Statement on death of Rep. Frank Pratt

County Attorney Kent Volkmer released the following statement on the death of Arizona state Representative Frank Pratt this week:

“Frank Pratt was a tireless advocate for his constituents. His passing is an enormous loss for Pinal County, as he was a great legislator and an even better human being. May he find eternal peace.”

9/11 message on 20-year mark

FLORENCE – 20 years ago, thousands of Americans lost their lives in the horrific terror attacks on September 11th, 2001.

County Attorney Kent Volkmer has the following message as the country remembers the events and lives lost on 9/11.

Diversion Program surpasses 1,400 successful cases

FLORENCE – More than 1,400 people have successfully completed the Diversion Program since it returned to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office in 2017.

The Diversion Program provides a path for some defendants to earn the ability to avoid a potential conviction, while learning tools to prevent similar problems from reappearing later in life.

The mission of the diversion program is to “…reduce recidivism, advance justice, and promote community safety through the use of evidence-based programs and effective community supervision tailored to the risks and needs of each individual.”

One recent participant who successfully completed the program is Jarrett, a man who lives in Florence.

“I think I’ve only had one traffic ticket,” he said. “I’ve never been in trouble before.”

That changed one day last year, after an incident left Jarrett facing an assault charge.

“[I was] terrified,” he said. “Terrified.”

Jarrett feared going to jail.

“The true gravity of the situation I put myself into became real,” he said.

Jarrett became eligible for the Diversion Program, which consists of a variety of requirements, such as treatment and/or community service, tailored to each individual participant.

“I just felt like I probably deserved jail but I don’t think jail would have done me a lot of good,” Jarrett said.

The Diversion Program encourages positive behavior change in order to deter any possible future incidents.

“Not everybody is eligible for Diversion,” said Diversion Officer Nicole Buccellato. “Normally, it’s first time offenders that have a chance of, once their record is clean, living a productive adult life.”

Buccellato worked with Jarrett to come up with a plan for his individual case.

In general, Buccellato said the goal is to try and find the root cause of what sparked a particular incident.

“A lot of factors go into that, what happened on that night, what do they admit to,” she said. “They could have a substance abuse problem where they only possibly…hit their partner or break things when they’re drunk. So, rather than send them straight to [domestic violence] classes, we may have them do a substance abuse class first.”

Jarrett was given a plan to follow.

“She came to the conclusion that my drinking was the catalyst for the problem that I put myself into,” Jarrett said. “Which, at that time, I thought was a bunch of crap.”

Jarrett said while hesitant at first, he warmed up to the Diversion Program and was enrolled in a recovery program and attended private counseling.

“To my surprise, when I put my nose down and called the alcohol program, it surprised me how intense it was,” Jarrett said. “It made me immediately realize, by talking to the people, that I did have an issue going on.”

Buccellato noted Jarrett’s success while going through the Diversion Program.

“I don’t think he missed one treatment,” she said. “Never was late on one payment.”

The Diversion Program can also include community service. A back-to-school drive several weeks ago netted dozens of backpacks and other supplies provided by participants. The supplies then went to the Casa Grande Alliance, which distributes those items to the community.

Buccellato looks forward to helping each participant she meets become successful in the program.

 “I’ve lived in Pinal County my whole entire life,” she said. “This is my neighborhood, this is my area and these people are in this county, which affects all of us.”

Jarrett successfully completed the Diversion Program and has advice for others who might be as hesitant as he was at first.

“Get honest with yourself, please,” he said. “You didn’t get into that predicament, or whatever predicament you’re in, for no reason at all.”

It is rare for defendants to be unsuccessful in completing the Diversion Program. Since 2017, prosecution has only resumed on 292 cases.

Jarrett is looking forward to his future.

“Back to my old life, minus the drinking,” Jarrett said. “Got my wife back, got my life back, my son is happy, I’m good.”

Community group helping pick up trash

CASA GRANDE – The Pinal County Attorney’s Office would like to extend a special thank you to community members who are going above and beyond to pitch in and pick up trash in their neighborhoods. 

One such group is located in Casa Grande. 

“This is our town,” said resident Megan Sanders. “We should take pride in it.”

Sanders helped start a grassroots group that organizes a community cleanup every few weeks around Casa Grande. The group, titled Rooster Club Desert Clean-Up, decides what locations to target and consists of more than 200 members, and counting, who have joined their Facebook page. 

“It was, ‘it needs to get done and if no one else is going to do it, we’re going to step up and do it,” Sanders said of the initiative to begin the cleanups. 

The group’s latest cleanup occurred this past Saturday, at the intersection of McCartney Road and Pinal Avenue in Casa Grande. 

“A lot of us that have founded the group are the ones who have bought trash bags,” Sanders said. “We’ve paid for dump fees.”

Sanders’ son Brody, 12, also takes part in the cleanup effort. 

“It’s been really fun,” Brody Sanders said. “It’s a good way to bring the community together.”

As you might imagine, the group comes across all sorts of trash and improperly disposed of items during their cleanups. 

“Mattresses, shelving…couches,” Sanders said. “Pillows, trash, stacks of bills that should be shredded.”

That’s not all. 

“We found a whole entire boat,” Brody Sanders said. 

That brought about a little laugh. 

“Yeah, there was a boat,” Megan Sanders said. 

The group is planning another community cleanup in September, although the exact location is yet to be determined. They are looking for others to join, and have seen increased interest as their effort grows and after they were recently featured in a local news story. They hope to continue making a difference while also encouraging those who are dumping the trash and debris to stop. 

“We as adults can do better,” Sanders said. “Ultimately, that’s what I hope, is that if we each do a little bit better, there will be less and less trash.”

Pinal County is actively working to ensure residents have adequate information on how – and where – to properly dispose of items. Pinal County is also working to enhance measures to target offenders. Additional information and resources will be rolling out in the coming weeks to further address the issue.

Illegal Desert Dumping

Drive around Pinal County and you have likely come across tires, mattresses or other bulky items dumped in the desert.

Illegal dumping is not only an eye sore in our beautiful county, but it often occurs close to residential homes or properties.

County Attorney Kent Volkmer is working to address this issue. Going forward, there will be a focus on community cleanups, finding additional alternative options for residents who need to dispose of old and bulky items, as well as targeting offenders.

You can also find information on illegal dumping on the Pinal County website.

See below a message from County Attorney Kent Volkmer, as well as pictures of illegally dumped items.

Let’s keep Pinal County a pristine place to live and play.

 

Old recliner left in the desert

 

Couch, mattresses and an old tv left in a dirt lot

 

Items left in the desert near a well marked ‘No Dumping’ sign

 

Tires left along the side of the road

 

Mattress left in the desert

 

Another mattress left in the desert

Community Shred-A-Thon

The public is invited to attend a community Shred-A-Thon that is scheduled for October 16 in Superior, Arizona.

“The best assistance that I can provide to you as a victim of identity theft is to do everything we can to prevent you from ever being a victim,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer. “Once your identity is stolen, there is very little we can do to make you whole or give you your life back. ”

 

WHEN: October 16, 2021

TIME: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. 

LOCATION: Superior Town Hall, 199 N. Lobb   Superior, AZ

 

Top 5 documents to SHRED:

-Old Tax and IRS Documents
-Old Bills with account information
-Old Records with name, social security, addresses
-Old Medical Records
-Old Bank Records

We also take back old or unused prescription medication, as well.  Homes are no longer broken into to steal jewelry or big screen tv’s.  Thieves are now looking primarily for guns and prescription meds that they can quickly sell.

You are also encouraged to bring items for donation in support of Domestic Violence Awareness month (October). Donated items will go to help Pinal County abuse shelters. Items include toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, shampoo, soap and feminine products.

 

 

‘Water Days’ in Arizona City

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office would like to thank the Arizona City Fire District and Chief Jeff Heaton for putting on ‘Water Days’ for kids in the community throughout the Summer. The event is held three days each week during the Summer and provides families a great option for food and fun.

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office is proud to sponsor lunch for the kids on Fridays throughout the month of July.

County Attorney Kent Volkmer and other agency staff stopped by the event last week. Pictures and video from the visit are below. The kids had a great time!

 

Good Samaritan Drug Law

Reminder: Arizona has a Good Samaritan drug law that can help save lives. The statute protects victims of overdose as well as those who call for medical help while present during an overdose.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have been more than 9,800 suspected Opioid deaths statewide since June 2017.

During a drug-induced overdose, time is of the essence. Do not be afraid to call for help.

Below is a message from County Attorney Kent Volkmer.

Oracle Arizona Adds A New Little Free Pantry

Have you heard of a Little Free Pantry? The Oracle Fire District and several volunteers are excited to open the first one in Pinal County. Located at the Oracle, AZ Community Center, organizers hope that those in need will be able to find food, toiletries, and pet supplies that they are unable to purchase for themselves during these difficult times. The pantry is entirely free and stocked by members of the community. If you’d like to learn more about creating a pantry, visit littlefreepantry.org

Scam Alert!

Florence, Arizona – The Pinal County Elections Department has heard from some voters about receiving calls to correct early ballot signatures and asking for your Social Security Number. The elections department does not ask for an SSN when they contact voters about mismatched signatures on early ballots. If you are a Pinal County voter and receive a call like this, please hang up the phone and call the Pinal County elections department directly. You must never give your social security number to anyone you don’t know over the phone.