The Sheriff’s Office is excited to greet the New Year and to participate in many community activities leading up to warmer days. We are happy to welcome some new personnel to our staff including Deputy Abelardo Gonzalez who recently graduated from the Western Arizona Law Enforcement Training and Deputies Andres Estrella and Jose Mendoza who both graduated from the Southeast Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy. They were previously Detention Officers at the Sheriff's Office. These employees represented the county well during their tough training at these academies. Various members of the Sheriff’s Office enjoyed decorating vehicles and participating in the annual Nogales Holiday Light parade including Sheriff Hathaway, Chief Deputy Morales, and members of the Search and Rescue team. It was wonderful to see a large outpouring of community support this month at the Sonoita Fairgrounds where many people turned out for the 85th birthday party of San Rafael Valley rancher and legend Bud Bercich. Sheriff Hathaway was glad to speak and share some history of the Bercich family who were long time ranching neighbors of the Hathaways. There were so many great events in the county this month that they are too numerous to mention. They included the Tubac Festival, the annual steak dinner of the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association, the “Christmas in Elgin” arts and crafts festival, the Fiesta de Tumacacori, the Sonoita Small Town Christmas, the Amado Chili Cook-off and Car Show, the Chamber of Commerce holiday mixer at Rancho San Cayetano, the Fraternal Order of Police Christmas banquet, and many posadas including the one put on by the Circles of Peace on Morley Avenue. What a joyous Christmas and holiday season it was and we wish everyone a blessed new year!
This month, the Sheriff’s Office was pleased to host a meeting with Maki Teramoto who is the “Directora General de la Proteccion de Mexicanos en el Exterior.” Various issues were discussed including Search and Rescue programs, prisoner handling in the Santa Cruz County Jail, and the status of various visa categories involving Mexican citizens. Also, the staff of the Sheriff’s Office was grateful to be treated to a free lunch that was hosted by the “Santa Cruz County Patriots.” The group provided the lunch to two shifts of Sheriff’s Office personnel as a “thank you” for their service. The Sheriff’s Office also participated in “National Take-Back Day” which is an annual event that allows community members to dispose of unwanted prescription medicines and pharmaceutical items. We give a big thank you to the Garrett family for allowing law enforcement personnel to use their store as a drop-off location for this important program. Various groups and media outlets including Telemundo, Insight Crime, and the Tubac Rotary Club were briefed by the Sheriff or did ride-along interviews with him this month to discuss various topics including drug trafficking and our volunteer programs (Search and Rescue Program and our Law Enforcement Assist program). The county was happy to welcome the annual convention of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas to Tubac which included an amazing culinary showcase provided by the Consulate of Mexico. It was a very successful event. The Sheriff participated in the Empire Ranch cowboy festival just outside of Sonoita this month as well which was a great event with authors and demonstrations of cowboy crafts. The Sheriff’s Office also participated in the annual Veteran’s Day parade in downtown Nogales and a memorial event at the Wall of Honor in front of Nogales City Hall. We wish the community a joyous holiday season filled with lots of tamales and pumpkin pie!
The Sheriff and Command Staff were honored to participate in the Fallen Officer Memorial this past month held on Morley Avenue in downtown Nogales. Family members of fallen officers Jesus “Chuy” Cordova and Jeremy Brinton participated as well. County Attorney George Silva was the speaker and gave a very moving presentation recounting the service of fallen officers in the county. The Sheriff was happy to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of his Alma Mater, “The Little Red School” on Duquesne Road where the school’s long history was reviewed. The Sheriff also attended an Open House for the Crossroads Mission Transitional Center for Women and Children in Nogales. We are happy that private community partners like Crossroads do so much to support the needs of the poor and downtrodden in our communities. This month, the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office underwent a time-machine transformation with a mural giving the feel of an old-time sheriff’s office. The effect was enhanced with the addition of the roll-top desk owned by Sheriff J.J. Lowe who was sheriff from 1939 to 1958. Come by and have a look! The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office was glad to host this month a meeting of all the “Search and Rescue” groups from all counties in Arizona. It was a good opportunity to network and share strategies and capabilities. Also, the Sheriff’s Office recently kicked off training for a new class of volunteer deputies as part of our Law Enforcement Assist program. With the addition of these volunteers, our volunteer program will double in size. Sheriff Hathaway was also glad to host Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for a day involving a briefing on county issues and a tour of the border. This month, the Sheriff’s Office was sad to see the retirement of Commander Raoul Rodriguez who dedicated 25 years of his life to the Sheriff’s Office, but we are happy that he will be able to pursue new opportunities. We wish you all the best Commander!
This past month local officials, including the Sheriff, spoke to the community in 9/11 events to recognize the sacrifices of heroes and to emphasize the importance of liberty. Another joint priority is the recognition of substance abuse problems in all communities and an earnest effort to stop these problems in the early stages. Mayor Garino, Sheriff Hathaway, Chief Bermudez, and County Attorney George Silva have reached out to the public on various occasions this month to emphasize the importance of intervening and offering help to those who have become trapped in a cycle of substance abuse. The Sheriff and others have spoken to the public this month via radio, print media, and in person at events held at Pierson School (Over dose Awareness Day), Teyechea Park (Nogales Night Out), Cordova Park, and Karam Park. The Sheriff’s Office was also honored to participate in a fallen officer memorial tribute at the Little Outfit Ranch this month where family members of fallen officers Jesus “Chuy” Cordova and Jeremy Brinton were presented with plaques honoring the service of those officers. The colorful and festive Fiestas Patrias in downton Nogales brought a bright and cheery atmosphere to the community while the county fair and rodeo were great successes allowing the community to feel a hint of fall with some fresh cooler weather. The Sheriff’s Office Command Staff was also happy to meet with and welcome new Mexican Consul Officer Victor Jimenez this month to assure that cross-border issues are dealt with smoothly through official channels. The Sheriff and his family also enjoyed participating in a clean-up day for the one-room Lochiel School House arranged by Patagonia resident German Quiroga. Thank you German for the efforts you make to keep the community involved in historical preservation efforts like this! The Sheriff’s Office is pleased to welcome two new senior officers to our deputy ranks, Miguel Diaz and Mario Rodriguez. We also congratulate Detention Officers Daniel Fimbres, Alex Castillo, Christian Matus, and Brian Garcia who graduated from the C.O.T.A. Academy this month. Also, we recognize newly hired detention employees Alejandro Castellanos, Ernesto Sandoval, Justine Astorga and newly hired Telecommunicator Christine De La Riva. Welcome aboard!
As the Sheriff’s Office ramps up it’s hiring of Detention Officers, we are glad to see the progress of various officers currently undergoing training at the Correctional Officer’s Training Academy in Tucson. Members of the Command Staff attended the graduation ceremony for new officer Fernando Valencia and are proudly encouraging other new officers who are undergoing both detention training and deputy sheriff training at various academies. Our volunteer program has expanded greatly and we are about to kick off an in-house training class for our many new volunteers. An expanded volunteer program to help our small agency cover the county has always been part of the vision of Sheriff Hathaway and it is coming to fruition with the large number of volunteers that have come forward to be a part of the Sheriff’s Office. Both our volunteer deputies (“Law Enforcement Assist Officers”) and our volunteer Search and Rescue members play a vital and rewarding role. Our Search and Rescue volunteers selflessly give up personal time to come to the rescue of lost persons who are often lost in rough remote terrain during hours of darkness and in inclement weather. We cannot thank these volunteers enough. The Sheriff’s Office was pleased to participate this month in an impromptu parade and celebration for the 95th birthday of WWII veteran Sergeant Conrado Humberto Villegas at the Bowman Senior Center in Nogales. The Sheriff’s Office was also happy to participate in the Teacher of the Year Ceremony at the Tubac Resort which honored the many fine teachers in the county and the winner, Mark Dittmar.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is taking over law enforcement responsibilities in the beautiful town of Patagonia. The Sheriff’s Office is making special efforts via our Command Staff, our volunteers, and our patrol deputies to reach out to individuals and businesses in Patagonia to make sure we are addressing concerns of residents. We already facilitated a very successful Fourth of July parade and fireworks presentation and have provided security and traffic control for other recent events such as the celebration of the life of Patagonia resident Harold Swyers. Sheriff Hathaway met with U.S. Senator Mark Kelly in Nogales this month along with other elected and appointed officials to discuss border infrastructure improvements to be provided by the federal government. If you are looking for a great job, the Sheriff’s Office is actively recruiting for Detention Officers. This is a great job with a starting pay of $32,181 and lots of overtime potential resulting in most officers earning over $40,000. The job also includes paid vacation, paid sick leave, and health insurance. Come by and get an application, apply on-line at santacruzsheriff.org, or call 520-761-7869. I hope you are getting out and enjoying the great outdoors! – Sheriff David Hathaway
The local weather groundhog (actually a Santa Cruz River bullfrog) is telling the Sheriff that it is going to be a great rainy season. Per local cowboy folklore, a hot June means that San Juan’s Day, June 24, will of the season; and we had a VERY HOT June! Vaquero optimism says June 24 for the start date, but our bullfrog says the Fourth of July will be when the season starts with a bang. The Sheriff and his wife were privileged to have a tour of the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora this month along other Members of the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force and faith leaders from various churches around the U.S. It was a delightful opportunity to see and participate in a tangible display of neighbors helping neighbors. What an important work is done by local places in Nogales, Sonora like the Kino Border Initiative and the Albergue San Juan Bosco Migrant Shelter, and organizations in Arizona like the Crossroads Mission in Nogales, Arizona and Casa Alitas in Tucson. It is really worth a tour and some hands-on volunteer work if you haven’t pitched in yet at one of these local private faith-based organizations. The Sheriff’s Office welcomed Jose Mendoza to its ranks as another graduate this month from the Correctional Officer Training Academy in Tucson. Great job Officer Mendoza! The Sheriff’s Office is bidding a fond farewell to Ray Sayre this month, the local director of the county Emergency Management Agency and a longtime partner of all first responders. He facilitated the very successful multi-agency LEPC “Local Emergency Planning Committee” and hosted many innovative training sessions. All the best to Ray in his future endeavors! The Sheriff’s Office also proudly participated in the annual Santa Cruz County Memorial Day celebration this past month. On a somber note, the Sheriff’s Office along with many other agencies, friends, and family celebrated the life of Nogales Police Officer Jeremy Britton who passed away unexpectedly while performing selfless public service for the community. The Sheriff’s Office and many other community partners were glad to be able to hit the local streets on our personal time and pick up trash throughout the community this month. It was great to see so many of you out there as well. The Sheriff’s Office particularly focused its attention on cleaning roadways adopted by the organization. This month, the Sheriff was privileged to be able to speak to Governor Ducey about local issues along with other community leaders during a round-table meeting in Nogales. The Sheriff’s Office was also happy to be able to set up an information booth and interact with the community at a Family Night Out at the Pierson School where the Sheriff, the Mayor, and the County Attorney addressed the youth in the community in person and via live-stream about the need to make good choices in life. Get ready for the thunder and lightning. It’s coming!
The Sheriff’s Office has had the privilege of helping with and attending high school graduations, middle school transition ceremonies, and other celebrations of the close of another school year. Our School Resource Officers have enjoyed helping students and school staff to have safe enjoyable experiences in their school environments and a joyous transition into summer and new life experiences. This month has been an opportunity for the Sheriff’s Office to join in with other community partners like Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez, the Mariposa Community Health Center, and other community coalitions to improve the way the criminal justice system deals with mental health and substance abuse issues. The goal is to serve non-violent offenders “where they are” in life and to look for alternatives to incarceration so that families can stay together and so that people can retain employment when possible. Judge Velasquez has been an inspiration and a leader to community partners in these innovative approaches and the Sheriff’s Office is glad to assist with these initiatives. This month, Sheriff Hathaway briefed U.S. Senator Mark Kelly and multiple media outlets about the importance of opening the ports-of-entry for tourist visa holders from Mexico to assist in the recovery of the local economy that has been impacted heavily by the 13-month ban on Mexican tourists coming into the U.S. to shop and to patronize our hospitality industry. Various other local agencies and non-governmental partners are also writing letters and reaching out to federal officials at this time to emphasize the economic importance of the relationship with Mexico and the need to re-establish that relationship. The Sheriff’s Office is also prioritizing other less glamorous things at this time of year like revamping its outdated policies, implementing a strategic plan with other county agencies, and reviewing its budget with the county manager and county finance department to assure responsible use of county funds. We are also glad to see our economy and social activities beginning to rebound and are happy to have been invited to participate in recent traditional community events like the wonderful Fiestas de Mayo celebration. Enjoy your summer!
May brings with it National Correctional Officers Week (May 2 – 8) and National Police Week (May 9 – 15) culminating with Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15. So, it is the perfect time to show your appreciation for all officers that go to work every day to provide security and to keep the peace in our communities. May is also the month for the Special Olympics Torch Run. It is scheduled for Monday, May 03, 2021, to begin at 08:00 AM at the Manuel Tapia Memorial Trail behind the county complex. As in previous years, the Sheriff’s Office will be partnering with the Nogales Police Department to participate in this great event. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office 2020-2021 D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program was a fantastic success and was completed by 5th grade students from Bracker Elementary School, Calabasas School, Elgin School, Little Red School House, Mountain View Elementary School, Patagonia School, and San Cayetano Elementary School. Because of the students’ hard work and the hard work of D.A.R.E. Instructor Deputy Alejandra Estrada, a total of 187 students graduated from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office D.A.R.E. Program this school year. Every graduated student will be receiving a D.A.R.E. Graduate Certificate, D.A.R.E. Graduate Card, D.A.R.E. Shirt, D.A.R.E. color changing cup, and a D.A.R.E. Proud Parent Bumper Sticker. Each graduate also completed a D.A.R.E. essay as well. Students choose the best essay writer of each class (a total of 15 classes) and those students are the D.A.R.E. Essay Winners. Winners will be receiving a "Best Essay of The Class” Certificate, a "Best Essay” Pin, a six-inch Daren Graduate Beany, and a surprise gift from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. Every teacher will be receiving a Certificate of Appreciation and a D.A.R.E. Gift as a token of appreciation for their time and support to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office D.A.R.E. Program. This was a challenging school year but with a lot of hard work by students and staff, the Santa Cruz County D.A.R.E. Program was a great success. The Sheriff’s Office is happy to announce that Dispatcher Crystal Hernandez has been named as the social media coordinator for the Sheriff’s Office and is doing a fantastic job putting out interesting content and great images covering what the Sheriff’s Office is up to in addition to her regular work as a dispatcher. The Sheriff’s Office is also proud to have two of its own Detention Officers (Officer Jose Peña and Officer Joel Hathaway) graduate from the rigorous Correctional Officer’s Training Academy in Tucson this month. A special thanks to Deputies Al Flores and Ronald Davis who were recognized by the Sheriff this month for special contributions made during assists to the public. Also, a big thank you to our great Search and Rescue team that was recently featured on a Telemundo special report. These volunteers selflessly give up weekends, evenings, and free time to rescue people stranded in harsh conditions and to train for that role. To wrap up on a bright note, a local Girl Scouts troop has offered to spruce up the Sheriff’s Office building by planting flowers in front. Thank you for that kind gesture! I hope you all are enjoying the nice weather as we look forward to the rainy season. All the best to you and your families!
As the weather teases us with the hope of warmer days on the horizon, the Sheriff’s Office would like to welcome the students back to school! There is a lot of excitement in the air as students relish the opportunity to re-engage with classmates, teachers, and extracurricular programs. Sheriff Hathaway and staff have had the privilege of talking to and meeting with public school officials including Desert Shadows Principal Christopher Miranda and his staff to ensure an effective relationship with the schools via the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer program upon the reopening of schools. All of the command staff at the Sheriff’s Office also had the honor of participating in the “Read Across America” program and to read to the students in various public schools throughout the county. This is an important program that allows students to hear from members of the community who stress to them the importance of reading in the pursuit of any endeavor in life. One of the schools Sheriff Hathaway read too was the Little Red School on Patagonia Highway where the Sheriff answered questions from students about the original much smaller school that was also attended by Sheriff Hathaway and his father before him. The Sheriff noted that there had been many changes made from the single building and creative recess games like freeze tag and kickball played by the students in the dirt preceding the modern facility at the location today. This month, Sheriff Hathaway had the privilege of being the guest speaker with various groups including the Rotary Club in Nogales and the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce and shared some of the new programs in the Sheriff’s Office and noteworthy accomplishments of staff. Sheriff Hathaway and Chief Deputy Mario Morales were given a very thorough tour of the Mariposa commercial port-of-entry this month by Port Director Michael Humphreys and his staff and discussed cooperative efforts with federal agencies. Sheriff Hathaway reminisced about his participation in the first opening of the Mariposa Port with a group of students while in high school in the 1970s and the second re-opening of the expanded facility in more recent years. The Sheriff’s Office has been contacted by many people interested in the volunteer Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement Assist programs. It is not too late to join as we are planning to begin training programs in the near future for both programs. The Sheriff’s Office would like to recognize important members of our team during “Administrative Professionals Week,” “National Volunteer Week,” and “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week” which all occur during the month of April. Thank you to all of these key personnel!
Sheriff David Hathaway
Besides bringing snow, the last month has also seen new outreach programs coming from the Sheriff’s Office to the community. Sergeant Chad Matthews has been designated as the first Ranch Liaison Officer for the Sheriff’s Office. In this pioneer role, he will have the responsibility of reaching out to the ranching community to see how the Sheriff’s Office can provide better service in the rural parts of the county. Sheriff Hathaway and his staff also held a “Meet the Sheriff” event at the Sonoita Fairgrounds to allow the public to hear the latest law enforcement happenings around the county and to allow the Sheriff’s Office to get input on areas of concern to the community. This month, the Sheriff’s Office is also unveiling a pilot program to combat drug overdoses in the county, by giving departing inmates training on the signs of overdose and how to counteract the effects of an overdose through the use of Narcan. Sheriff’s Deputies and Detention Officers also receive Narcan training. The Sheriff’s Office has reached out this month to establish and bolster partnerships with Heritage Medical Solutions, Circles of Peace, Hope, Inc. (formerly Wellness Connections), and Santa Cruz County Public Schools to gain community assistance regarding inmate reintegration into the community through peer counseling, prescription assistance, education programs, and other community support mechanisms. The Sheriff’s Office has welcomed on board Chief Deputy Mario Morales. He is starting his new job by learning more about community outreach programs in use by other agencies like Tucson Police Department so that the Sheriff’s Office can liaison better with the community in specialized areas such as mental health. This will allow us to deal better with a nationwide negative trend of increasing suicides and overdoses. The Sheriff’s Office is also starting a “Cold Case Squad” spearheaded by Investigator Tom Sauser. This initiative will look at old cases to see if new leads can be developed. We are also actively recruiting individuals who are interested in volunteering for the Search and Rescue Program or to be a volunteer Deputy Sheriff (Law Enforcement Assist Program). If you are interested in either of these programs, call (520) 761-7869 and ask for Lieutenant Gerardo Castillo. On a very positive note, Sheriff Hathaway gave Corporal Paul Estrada special recognition this month for helping bring a family to safety that was lost in the area of Elephant Head in the Santa Rita Mountains. If you know Paul, please thank him for this “above and beyond” effort. Also, all members of the Command Staff at the Sheriff’s Office have volunteered to participate in the upcoming “Read Across America” event in partnership with the county public schools which allows children to experience the importance and joy of reading through class interaction with community members. Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Communications Director Javier De La Ossa and Civil Officer Gabriel Almeida for their years of dedicated service as Javier moves on to an I.T. position with the county and Gabriel enters retirement. They will both be missed! Happy trails to all residents and visitors in historic and beautiful Santa Cruz County!
Sheriff David Hathaway
The old year is out and the new one is in! I hope you all had an enjoyable and safe holiday season. I am happy to be very busy in my first weeks as Sheriff. It has been a wonderful time involving a lot of official visits and radio, TV, and print media interviews on both sides of the border. I had a very personable visit and briefing with Ambassador Ricardo Santana Velázquez, Mexico’s consul in Nogales, Arizona where we discussed transnational economic, security, and cultural issues. Other visits have included meetings with the other border sheriffs and meetings with law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border. I had an especially enjoyable visit with the Chief of Police of Santa Cruz, Sonora and with the mayor of Santa Cruz. We talked about the shared history of our relatives that lived in the Lochiel / Santa Cruz area in the 1800s and the mutual history of those border communities. I casually mentioned that my great grandfather used to send his son on a burro from Lochiel to Santa Cruz 120 years ago to get a bottle of tequila and the mayor surprised me with a bottle of tequila bought in Santa Cruz. Well, I’m not a drinker, but it is a nice souvenir and reminder of my family history! I have really enjoyed interacting with the public and hearing suggestions on how we can serve the community better. I have instructed the deputies to adopt a stance of community outreach and to look for opportunities to serve all members of the community. We are also working to actively promote our county as a safe place to visit or to live in with good weather, friendly people, fine restaurants, shopping opportunities, and beautiful vistas. As the county in Arizona with the largest, busiest ports of entry with Mexico and with the historic sister cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, I am also busy supporting and promoting those important economic and cultural relationships between the two communities and two countries. Congressman Raul Grijalva and I have discussed my inclusion as a local official interacting with any Congressional working groups involved in international relations so as to enhance the voice of our communities in Congress. Please contact me with any suggestions or concerns. I give my cell phone and email out to everyone and I am glad to get your input. You are my boss! Cell: (520) 603-1028, Email: SheriffDavidHathaway@gmail.com. Have an enjoyable and blessed New Year! Sheriff David Hathaway
Welcome to Safe, Historic, and Beautiful Santa Cruz County,
Many are worried that border communities are unsafe. In the case of Santa Cruz County and the city of Nogales, we have a very safe border area. Our people are friendly and our businesses are inviting. In many ways, our county provides some relief from the stress of modern life while offering scenic vistas and milder temperatures than other parts of the state. Our annual rainfall exceeds much of Arizona. This results in more vegetation and animal life and beautiful riparian and forested areas ranging in elevation from 3,200 feet at the Santa Cruz River to over 9,000 feet in the Santa Rita Mountains. The county offers exquisite opportunities for exploring nature and unique local traditions of culture and food and people who openly embrace outsiders with gestures of friendliness. Persons who have lived in our county often return to our friendly relaxed communities after experiencing life elsewhere.
I, Sheriff David Hathaway, was born and raised in Nogales and I have lived and worked in various parts of Santa Cruz County. I can assure you that you will enjoy visiting or living in our county. Nogales and Santa Cruz County have crime rates below the average for the state. My wife Karen and I and our family would like to welcome you as a visitor or a new resident to any of our communities which range from the rural ranching and vineyard regions on the edges of the county to the border community of Nogales and the many other urban and suburban parts of the county in-between that each offer their own unique culture.
As a family with nine children, we can attest to the fact that Santa Cruz County is a great safe place to raise a family and has the advantage of offering the experience of multiple cultures and easy visits to Mexico. We are happy to welcome you and your family to our unique friendly county.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call me at 520-761-7869 at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. I look forward to welcoming you and your family to our county.
Santa Cruz County