A whole eight months lapsed before the Department of Public Safety released the Firearms Program Audit of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. That audit is now the source of a libel claim by former Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries.
In his lawsuit, Jeffries alleges that many of the claims made in the version of the audit released in July, were made with malicious intent. That assertion appears to be bolstered by records made and kept by employees who had questioned why the reformers assembled by Jeffries were hastily escorted out of the Department on the day before Thanksgiving in 2016.
At the time, no one knew what the significance of those records would be. Digesting the information in, and implications of the audit has been a slow and painstaking process. That process will continue for some time, but the significance of the records is becoming crystal clear.
As an example, the audit found that Dennis Young, who was brought in to replace former DES Inspector General Jay Arcellana, brought order to the Department by instituting a system to log training for the security guards.
Contrary to that claim, a recording of Young was captured by DES employees informing Young upon his arrival in early December 2016 that Jeffries’ crew had installed the system and it was being used to log training for the security guards and eventually the sworn investigators within OIG.
Audit author, Christopher Luebkin, indicates there were no training records yet Young was clearly informed of the records’ existence in December 2016.
Below is the transcript and overview of the employees’ conversation with Young shortly after his appointment in December 2016. The recording contains the voice of an employee who fears retaliation if their identity is discovered.
#1 Employee: “…they were working towards moving into an electronic, uh, system for tracking training, and that was being done at the Protective Services. Um, Darryl Rivers was the one that was supposed to be, Darryl Rivers was the training coordinator, is, um….”
Young: (interrupting) For all sworn?
#1 Employee: For, yes.
Young: Not all agency?
#1 Employee: Yes. Um, and then people who have training certificates were added to it…”
The employee explained to Young that the Jeffries’ regime had begun implementing training for the security guards and training would be expanded to include sworn personnel in the future. Charles Loftus and Darryl Rivers were known to have access to the database at that time, and the plan, which was in the process of being implemented, was to give all trainers access to the database so the trainers could input/document training as it was given.
As the ADI reported some months ago, the audit was written in such a way as to cast blame on Jeffries’ crew for the very system failures created by past administrations they were trying to cure. Terry Azbill, who had been instrumental in the creation of those system failures was one of the employees terminated by Jeffries. Azbill, who had served as the DES Chief Law Enforcement Officer prior to Jeffries’ arrival, was reinstalled in that position after Jeffries and Loftus were exited.
According to multiple sources, the Department has quickly returned to its former state of bureaucratic dysfunction, save for the upgrades and corrections that were being implemented, for which Young, Azbill, and others are now given credit.