During National Police Week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey moved to strip sworn police officers with the Department of Economic Security (DES) of their legally-permitted firearms. AZ POST certified officers with the Department have been directed to turn in DES issued firearms and all related gear on Friday, May 18, 2018 despite the still present needs and risks of various duty assignments.
On Tuesday, Department of Economic Security Inspector General Fidencio Rivera notified employees of the policy change in an email:
From: Rivera, Fidencio
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 6:54 AM
Subject: New Standard for AZPOST Board Certified Peace Officers Regarding Carrying of Firearms Effective May 19, 2018
As discussed on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, it has been determined the carrying of firearms when handling DES duties to include criminal investigations are not consistent with the expectations of a human services agency in Arizona. The DES standard effective May 19, 2018, is that DES employees will not carry firearm in the performance of their duties to include AZPOST Board certified peace officers. The exception will be the Evaders (Jon Olney and Paul Cuellar) and what was formally the Trafficking Detection Unit (Charles Dimbat, Frank Martinez and Chad Kramer) pending final assessment of how to most effectively and safely handle these duties. The goal is to leverage partnerships to have duties requiring firearms outside of DES. Interim the five(5h individuals authorized to carry firearms will be organized under the re-branded Office of Professional Responsibility (formerly Internal Affairs) maintaining their former duties and responsibilities. The pertinent organizational charts are attached.
In consultation with AZPOST, we understand the restriction of firearms for duty purposes is authorized based on agency standards (please see attached letter provided to AZPOST). At this time, we continue to support the AZPOST Board certification and the requirements associated with the certification contingent on no rules or legal requirements restricting our ability to limit the use of firearms by peace officers working for DES. The new agency standard effective Saturday, May 19, 2019, pending formal policy modification is that firearms are not authorized outside of these five agencies. The LEOSA policy remains in place pending further review and update. At this time, only one DES employee is understood to be operating under LEOSA within DES.
Each of you is directed to turn in your DES issued firearm and all related gear (holster, magazines and ammunition) to Mr. Rey Nejo on Friday, May 18, 2018. I will defer to Mr. Nejo to coordinate with each of you as to time, place and location on or before COB on Friday, May 18, 2018. He will be aided by Mr. Rich Tracy, PSA Administrator.
We are still expected to conduct administrative and criminal investigations in line with a more limited role as non-carrying firearm investigators and leverage the appropriate law enforcement agency, if deemed necessary. We may also leverage the Evaders and TDU. March 2018s AG report of cases accepted for prosecution found at minimum 30 of 32 cases accepted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in March 2018, were put forth by civilian investigators within DES OIG. The unit, OIG SO-Unemployment Insurance, which produces the largest volume of criminal prosecutions, 200-300 per year, is not AZPOST Board certified nor do they carry weapons. We have a demonstrated track record of safely conducting criminal investigations without the need to carry firearms and are committed to this with your support and invaluable experience.
We value our individuals who have prior law enforcement experience for many reasons to include their experience handling complex investigations, knowledge of criminal procedures, testifying in court and experience working with prosecutors. This skill set demands commensurate pay coupled with the responsibility for complex investigations. This will continue. We appreciate your professionalism during this transition.
Office of Inspector General
In the aftermath of the San Bernardino massacre, former DES director Tim Jeffries directed DES Inspector General, Judge Jay Arcellana and his key team members in the Office of Inspector General (OIG) led by Dr. Charlie Loftus to identify best practices for security details at DES locations.
In April 2017, the ADI reported on multiple incident reports in which DES staff and clientele were at risk. With over 77 social services centers housing approximately 4,000 DES employees servicing close to one million Arizonans in need, staff reported everything from trips-and-falls to one male of Middle Eastern descent threatening everyone from DES staff to President Obama. Based on feedback from DES staff, similar events continue to take place every month.
- Tucson Shooting Shines Light On Ducey’s DES Security Failures
- Ducey Shuts Down Testimony By Jeffries, Loftus On DES Debacle
- Ducey Admin Delays Delivery Of DPS DES Report
- Failures Of AZDES System HEA Plus Leads To $142 Million Wasted Taxpayer Funds
- The Destruction Of DES And Good Men
- Few DES Employees Fired Under Jeffries To Be Offered Jobs Back