The election for Pima County's newest sheriff is less than three months away. Incumbent Sheriff Chris Nanos is running for office. He's up against a 25-year veteran with the department who he just put on administrative leave.
Sergeant Terry Staten declared he was running for Pima County Sheriff in early May. On May 19th he appeared on the Jon Justice show to discuss the motivations behind his campaign.
"The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem and the Pima County Sheriff's Department has a problem. The big thing is morale issues, there's cronyism, favoritism and these things are unfair," he said on the show.
Following those remarks, Pima County Supervisor Chuck Huckelberry made the recommendation to Sheriff Nanos that Sgt. Staten be put on leave.
According to Sheriff Nanos, it was a different incident that lead to Staten's dismissal. The sheriff believes he was involved in tampering with another employee's badges and disrespecting the uniform.
"He believes that I turned some patches upside down within a detectives cubicle in the administration building on Benson Highway," said Staten. "I did not have anything to do with turning patches upside down."
"He elected to do something childish and his actions left me no choice but to put him on leave."
According to Pima County's Personnel Policies an employee shall be placed on a leave of absence without pay it if is determined that the election activities adversely affect the operation of the department.
On Friday, May 20th, Sergeant Staten was put on leave.
"I think that by being disrespectful to this uniform, to those who wear it everyday with pride, that's adversely affecting the operations of this department," said Nanos. "I placed him on administrative leave for that reason."
Sergeant Staten says he was not involved in the tampering of patches and believes he hasn't done anything wrong.
"There's a retaliation going on, my civil rights as far as freedom of speech and my civil rights overall are being hampered."
Sergeant Staten is set to remain on leave until the end of his campaign.