Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has been named 2011 Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriffs' Association. The Ferris E. Lucas Award will be presented to him at the opening session of the association's annual conference in June.
Since being elected as the Pinal County Sheriff in 2008, Babeu has become one of the most progressive sheriffs in the country, according to a news release from the association. He has received state and national attention for his stance against illegal immigration, and his actions against drug and human traffickers earned him the distinction as one of "America's Toughest Sheriffs on Illegal Immigration," the release said.
Under Babeu's leadership, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office has received $7 million in grants to acquire innovative equipment and technology, and response times to citizens who call on the sheriff's office have been cut to about 7 and a half minutes. Previously, response times were as much as 15 minutes, according to the release.
Among other things, the association also credits Babeu with pulling together a Regional SWAT, Traffic and Narcotics Task Force in Pinal County.