A weight was lifted off Pima County Sheriff’s personnel when Dr. Richard Carmona took to the podium at Thursday’s press conference at the Viscount Hotel. Across Pima County and across the ranks, men and women, who have experienced a hostile work environment under Sheriff Chris Nanos were given a voice by Carmona.
Carmona flanked by members of the Pima County Deputy Sheriffs Association, the Pima County Correction Officers Association, and the Tucson Police Officers Association described an oppressive work environment filled with distrust and cronyism.
One member of the staff said after the press conference, “We’ve been dealing with their shit for years, now the public can finally know.” Because of the vindictive nature of Nanos, anonymity is still sought by staff, which have no confidence they will be spared until the FBI finally takes action.
Still, Carmona’s appearance, and fearless approach on Thursday gave staff hope that at least the people of Pima County have a glimpse into what Carmona said was Nanos’ reprehensible behavior.”
That behavior has included everything from veiled threats to outright retaliation through demotions and reassignments.
Morale in the Department is low among most employees as they see favored secretaries making over $80,000 a year, while some deputies make just enough to qualify for food stamps.
All the while, Nanos blames the current corrupted culture as one that he walked into and has promised change. He has done this at the same time, his predecessor, Sheriff Dupnik, defends both the culture and Nanos.
Sheriff’s personnel have waited patiently for the FBI to act, but with the highly questionable circumstances surrounding the investigation of Chief Deputy Brad Gagnepain’s suicide, they had started to lose hope. When Nanos interfered with the “Mansions Parties” investigation, most of their hope that integrity could return was destroyed.
Deputies believe that Carmona’s strong presence on Thursday will weigh on the public, and the public will begin demanding answers.
The FBI is reportedly investigating the illegal use of RICO funds.
Referring to the personnel surrounding him, Carmona said, “They took off their uniforms, put on their union clothes and they basically showed up knowing that retribution and harm could come to them. But you know what they realize now – that they can’t cause retribution or harm to all of us.”