Dever not sold on idea of creating state militiaBy Derek Jordan
Wick News Service
SIERRA VISTA — Middle-Eastern terrorist groups have likely formed allegiances with drug cartels in Mexico, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said.
“I attend a lot of meetings and look at a lot of briefings from sources everywhere and all of them suggest there is action south of the border in Mexico and South America related to build-ups of terrorists groups that have formed allegiances with the smuggling cartels,” Dever said last week.
The sheriff was responding to comments made by State Sen. Sylvia Allen, who’s efforts to establish an armed state militia called the Arizona Special Missions Unit passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.
“We are being invaded by criminals who have formed alliances with mid-eastern terrorists who use violence in the most evil of ways to intimidate, control and protect their drug-human smuggling multi-billion dollar business,” Allen was quoted by the Arizona Capitol Times as saying at the committee meeting.
The language of the bill describes the purpose of the special
missions unit as “to supplement law enforcement efforts in combating international criminal activity and other law enforcement and community activities as provided by law under the direction of the governor.”
Dever said he has spoken with Allen on more than one occasion and feels that she and others working to pass SB1083 are “sincere,” and that “any symbol of seriousness from the State Legislature to do something aggressive and overt to deal with what we’re dealing with on the border is outstanding and I applaud it.”
However, the sheriff said that the money being allocated to establish this special missions unit could be put to better use.
“It’s an interesting concept, but it doesn’t make total sense to me to make up a new organization or group. That’s why I say that money may be better used and utilized by existing resources,” he said. “One of the missions of the guard unit is search and rescue and responses to disasters. We have that now.”
In addition to its search and rescue volunteers, Dever said his office has agreements with other sheriffs throughout the state and country to respond to emergency situations that the militia would be designed to deal with.
As currently written, the $1.4 million used to fund the special missions unit would come from the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) Border Security and Law Enforcement Subaccount.
His office would use that money to hire, train and equip more deputies so that, “we have a standing presence all the time, versus a group of volunteers who may or may not show up and have all of the necessary training.”