Project Red, White and Blue
The race to unseat Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Seven men are vying for the seat of top lawman in Pinal County. Sheriff Paul Babeu has held the seat for only four years and his Republican and Democrat challengers are hoping he doesn't add four more.
The Rebublican challengers to Babeu in the August primary are Tom Bearup, Jack MClain, and Derek Arnson. There are two democrats running: Glenn Millsaps and Kevin Taylor. And one independent is in the race: Ty Morgan.
KGUN9 wanted to know the issues they consider to be top priorities.
Voted Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff's Assocation in 2011 - Paul Babeu said his top priority is to continue to focus on improving the reponse times of his deputies. 'We have cut emergency time literally in half. We have some of the fastest times in Metro Phoenix right here in Pinal County and when our deputies show up on scene, I want them to be the best trained so they know how to investigate and write good reports so we can prosecute criminals." He wants to continue his heavy handed approach against the most violent criminals.
Republican challenger Tom Bearup once served as a top aide to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He said giving deputies the necessary tools to fight crime is a top priority. "We have a major issue going on in this county as in anywhere in Arizona. We seem to have a lot of influence with drug, human smuggling and arms coming through. We need to be on top of that gathering intelligence." He also wants to get deputies back in schools to lead anti-drug programs.
Jack Mcclaren spent time as a commander in the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. He said his first task would be to boost community policing. "I believe that's one of the most important things to reduce crime in Pinal County. I was in charge of community policing. I noticed a big change." He wants to take deputies off the 12 hours shifts.
Derek Arnson's experience includes years as a police chief and stints in command positions in a few police departments. He wants to restore honor, dignity and respect to the Sheriff's Department. "I think all of us know from watching the internet what the sheriff has done to bring shame and honor to the badge we all wear. All it takes is one officer to ruin the credit of the entire organization." He plans to improve employee moral through more training programs and increase community volunteers.
Democrat challenger Glenn Millsaps wants to bring his experience investigating the largest law enforcement agencies to Pinal County. "I've gathered information ... i've look at ...that's what i'm going to do.> He said his first order of business: take out drug smugglers and traffickers.
Kevin Taylor says his heart never left law enforcement after serving as a deputy in Ohio. He believes the sheriff should stay within the Pinal County borders. 'We don't have control .. doesn't make sense." Taylor said he wants to add another chief deputy to the mix and improve communication with Pinal County prosecutors.
There is an independent in the race. Ty Morgan spent more than 30 years in Pinal County law enforcement.