On Friday, newly elected Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier issued a statement regarding the indictment and plea deal reached by former Chief Deputy Chris Radtke for his misuse of Pima County Sheriff’s Department RICO funds. Radtke was allowed to plead down to three misdemeanor charges.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department fully supports the judicial process and understands prosecutorial discretion. We are grateful for the efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the federal corruption inquiry which resulted in the indictment and prosecution of Chris Radtke for his misuse of Pima County Sheriff’s Department RICO funds.
We would be remiss if we did not express our disappointment that Mr. Radtke’s egregious criminal violation of public trust resulted in only a misdemeanor plea agreement with potentially an extremely light sanction. Mr. Radtke admits the existence of a sustained criminal conspiracy that spanned 18 years, with his involvement being approximately six years. This activity shocks the conscience. It violates the honorable standards of law enforcement held by the 1,500 men and women of our department. This trust is vital to the performance of our duties.
Since 1865, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has served this community. The Department is filled with good men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis. This is simply unforgivable misconduct on the part of a few. We now need to close this regrettable chapter in the otherwise distinguished history of our agency. We commit ourselves to move forward, follow the law, provide excellent service to the people of our county, and restore the public trust.
Radtke admitted, in a court document filed in connection with the plea, that for approximately 18 years until July 2016, officers at the Pima County Sheriff’s Department engaged in a scheme to launder RICO/forfeiture funds to circumvent the strict restrictions on the use of those funds. The officers collaborated together to make it appear that the Sheriff’s Department was donating the RICO/forfeiture funds to the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers (SAV), although the funds were actually used by the Sheriff’s Department.
While Napier might be anxious to move on, many County residents are not. According to sources, residents will have no choice but to move on however; as none of Radtke’s co-conspirators will face justice. To top it off, according to the Arizona Republic, “The deal allows Radtke to receive an $82,800 annual pension from the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and a one-time $505,000 payment from the system’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan, according to the retirement system’s records. Within six years, Radtke will receive more than $1 million in state retirement benefits.”