Pinal County sheriff recall effort started - East Valley Tribune: News

Pinal County sheriff recall effort started

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Posted: Friday, May 23, 2008 10:52 am | Updated: 10:13 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Pinal County resident has started a campaign to recall Sheriff Chris Vasquez after reading Tribune reports that the sheriff plagiarized more than a dozen times in monthly letters to citizens.

Ethan Groh, 29, of Casa Grande filed the recall petition Tuesday with the Pinal County Elections Office, records show.

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Pinal sheriff plagiarizes in monthly letters

"I have lost all faith, respect and trust in Sheriff Vasquez and his administration," he wrote in a letter explaining his reasons for initiating the recall. "I feel his actions were dishonest and deceitful."

Groh also wrote that Vasquez's actions were unethical and unbecoming of an officer.

This is the first move to recall Vasquez, said county elections director Gilbert Hoyas.

Groh will need to collect 13,819 signatures by Sept. 17 to move forward with the effort. The recall was filed under the name Committee to Recall Sheriff, an organization created by Groh.

Groh said he doesn't think collecting the signatures will be a problem and that the recall will have plenty of support.

"He's the top law enforcement official in this county, and he's corrupt. I think once people find out about this, I will get unanimous support," he said.

If Groh collects the necessary signatures, Hoyas said they will be checked, a process that lasts several weeks, before the matter can move to the ballot.

Vasquez is up for re-election in November, and it's possible that Groh's recall effort could continue beyond that date.

Vasquez can still be ousted after the election if he regains office, state law shows.

Vasquez took office in 2005. Since then, he has written more than 30 letters about various law enforcement topics to citizens. Using an Internet search, the Tribune found text in 14 letters that had been exactly replicated from other sources, even President Bush.

The text is copied verbatim and unattributed, and the lifted portions range from a few sentences to entire speeches.

The sheriff's letters are distributed to newspapers across Pinal County, which print them monthly. They also were posted on Vasquez's campaign Web site. The letters have since been removed.

Groh said that he also finds it troubling that Vasquez sits on the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, a police ethics and training committee that determines punishments for law enforcement officers.

Ethics experts have agreed that Vasquez's plagiarism raises questions of integrity and credibility.

Vasquez told the Tribune last week that he didn't think there was anything wrong with the plagiarism.

But he composed a letter two days later, explaining his actions and writing that if what he did was plagiarism, he was sorry.

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