Derek Arnson: Real Leadership

| June 9 2012

Real Leadership

Albert Einstein once said, “Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust.” After two decades in law enforcement, I know that Einstein was right. Trustworthiness is the most important trait a leader can possess, especially in law enforcement. Without the people’s trust, it is impossible to maintain law and order. Which is why many of the actions of Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, are so alarming.

Babeu’s decisions call into question his ability to lead the sheriff’s department. His actions regarding the tragic deaths in Vekol Valley is the latest example of his poor leadership. Instead of waiting for the facts to unfold, Babeu made presumptuous claims based on opinion, not evidence. Absent any facts, he assumed the tragedy was committed by violent drug cartels, and denounced Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Arizonans know drug cartels are a problem.  But it’s not enough for a sheriff to be tough, he must also be credible.  Paul Babeu has shown that he is not a credible leader.

As sheriff, I would base my conclusions on facts, and never speculate on an ongoing investigation. I also would not attempt to provoke fear in Pinal County citizens for political gain.

Cooperation is vital in any investigation.  I sit on the board of the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats, an organization created in 2009 to help combat individuals and organizations that pose a threat to Arizona and Mexico.  Resources like the alliance can provide crucial information. While investigating this horrific crime, I would have contacted the alliance and similar groups to determine whether or not it fit the profile of cartel murders.  It is alarming that Babeu did not take advantage of the partner organizations available to him.

Babeu’s actions suggest that he wants residents to think the area is overrun by drug cartels, a belief that will discourage families and businesses from moving to Pinal County.  Babeu is undermining the public’s trust in his department, and chasing away potential jobs and residents.

It is time to end the fear mongering and scare tactics. As sheriff, I will perform a thorough investigation of every crime, and give the public the accurate information that it needs.  There will be no grandstanding or political gamesmanship in my department.  It is time for Pinal County to have a sheriff that puts our county above his political ambitions.

Derek Arnson is a candidate for Pinal County Sheriff.

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