La Paz County Sheriff John Drum says he will be filing criminal complaints against the Town of Parker after he says the Parker Police Department shut down the Task Force building and “illegally removed files, computers, guns, buy money and surveillance equipment rendering the unit crippled of any law enforcement activity.”
Sheriff Drum says the items were purchased with public money and that makes the removal of them illegal.
Parker Police Chief Rod Mendoza responded to Parker Live late Tuesday, saying the Council was approving a statement on behalf of the Town of Parker.
At Monday’s regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors public meeting, Sheriff Drum read a statement aloud to the Board with his complaint and allegations against the Town, which is contained in full below.
Parker Live will publish the Town of Parker’s statement when it is received.
“On the evening of May 14th 2013, the Parker Town Council voted to lock up the La Paz County Narcotics Task Force building, denying entry to any other agencies. On that same evening, members of the Parker Police Department entered the Task Force and illegally removed files, computers, guns, buy money and surveillance equipment rendering the unit “crippled” of any law enforcement activity. The reason that this is illegal is that the above listed items were purchased with R.I.C.O. and Federal Grant monies. As of now, the Parker Police Department is working their “own” drug cases (within the Town of Parker).
Over the past 3 years, the Task Force has been under the command of the Parker Police Department. During that time, the Task Force has lost 2 grants (State and Federal), totaling approximately $270,000 a year, R.I.C.O. monies have been over spent, productivity has dropped to a record low and for most of that time, the only officers in the unit were from the Parker Police Department. For those reasons, I felt that it was in the best interest of the citizens of La Paz County that the Sheriff’s Office re-establish command and control of the Task Force.
Since I have taken office in January, there have been several meetings with Chief Mendoza from the Parker Police Department, Chief Gilbert from the Quartzsite Police Department and the County Attorney Tony Rogers (the only current voting members on the Task Force Board besides myself). During these meetings, we verbally agreed that a new I.G.A. would be created and the Sheriff’s Office would take command of the Task Force on June 1st. A rough draft of this new I.G.A. was presented to the County attorney for his review on April 29th.
We have taken several positive steps forward in an effort to rebuild the La Paz County Task Force. All of these positive steps were nearly destroyed after the events of May 14th. It appears as though the Town of Parker and the Parker Police Department are not in support of a cooperative effort to improve the Narcotics Task Force and their own self-interests supersede the County’s overall need for narcotics enforcement.
At this time, the Sheriff’s Office intends on continuing forward to build an effective Task Force that will serve everyone within the County. We still intend on creating a unit with all State, Federal and local cooperation. We also intend on signing an intergovernmental Agreement with CRIT so we can assist them with the Narcotic issues on and around the reservation.
In closing I would like to leave you with this: I want to bring more agencies to the table to help us vote on Task Force expenditures. These Agencies (Border Patrol and Riverside County), will not be able to spend Task Force monies on their agencies, they will simply be there as unbiased voting members who have nothing to gain. So you have to ask yourself; why wouldn’t the Town of Parker want more unbiased people voting on the Task Force Board? There is only one answer and that is control.”