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August 2013 Field Release

Narcotic and Special Investigation Section

On June 30, 2013, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department created the Narcotic and Special Investigations Section (NSIS).  Commissioned personnel and support staff assigned to the Counter Narcotic Alliance (CNA) were reassigned, thus ending our participation with CNA.  These CNA positions, along with the Border Crimes Unit and several units within the Crimes Against Property Section were reallocated to create NSIS, which is assigned to the Homeland Security Division.

With the creation of NSIS, the Sheriff’s Department will be in a better position to address community problems associated with drug crimes and to serve the specific needs of the citizens of Pima County.  By bringing these narcotic units together, we will have the ability to focus our investigative strategies to increase effectiveness and efficiency; while maintaining a positive relationship with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Pima County. 

The mission of NSIS is to employ a collaborative enforcement strategy to reduce and disrupt trafficking, sales, and distribution of illegal narcotics within Pima County.  NSIS will implement an array of investigative strategies to seize illegal drugs, currency and other assets associated with drug trafficking, money laundering and other felony crimes. NSIS will investigate, target and arrest individuals that are engaged in drug trafficking and sales, including violent crimes often associated with narcotics.  

The following units are assigned under NSIS:

Major Investigations Unit (MIU) - The MIU will concentrate its efforts on conspiracy investigations that target drug trafficking organizations operating in Pima County. MIU will conduct mid-level and long term narcotic investigations; assist CID with investigative support, undercover/informant investigations and money laundering investigations.  Sgt. Alex Montoya is the assigned supervisor for this unit.

Community Response Unit (CRU) - The CRU will concentrate its efforts on street level drug enforcement throughout Pima County. CRU will conduct short term investigations focusing on Patrol investigative support, issue patrol narcotic arrests, conduct stash house investigations, hotel/motel investigations and 88-Crime Tip Investigations.  Sgt. Greg Bargar is the assigned supervisor for this unit.

Border Interdiction Unit (BIU) - The BIU will concentrate its efforts in both highway interdiction and metro/rural deployments to detect and intercept narcotics, US Currency and human smuggling.  BIU will conduct highway interdiction on all roadways providing a nexus with the border, provide uniform support for NSIS operations, utilize a currency detection canine as part of its interdiction efforts and provide additional support for the Patrol Division as needed.  Sgt. Scott Lowing is the assigned supervisor for this unit.

Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) - The FIU will concentrate its efforts on the use of R.I.C.O. statutes to seize assets which are used in, or are the proceeds of, criminal activity.   FIU will provide financial investigative support leading to potential seizures under the R.I.C.O. statutes for NSIS and Departmental investigations, as well as take custody of and process large sums of U.S. Currency/assets for potential seizure under R.I.C.O. Statutes.  Sgt. Bruce Westberg is the assigned supervisor for this unit.

Federal Support Unit (FSU) - The FSU is comprised of detectives assigned to DEA and HSI/ICE.  Detectives are deputized as Federal Task Force Officers and they assist Federal Agencies with their investigations utilizing a variety of investigative techniques.  FSU detectives provide a direct link to resources available to PCSD.  Sgt. John Westmoreland is the supervisor for this unit.

Investigations Support Unit (ISU) - The ISU will concentrate its efforts in providing Investigative support for the Department in Computer Forensics, Technical Operations and Crime Analysis/Intelligence.  Sgt. James Roat will remain as the supervisor for this unit.

Please utilize these units as appropriate to assist in your investigative needs.  Also, report any intellegence gathered though investigations in the field or CID that may be appropriate for NSIS to assist in.

 


Bomb Tech Goes to Tel-Aviv

In 2005, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad formed a relationship with the Israeli National Police Bomb Disposal Division. This relationship was fostered by an exchange of techniques, ideas and training. A bomb technician from Pima County traveled to Israel and experienced bomb disposal operation there first hand.

On June 21st 2013, Deputy John Morris continued this relationship and traveled to Tel Aviv on behalf of the DOD’s Technical Support Working Group’s Southwest Border Counter IED program (TWSG SWB CIED). The SWBCIED program is a working group consisting of 10 of the 12 public safety bomb squads operating along the US- Mexico border. A member of the Pima Regional Bomb Squad chair’s the group. In conjunction with the group’s goal of identifying solutions for an increased IED threat along the US southern border, the group engaged the Israeli’s to study their tactics and techniques in dealing with their border.

Deputy Morris observed border fence operations including visits to the West Bank and Gaza Strip crossings. While in the country he also visited Sderot, a city in Israel’s south which is plagued by missile attacks. The morning of the visit 6 rockets were fired at the city.

Deputy Morris received briefings from the Israelis on cross border operations, case studies and equipment demonstrations. This opportunity provided a new perspective on border IED responses and techniques and a very unique international experience not experienced by many US bomb technicians.

 


AARMS

The Pima County Adult Detention Center has begun using a software database called AARMS (Accreditation, Audit and Risk Management Security) that will facilitate an audit of our current policies and procedures to ensure our compliance with relevant case law and court mandates.

The AARMS website is an accumulation of case law as set by the Supreme Court and accreditation standards which dictate Correctional facility operations.  This program allows staff to evaluate the standards of the PCADC in comparison to judicial precedence and identify, if any, revisions needed in order to be compliant.  These court cases are simplified in laymen’s terms so that anyone can audit the system instead of only those proficient in legalese.      

In addition to auditing our procedures, this website is an excellent resource for questions that may arise during a situation that lacks precedents or proper coverage in policy.  The user is able to plug in a key word and have all available case law ready to view in lieu of searching the internet to find answers and possibly misinterpreting information. 

The database can send emails to key employees about upcoming and in progress court cases that may impact our operational standards.  Ideally, this will lower our propensity to go court due to outdated practices.

 


Promotions


Retirements


Deployed Military

 


Detective of the Quarter

On February 17, 2013, at approximately 2:38 a.m., deputies with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Foothills District responded to the Outlaw Saloon located at 1302 West Roger Road for a large fight in the parking lot of the business.

Upon arrival, they identified a man and woman who had been the victims of a vicious assault. Deputies learned that they, along with the woman’s 21 year old son, had been assaulted by a group of unidentified individuals. The younger victim had been severely beaten and was transported to a hospital for his injuries.

Detective Sharlene Reis was assigned to the investigation.  She learned that the three victims were on the walkway outside the bar where they had stopped to smoke. A group of adults came out of the bar and approached them, making antagonistic and racist remarks. The taunting continued until suddenly the behavior escalated into a physical assault. When the mother attempted to stop the beating of her son, the attackers turned on her, knocking her to the ground and kicking her in the face. The other male victim was also beaten. The victims did not know any of their attackers and did not know why they had been attacked.

Detective Reis released the video from the incident to the media and was able to develop suspect information from a license plate given by a witness.  Dozens of tips were received from concerned citizens. Based on information developed from these tips, from the license plate and interviews, Detective Reis identified all ten suspects responsible for the assault.  Through skillful interviews and investigation, Detective Reis and other Robbery Assault detectives developed probable cause to arrest all ten suspects, who were indicted on over forty felony charges.  Detective Sharlene Reis is hereby awarded recognized as the Criminal Investigations Division Detective of the Quarter.

 


Employee of the Quarter

Ms. Michelle Yancick was promoted to Dispatch Supervisor just a short year ago and has embraced every aspect of her new duties.  One area which makes Michelle most deserving of this recognition is her development of the staff.  As a new supervisor, she was assigned employees that ranged from newly trained to the most tenured of staff.  With the Communications Section in a period of transition and change, some employees presented challenges from which Michelle did not shy away.  She embraced every opportunity to build new employees as strong dispatchers, coaching them on individual skills and mentoring them through lessons learned on difficult calls.  She also worked to overcome systemic morale issues and performance deficiencies, quickly bringing all her staff to exceeding expectations.  It is because of her interpersonal communications skills and commitment to her team that standards were clearly and equitably enforced.  Michelle also identified members who consistently performed well above standards and provided much needed praise and feedback for their dedication to a job well done.         

It is when the Communications Center is critical where Michelle really shines.  She truly understands the importance of being engaged in call management and interacting with every employee, regardless of tenure or trade.  Michelle debriefs calls with employees to gain a better understanding of their thought process and to ensure their mental well-being.  She rotates employees through positions so that she can have more exposure to them in order to conduct monthly trainings, chat over section concerns, or just provide exposure to the supervisor which is often limited due to staffing shortages.  Her creativity in room management is never ending.

Ms. Yancick has forged a team mentality through her dedication to timely feedback and her responsive nature to staff concerns.  She was instrumental in diagnosing critical failures in systems that impacted employee performance and volunteered to assist in correcting those failures through the development of a quality control program.  She is currently writing the QC program and rewriting Communications Guidelines, seeking input from other areas of the Department to ensure the decisions made in Communications are in line with the entire Department.  Michelle designed and implemented a section-wide system for tracking employee paperwork from new hire through Communications annual training requirements.  The process streamlines due dates and routing as well as tracking monthly training topics.  It is a time saver for all supervisors!

In the year since Michelle’s promotion, she has developed into not only a skilled room supervisor, but also an excellent team player, mentor, appropriate disciplinarian, coach, systems administrator, and overall example of what the Sheriff’s Department endeavors its supervisors to be.  For her accomplishments and service to the Department, the Administrative Bureau is proud to recognize Dispatch Supervisor Michelle Yancick as their Employee of the Quarter.  Congratulations!


Hoist Training

Recently, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Air Unit was afforded a unique opportunity to train with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in air rescue and hoist training utilizing the Department’s new American Eurocopter AS350B3e helicopter.  San Bernardino is located east of Los Angeles with a terrain very similar to Pima County.  They have a densely populated metropolitan area, sparse desert and mountain peaks that tower over 10,000 feet in elevation. The mountains are accessible to the general public, resulting in frequent rescue missions similar to ours.

Our Air Unit, along with personnel from Search and Rescue, spent three days conducting side by side hoist and air rescue training utilizing our helicopter, pilot and crew.  Not only did Lt. Mitch Dattilo and the entire San Bernardino Air Unit welcome us with open arms, but they also provided hangar space for our new aircraft and arranged refueling thus allowing us to seamlessly complete our training.

The initial training consisted of side by side comparison of our aircraft, rescue gear and configuration. We quickly moved into scenario based training using our aircraft; where we hoisted personnel with our BF Goodrich external hoist into steep canyons and recovered them; as we would on an actual air rescue mission. We were evaluated on crew resource management (CRM) and handling of the aircraft during a rescue operations.

We conducted our training in the steep canyons and confined spaces of San Bernardino County with each operation increasing in obstacles and hazards that are similar to challenges that we are faced with in Pima County.  This training reinforced our timing and crew coordination during rescue operations.

To obtain commercially available private training of the quality provided by Lt. Dattilo and his staff would have cost the taxpayers of Pima County tens of thousands of dollars.  Lt. Dattilo’s enthusiastic willingness to train with us, combined with support of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, is a glowing example of the tight knit community of law enforcement aviation.  Because of his assistance, we at the Pima County Sheriff’s Department are in a better position to provide air rescue missions we are tasked with and are better prepared to serve the citizens of Pima County.  I have no doubt lives will be saved as a direct result of Lt. Dattilo’s and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Departments selfless efforts.


Patrol Deputy of the Quarter

On June 11, 2013 Deputy Ferraris responded to the Tierra Rica Apartments where a suspect had thrown multiple rocks into a residence from outside and then choked his 15 year old daughter to the point of her passing out.  He then fled prior to the arrival of the midnight units. 

When the midnight units arrived, they flooded the area in an attempt to locate the suspect.  Deputy Ferraris was conducting a recorded interview when he saw the subject hiding in the business complex to the west of his location.  Deputy Ferraris was able to chase down the suspect and detained him with the help of Deputies Inglett and Scott. 

During the course of the investigation the suspect’s wife showed deputies a green rubber demon mask which she said was used by the suspect in an armed robbery.  She informed deputies that the suspect had also been involved in a homicide. 

Detectives were assigned to investigate the allegations further and upon conclusion of the investigation, probable cause was established in reference to the armed robbery. 

Deputy Ferraris’ quick actions, experience and apprehension of this dangerous individual resulted in the suspect being taken off the streets.  In addition to his actions during this incident, Deputy Ferraris is definitely a leader in his squad.  He performs his daily duties above standard expectations and imparts his knowledge to newer deputies on a regular basis. 

For these reasons Deputy Masaki Ferraris is hereby recognized as the Operations Bureau Patrol Division Deputy of the Quarter.


Support Operations Deputy of the Quarter

Deputy Clint Enderle has maintained vigilance and dedication to removing impaired drivers from the roadways of Pima County during his career with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.  Based upon his proven performance and continued dedication Deputy Enderle was selected for assignment to the Traffic Section DUI Unit in November of 2012.

Since joining the DUI Unit, Deputy Enderle has increased his already impressive efforts to make the roadways safer for all Pima County motorists.  During his career Deputy Enderle has been responsible for 250 driving under the influence arrests; more than 100 of those arrests have occurred during the first half of 2013.  He aggressively enforces all laws related to impaired driving and provides support to Patrol Division deputies.

Deputy Enderle has maintained enthusiasm for his duties and brings excellence to all tasks and assignments.  He has taken a leadership role by teaching DUI Investigation classes to the Basic and Advanced Law Enforcement Academies.  He has hosted alcohol workshops for training courses presented to Sheriff’s Department personnel and other local law enforcement agencies.  Deputy Enderle provides critical support to the Department’s sobriety checkpoint operations and maintains a superior level of activity during all DUI patrol operations.  He has participated in mock trials with the Pima County Attorney’s Office teaching new prosecuting attorneys how to effectively present DUI cases.  Deputy Enderle has assisted with the resurgence of the covert underage buyer (CUB) program which deters the sale of alcohol to Pima County’s underage youths. He has also represented the Department at various public relations events including the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Candle Light Vigil, safety fairs, and the Academy graduation family day.

Deputy Enderle serves as the Department’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Agency Coordinator.  He consistently demonstrates professionalism and devotion to the DRE program, seizing every opportunity to conduct evaluations in order to ensure effective prosecution of DUI violations.  He has established professional relationships with DUI enforcement experts from agencies throughout the state.  Those relationships have allowed him to maintain his knowlsedge of case law and current events related to DUI enforcement.  He shares information with his superiors, co-workers, and other Department personnel.

Deputy Enderle has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.  He continues to demonstrate excellence in all areas and constantly works to improve his abilities and share valuable knowledge with Department personnel increasing the Department’s DUI enforcement capabilities.  Deputy Enderle’s efforts to remove impaired drivers from the roadways of Pima County have reduced the dangers associated with the crime of driving under the influence and prevented untold loss of life and property.


MHST

As most of you know, prior to June 2013, three full time uniform deputies were responsible for serving mental health orders.  In June, the MHST (Mental Health Support Team) was formed, which includes those three full time uniform deputies, along with two detectives and a sergeant. MHST detectives will be able to answer questions, respond to, and assist with calls from deputies on mental health issues. They can conduct follow up on individuals that would normally have received no further assistance from the Sheriff’s Department until another incident was reported.

In the past, the law enforcement attitude was that once the problem at hand was solved, e.g., by taking the individual to jail or getting the MAC Team to respond to deal with the individual, we were done with the problem.   We all know that is not the case.  We would go back again and again to deal with the same individuals, often times not knowing where to turn or who to refer the person to for the proper help.  Now MHST will be able to help the field with answering those questions.  MHST will also work towards establishing a referral network of available resources in an effort to try and stop the cycle of recurring problems.

In addition to directly helping the field, the MHST detectives will be investigating those individuals who may pose a threat to the public or law enforcement due to a mental illness.  The detectives will either charge a crime, if one is appropriate, or take the case in front of a doctor treating the individual.  A third option is to take the case to a judge to explain the need for court ordered treatment.  The goal is to apply long term solutions that assist us in our goal to create a safer Pima County.


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