenged both police and fire to do is to really look hard at the basis for us providing those services, whatever those services are. Because of some of the constraints we\u2019ve had we obviously can\u2019t afford to do it exactly the way we\u2019ve always done it.\u201d

After the first year, the total savings between both departments would be about $1.1 million.

The incentive will be available during a limited window, and eligible employees will be a given a 10-day sign-up period and need to declare their intent to retire by July 1.

\u201cOne of the reasons that I understated the potential savings ... is because I don\u2019t have high confidence that we\u2019re going to have huge participation in this,\u201d Ortega said, adding that if not enough people sign up, he\u2019ll have to go back to the budget to find a way to make up the savings.

The council asked Ortega to provide an update on how the reorganization of vacant positions will work after the sign-up period has ended.

Tucson Police Officers Association President Roland Gutierrez said the union has not taken a position on the incentive plan.

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South-sider Linda Robles describes her last decade as a procession of family illness. She says she\u2019s lost a daughter to lupus and seen the illness strike two of her other seven children. She\u2019s had a daughter and a grandson born with a cleft lip. Last year, her ex-husband was diagnosed with a cancerous kidney tumor.

Now, Robles is on the front line of an impending legal conflict over whether contaminated water has caused these and many other ailments that she and other residents say are occurring there. Robles, who has lived in that area for most of her 55 years, is organizing an effort to gather hundreds of written legal claims alleging that water contamination is causing illness in the area \u2014 claims that could ultimately lead to a lawsuit.

Such claims and litigation are nothing new on the south side, where groundwater has been known to be tainted with cancer-causing trichloroethylene since 1981. In the 1990s, two separate groups of lawsuits involving hundreds of residents alleged that TCE in the area\u2019s drinking water triggered massive illnesses, including cancer, lupus, central nervous disorders and birth defects.

In both cases, the residents won financial settlements from Hughes Aircraft Co. and other parties held liable for dumping TCE into the ground as long ago as the late 1940s.

This time, residents are targeting a different compound \u2014 1,4 dioxane. Like TCE, 1,4 dioxane was used as an industrial solvent in the airport area. However, it wasn\u2019t known to exist in the area\u2019s groundwater until 2002. It is considered a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, but efforts didn\u2019t begin to remove it from Tucson groundwater until 2014. By contrast, the removal of TCE from the aquifer began in the late 1980s.

At a community meeting last Monday, hundreds of residents packed a south-side ballroom to hear Robles and an attorney who won well over $100 million in various TCE legal settlements, Richard Gonzales, discuss the past and possible future legal cases. Afterward, dozens stood in line to pick up claim forms. Gonzales, who said he knows little about the current dioxane issue, offered the residents some good cheer when he said, \u201cNobody gave us a chance, but we won.\u201d

Later, Gonzales, now semi-retired at age 67, said he would offer legal help to Robles and others working on a new case, although he doesn\u2019t plan to formally represent them. Robles says her plan is to sue Raytheon Missile Systems, which merged with Hughes Aircraft in the late 1990s. Because no litigation has been filed, Raytheon has no comment, company spokesman John Patterson said.

But a potential dioxane case is fraught with complexities that didn\u2019t exist in the TCE case and could present obstacles to residents, say Gonzales and another legal experts.

First, residents must prove dioxane caused their illnesses above and beyond any effects from the TCE. \u201cIt\u2019s the same as a person getting rear ended twice on two different dates,\u201d Gonzales says. \u201cHow do you differentiate your back pain from the first accident versus the second accident?\u201d

Second, residents would have to prove that they\u2019ve been drinking contaminated water in recent years.

It was widely known and heavily publicized that the TCE had polluted 11 Tucson city wells back in the early 1980s. But today, Tucson Water officials insist that generally, no contaminated water has been served to south-side residents since 1981, when those wells were closed.

Robles and other south-siders who have taken out claim forms distrust the city\u2019s assurances. Because of the complexities of Tucson Water\u2019s system of treating, blending and delivering water, Robles is convinced dioxane-tainted water has been served to them.

But the residents know their case must transcend simple mistrust. Robles said she\u2019s already gathered about 400 claim forms from people saying they have various cancers they believe came from the drinking water, and, working with a doctor, she plans to conduct a detailed health study.

In the past two weeks, the residents got potentially good news from state authorities. On April 3, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality official William Ellett emailed Robles that the department has asked the Arizona Department of Health Services to \u201clook into doing a health consultation for TCE and 1-4 dioxane\u201d concerning pollution near Tucson International Airport, and examining the pollution\u2019s possible association with cancer and lupus.

Late Friday, state Health Department spokeswoman Holly Ward said the department is working with Pima County health and environmental officials to determine the best next step.

One possibility would be to bring in the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to get a better picture of the broader health issues and pathways residents have to exposure of the chemicals, Ward said. The agency, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, performs public health assessments of toxic waste sites and of contamination-related health impacts.

\u201cWe\u2019re discussing with Pima County DEQ and the county department of public health to determine what data do we have and what data do we need,\u201d Ward said. \u201cDo we have enough data to make an assessment, or do we need to bring in ATSDR?\u201d


Linda Robles recounts her family health issues as she sits in her studio apartment near South Sixth Avenue and West 29th Street. On a wall next to her is a map of the area\u2019s TCE pollution plume from the 1980s, given to her by Rose Marie Augustine, then and now chair of Tucsonans for a Clean Environment, who led much of the effort to get groundwater cleaned back then and is advising Robles today. The map is full of pins showing where cancer cases turned up.

Robles started with 2003, when Tiana Shosie, her daughter by an earlier marriage, was diagnosed with lupus after going to the hospital. \u201cHer kidneys were not functioning,\u201d Robles says now.

She died four years later at age 19 \u2014 \u201cshe was a beautiful daughter, I miss her dearly,\u201d Robles says.

A year later, Robles\u2019 daughter Clarissa started showing many of the same symptoms, Robles recalls. \u201cShe was diagnosed at a very bad state of Class 4 lupus. She had kidney failure. ... She was very weak. She was very scared. Two years ago, she was told she was going to die in three months if she didn\u2019t do the chemo. She did do the chemo, so thank God she is still here,\u201d Robles said.

In 2009, her son Joseph was suffering \u201chorrific\u201d rashes; he was diagnosed with lupus, Robles says. In 2013, her year-old granddaughter Adrina began spells of vomiting, dizziness, rashes and having hair fall out \u2014 she was diagnosed with kidney nephritis, Robles says.

And in 2016, her ex-husband Joe, with whom Robles had lived for many years in the Midvale Park area west of Interstate 19, had surgeons remove a large kidney tumor that was later found to be cancerous, Robles says. He has since recovered, but Robles\u2019 5-year-old niece Mia Flores, who also lives in Midvale, was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer last December, Robles says. Mia\u2019s teachers at Hollinger Elementary School wrote her mother a letter saying the girl was \u201cdoing a lot of baby talking in the classroom and was losing her speech and vision due to the tumor,\u201d Robles says.

It was her granddaughter\u2019s 2012 illness that caused Robles to say \u201cno more,\u201d and begin studying water issues at a public library at the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center. She started attending meetings of the Unified Community Advisory Board, a group of citizens, companies and agencies held potentially responsible for the pollution that is now overseeing the TCE cleanup.

Attending meetings and reading various public documents on the ongoing dioxane contamination got her more concerned, and she started holding public meetings and mobilizing residents to sign the claim forms. She is having the forms sent to the Justice Department because Raytheon is an Air Force contractor.

Two longtime south-siders who picked up the claim forms are Angela Martinez and her aunt, Sharon Flowers. Martinez\u2019s grandmother and Flowers\u2019 mother, the late Marie Sosa, was an early plaintiff in the TCE lawsuits in the 1980s and \u201990s.

Sosa also worked for Hughes Aircraft in the 1970s and \u201980s, and was later diagnosed with breast cancer and lupus, and had both her breasts removed. A close friend and ally of Rose Marie Augustine of Tucsonans for a Clean Environment, Sosa died in 2012.

Flowers, Martinez, Augustine and Sosa all have lived and Flowers still lives in the Mission Manor area near 12th Avenue and Drexel Road, all within the TCE-dioxane plume area.

Flowers, now 59, also was a plaintiff in the first TCE lawsuit back in the 1980s. Back then, she had thyroid cancer that metastasized to her lymph nodes, and surgeons had to remove muscles on the left side of her throat, she says. A non-malignant tumor \u201cthe size of a football\u201d was removed from her stomach in 2012. Today, Flowers says she\u2019s in such constant pain that she can\u2019t work.

Martinez, who turns 37 on April 28, says she drank the water in that area off and on for 21 years. The water had a \u201cyellow tinge to it and tasted funny \u2014 I grew up not liking the water very much,\u201d she said.

At 26, she says, she started having irregular menstrual cycles. A biopsy found cancer cells in her cervix. Two-thirds of it was removed. She was told by doctors that she had only a 30 percent chance of having kids, but she has since given birth to three daughters, including the 3-month-old Angela.

She\u2019s also had Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid gland to be overactive; her thyroid was removed in 2014, she says. Both her parents and a grandfather also had their thyroid glands removed, but when her family conducted a genealogical family history, \u201cNo one else in our family had thyroid problems,\u201d Martinez said.

\u201cMe, personally, why I\u2019m involved is for my daughters. They drank this water. I\u2019m not so focused on how it affects me. I\u2019m focused on let\u2019s get this thing cleaned up. My kids deserve a fighting chance,\u201d Martinez said.


One challenge residents face in linking their health problems to dioxane is that it has different health effects and behaves differently from TCE, says a Vermont-based lawyer who also worked on the TCE case. Tony Roisman represented 250 south-siders who got legal settlements over TCE contamination in the 1990s.

Roisman worked with Tucson attorney Sheldon Lazarow against Hughes and two other plane manufacturing firms operating in the Tucson International Airport area. Their settlement award was sealed by the judge, Lazarow says.

Roisman recently settled another legal case elsewhere involving dioxane.

Compared to TCE, he finds dioxane a less well-recognized human carcinogen. The federal government classifies TCE as a known cancer-causing agent and dioxane as a probable carcinogen, Roisman notes.

Also, dioxane\u2019s cancer-causing properties are generally limited to the liver and kidneys, he says (it\u2019s also been linked to gall bladder cancers, according to the EPA). TCE has been linked to those cancers and leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, plus auto-immune disease, Roisman says.

The case against dioxane as a carcinogen is based only on animal studies, whereas TCE has been shown to cause cancer in both human and animal studies, he says.

\u201cGetting experts to testify that dioxane will give people cancers won\u2019t be easy,\u201d Roisman says.

Finally, the compounds\u2019 properties are very different, according to Roisman. TCE typically clings to the soil. Dioxane \u201cclings to nothing,\u201d he says.

\u201cIf you drop one gallon of dioxane into the soil on day 1, by day 2, that gallon is gone. ... TCE could be tracked back. For dioxane, that\u2019s a lot harder to do because it\u2019s very mobile. It\u2019s harder to show that people get exposure.\u201d

A challenge that Roisman and Lazarow faced was proving that the south-side residents were actually drinking TCE-tainted water. That\u2019s because contaminated groundwater wasn\u2019t the only groundwater served on the south side, he recalls. The area had a \u201cwhole network\u201d of public and private wells.

The lawyers had an engineering professor track the sources of drinking water. He found that of 16,000 people who signed up for the litigation, \u201conly 1,000 had water from a contaminated well,\u201d Roisman said. After going through medical records to find people with cancers traceable to TCE, the number of plaintiffs was whittled to 250, he says.


For dioxane, the story is somewhat different.

After its discovery in 2002, Tucson Water first blended it with clean drinking water from the Avra Valley to reduce the dioxane content. The Tucson Airport Remediation (TARP) air-stripping project that has cleaned TCE from the water couldn\u2019t pull out the dioxane.

During that time, it was in the TARP-treated water at levels of about 1.5 parts per billion, compared to a recommended EPA standard of 3 parts per billion. But in the early 2010s, EPA knocked down the recommended limit to 0.35 parts per billion. That forced Tucson Water to build a new plant, open since January 2014, to treat dioxane to levels below what equipment can detect \u2014 0.1 part per billion.

Today, Tucson Water Administrator Jeff Biggs says that the TARP water has been delivered to about 60,000 customers living downtown, on the north side and on the west side along Silverbell Road north to El Camino del Cerro.

\u201cTARP water was never delivered to south-side residents,\u201d Biggs said.

But a Tucson Water map shows a small slice of the area between 22nd and 29th streets west of South Sixth Avenue getting that water. Told of that, Biggs said the department\u2019s position is actually that no TARP water has been served to the area of the original TCE pollution plume. Its northern edge lies just north of Irvington Road.

\u201cWe just need to be more clear when we talk about that,\u201d Biggs said.

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A former Tucson police officer\u2019s appeal to overturn his firing for violating the department\u2019s policy on records checks was denied by a city review board, documents show.

On March 17, the Civil Service Commission, a citizen panel that reviews the appeals of suspended and terminated city employees, unanimously voted to uphold Randy Quinn\u2019s termination, saying he should have known his conduct could lead to disciplinary action, according to the meeting\u2019s legal action report.

Quinn, 32, who began working for the Tucson Police Department in 2007, was fired in December after a monthslong investigation by the department revealed he committed a felony by running \u201ccuriosity\u201d checks through the law enforcement database.

In March 2016, a woman filed a complaint with TPD, saying Quinn was using his work computer to run records checks on people and vehicles visiting her home, according to the meeting minutes.

The woman, who is the ex-wife of University of Arizona police Sgt. Andre Lyko, said Quinn was a friend of her ex-husband and ran the checks at his request.

In August 2015, the woman moved out of the house she shared with Lyko and said she became concerned he was \u201cstalking and harassing her and her visitors\u201d and that Lyko told her Quinn and other officers were conducting records checks on her friends, the minutes show.

It was determined Quinn conducted a records check on a man who was a friend of the woman\u2019s on Aug. 27, 2015, a day that Quinn was assigned to a traffic-control call for his whole shift.

Investigators obtained Quinn\u2019s phone records, which revealed he was on a phone call with Lyko at the time he ran the other man\u2019s license plate number.

When contacted by police, the man said his car was keyed when he was at the UA at about the same time and that Lyko\u2019s ex-wife had said she suspected her ex-husband of being involved in the vandalism.

During an interview with police investigators, Quinn said he didn\u2019t remember if Lyko asked him to run records checks, but \u201cit was possible.\u201d

After meeting with his attorney, Quinn sent a letter to investigators saying that \u201che engaged in the practice of observing civil traffic violations while off duty and making note of the offender\u2019s license plate.\u201d

Quinn said that after he arrived at work, he would run a records check on the plate to see if the vehicle was registered in his area of responsibility so that he could try to catch the driver committing a new traffic violation and conduct a stop.

Quinn said that was an attempt to make the department\u2019s \u201cticket-a-day\u201d expectations, \u201cwhich he met and exceeded,\u201d but said this technique was never successful for him.

Investigators determined the technique was considered a \u201ccuriosity check,\u201d which is a violation of Arizona Criminal Justice Information System rules, and a felony offense.

It was determined that Quinn violated six Police Department policies, including general orders, prohibition of criminal conduct and untruthfulness.

Tucson police investigators referred the case to the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office for prosecution, but under a rule called the Garrity Warning, Quinn\u2019s statements to department investigators can\u2019t be used against him in criminal prosecution.

Citing a lack of evidence, the Pima County Attorney\u2019s Office declined to prosecute, said Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson.

Lyko is still employed as a sergeant with UAPD, according to department spokeswoman, Sgt. Cindy Spasoff, who said she was unable to comment further.

"} ]