For several years, I have read misinformation published in the Tri-Valley Central papers related to PCSO Search and Rescue. As the commander of our team and lifelong Casa Grande resident, I feel it’s time to correct the record.
In the state of Arizona, search and rescue activities fall within the responsibility of the county sheriff. In October 2009, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu initiated a reorganization of the county’s SAR program to comply with this law. Prior to this date, Pinal County operated with two individual SAR teams. We have used the same model during our reorganization as is used by other sheriff’s offices in Arizona.
Members of the Superstition Search and Rescue team were invited to join our team in 2009. Many of their members made the transition and have been a tremendous asset. Other members of their team have refused to make the transition including their volunteer commander, Mr. Robert Cooper. Our office has been told by his prior team members it is because Mr. Cooper does not want to have an updated criminal background check completed.
Due to volunteers using county resources, equipment and us assuming liability for their actions or injuries, we require updated background checks. This is the same for every volunteer, sworn or civilian position in our office. We can’t use backgrounds which were completed in the past but rather require updated criminal background checks completed by our office. We have over 350 volunteers in our Posse, Search and Rescue, Citizens on Patrol and Victim Services.
Our PCSO Search and Rescue team is a nationally recognized and certified team that conducts hundreds of successful missions each year. Mr. Cooper should join our team and take a criminal background check. We’d be happy to include him with the other 70 SAR volunteers.
Pinal County Search and Rescue