“Flirting with whimsy” comes at high price
Self-promoting Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu apparently doesn’t mind spending money he says he doesn’t have in order to give himself a boost in exposure. Using RICO (racketeering money that comes from seized assets) and jail enhancement funds at a time when he claims his office is too cash strapped to combat drug cartels and he is actually soliciting public donations to provide deputies with rifles, Babeu spent over $53,000 to send 25 people to a week-long conference. He was the recipient of a national award based upon his own hyperbole.
The daily newspaper reports that records show about half of the June 18-22 St. Louis, Missouri junket was paid by court fees given to the sheriff’s office to improve county jails. The other half came from seized cash and property intended to fund investigations and prosecutions. Scroll through the news report to get a handle on some of the excursions, charges and reimbursement submittals. Be sure to read the title of topics covered during the seminar. Warning: You might have difficulty reading while your head is shaking back and forth in disbelief.
Among the department personnel represented at the National Sheriffs’ Association annual conference was a school resource officer, at least three detention officers, several deputies and three department volunteers.
Babeu and his entourage stayed at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand hotel at a cost of $28,885. The website describes the luxury hotel as a refuge where “Classic elegance flirts with touches of whimsy to evoke the perfect balance of class and comfort.”
Flirting with whimsy comes a quite a price. But we think that money could better be spent buying a few rifles for Babeu’s under-armed deputies.