Babeu presents county options for public safety

Paul Babeu (color).jpg

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu

By Mila Besich-Lira

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu attended a town hall forum hosted by the Superior Town Council last week where the focus was to provide information on what a proposed agreement with PCSO would include.

Cost for these services will range from $699,000 to $809,000 a year. The agreement will need to be approved for a minimum of five years.

The Town Council has indicated that it is considering contracting with PCSO for local police service, but no action has been taken. Mayor Jayme Valenzuela said the council is reviewing this option as a possibility and the council is expected to vote on the PCSO agreement in June.

Babeu explained to the packed house that under this agreement, the Town would be paying the PCSO for the policing and public safety services in Superior. “This agreement would make the town a customer of PCSO,” he said.

He explained the idea came after he attended a community meeting several months ago when many members of the public explained that they did not feel safe in Superior. In addition to his presentation to the council, several department managers for PCSO attended and presented how their departments would support PCSO services to the town.

Under the proposed agreement, PCSO will provide two deputies for each shift every day including holidays. That will be a total of eight deputy positions assigned only to Superior. Dispatching communications will go through the dispatch center for PCSO in Florence.

Babeu explained response times for PCSO in areas like San Tan Valley are usually five to seven minutes and they expect that those response times would also be apply to Superior.

He stressed that PCSO will provide stability for the Town public safety needs which could help to eliminate politics from entering the public safety aspects of the town operations.

He said PCSO service would also alleviate law suits to the town, add advanced training for the deputies, and the Town of Superior will also have access to the Citizens on Patrol and volunteer Sheriff Posse programs. The agreement will also allow for the use of detective and administrative services and all other services of the PCSO.

If the agreement is approved, the Superior Police Department will be disbanded. The existing staff of the Superior Police Department will be encouraged to apply to PCSO but they will be required to meet PCSO hiring requirements.

If the council approves the agreement, PCSO may purchase the existing police department buildings and some of the newer vehicles owned by SPD along with any other equipment the department owns. They may also choose to only lease the building depending on how the contract is agreed upon.

The current budget for the Superior Police Department is over $600,000 a year. The agreement with PCSO will be $699,000 for the first two years and then will increase to $809,000 a year after that time.

At a meeting last month, the Council approved the resignation of Superior Police Chief Lou Digirolamo. The council has not voted on a proposal to begin a replacement search for the chief’s position.

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