January 18, 2024 / Modified jan 18, 2024 4:29 p.m.

Deputy’s union releases vote of no confidence over Sheriff Nanos

The Sheriff cast doubt on the organization’s validity in response to their letter to voters.

Chris Nanos hero Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos.
Pima County Sheriff's Department

A sheriff’s deputy organization of over 200 members has voted “no confidence” in Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, citing a toxic, retaliatory workplace.

In a statement published on their social media, the Pima County Deputy’s Organization said Nanos’ “usual management method” of “retaliation to force silence” contributes to low department morale, employee retention problems, and a deadlier Pima County Jail.

“This vote was really a call to the voters of Pima County that we have real problems. And we believe that we need a change of leadership,” PCDO leader Aaron Cross said.

Cross said the organization had 150 members when the vote took place in August. Out of 86 deputies that chose to vote, only one voted in favor of the Sheriff.

Although voters were granted anonymity, many members chose to abstain due to fear of more retaliation, Cross said.

In response to the letter, Nanos claimed Cross’ organization did not have significant membership and was also not legitimate because its members don’t pay dues.

“You're not allowed to make up facts,” Nanos said. “I don't believe his numbers are representative of the larger numbers in this department. We have four other organizations who are members of this department who all say they support the Sheriff.”

AZPM obtained a list of the now 206 members of PCDO from December 2023. The organization requested this list remain unpublished to protect its members. Cross said there are around 370 total deputies employed at PCSD.

PCDO is a chapter of the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs, or AZCOPS. According to an authorization agreement form obtained by AZPM, members pay monthly dues of $35 from their personal bank accounts.

The other four labor organizations, including the Pima County Sheriff’s Association, the Pima Corrections Labor Group, Pima Corrections Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police, withdraw dues directly from employees’ paychecks, Cross said.

AZCOPS form VIEW LARGER An authorization form from the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs given to new members for the withdrawal of monthly dues.

“I think if 86 people are willing to say that they have no confidence in Sheriff Nanos, he should be paying attention to that, instead of how many they are relative to the overall group,” he said.

PCDO’s statement also reiterated its previous stance that Nanos mishandled an alleged sexual assault of a female deputy by her supervisor in Dec. 2022. Nanos is currently under investigation by the Arizona Attorney General’s office over this case.

In September, Nanos withdrew security from the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ meetings after the Board began discussing that potential investigation.

With the vote public, and Nanos up for re-election this year, Cross said he expects more fallout.

“My board fully expects there to be some form of retaliation as a result of bringing this to the public's attention,” he said. “But since our agency head is voted in, it's entirely up to the voters, what they would like to do.”

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