Thursday, November 1, 2012



Comment: The posse is to be made up of ex military and law
enforcement, now let's see. When your correspondent was younger,
much younger, when he wore a green shirt, pants and a green hat. He
was handed a automatic weapon, a actual "assault weapon". ( with
bullets even) Even worse, he was allowed to have direct radio
contact with B-52s. A definitive WMD. But now, as with a lot of
other veterans, he doesn't wear the green hat, shirt, and pants, he
can't be trusted out in the AZ desert with a pop gun?

Blog: Insurance concerns loom over Babeu's border posse

Sheriff Paul Babeu announced the formation of a new "Anti-Smuggling
Posse" in early October. It's made up of volunteers, who would be
armed and help back up officers in anti-smuggling operations.
41 minutes ago •
Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star

Related Documents
Insurance letter to Babeu

From the time Sheriff Paul Babeu announced the formation of a new,
armed Anti-Smuggling Posse, some readers jumped straight to this
concern: What about liability for the volunteers' actions?

I asked Babeu's spokesman, Tim Gaffney that question a couple of
weeks ago, and he told me the county is liable for posse members'

Now, it turns out, the question has become more complicated, and
insurance coverage isn't assured.

To step back, this all started because Babeu announced he has formed
and is training a group of volunteers who could help with the
department's anti-smuggling operations. The idea is they would have a
backup role to the officers carrying out the operations. Babeu's
announcement represented the realization of a long-held dream among
Arizona Republicans of a border volunteer force.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Republic's Lindsey Collom reported that the
county's insurance company, the Arizona Counties Insurance Pool is
considering excluding Babeu's Anti-Smuggling Posse from liability
coverage. The pool's insurance underwriter said it's already re-
working the policy to exclude volunteers involved in law-enforcement

The pool's board of trustees shares the underwriter's concern and is
considering making a change to its policies to exclude the Anti-
Smuggling Posse from liability coverage, attorney Ken Sundlof told me

"They're looking at the situation, and there may be a change," he said.

There are also concerns about workers' compensation coverage for the
posse volunteers, Sundlof wrote in a letter to Babeu Oct. 22
(attached). When I asked Gaffney about this in mid-October, he told
me via email, "If injured while in the performance of their duties
they will be covered under Workman's Comp just as other volunteers
and fulltime members are."

But Sundlof explained the coverage differently in his letter.
"Currently workers' compensation is extended to volunteers on a case
by case basis, as approved by the Board of Supervisors of the county
employing the volunteers. As such, workers' compensation coverage to
the Anti-Smuggling Posse volunteers will only be extended upon an
approval from the Pinal County Board of Supervisors."

This sends the insurance question into a whole different, highly
political realm. Babeu has regularly battled with the Pinal County
Board of Supervisors and especially with its chairman, Pete Rios. The
workers' compensation question gives Rios and the board some say over
the sheriff's unilateral decision to form the posse and could well
make the posse another Pinal County political issue.

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