Paul Babeu

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Paul Babeu
Paul Babeu by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Babeu in December 2011.
Sheriff of Pinal County
Assumed office
January 1, 2009
Preceded by Chris Vasquez
Personal details
Born Paul Raymond Babeu
(1969-02-03) February 3, 1969 (age 45)
North Adams, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Occupation Law enforcement officer

Paul Raymond Babeu (pronounced BAB-you;[1] born February 3, 1969) is the elected sheriff of Pinal County in the U.S. state of Arizona. First voted into office in 2008 by defeating the Democratic incumbent, Babeu became the first Republican Sheriff elected in the history of Pinal County.[2] He has received national media attention for speaking out against illegal immigration,[3] the unsecured U.S. border with Mexico, and Operation Fast and Furious gun smuggling facilitated by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[4]

In October 2011, Babeu announced the formation of an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Congress,[5] but later withdrew following a controversy. He instead won re-election to a second term as sheriff on November 6, 2012.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Babeu was born on February 3, 1969, in North Adams, Massachusetts, to Raymond and Helen Babeu. Raymond Babeu was a longtime employee of the area's electric utility who was also active in local politics. Paul Babeu was tenth of eleven children born into the family.[1] Babeu has spoken of being molested for several years as a child by at least two Catholic priests, including Richard R. Lavigne.[7][8]

Babeu holds an associate's degree in law enforcement from the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy. He also holds a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a summa cum laude master of public administration from American International College.[9]


Massachusetts politics[edit]

At age 17, while still in high school, Babeu campaigned against a proposed raise for North Adams, Massachusetts, City Council members. The council reduced the pay hike and Babeu, running as an independent, turned his effort into a successful campaign and was elected to City Council at the age of 18.[1] In 1992, Babeu was elected to a four-year term as a Berkshire County, Massachusetts, commissioner.[10]

At the end of this term in 1996, Babeu ran for a seat in the Massachusetts Senate based in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin. He won the Republican nomination against Peter Abair. He lost in the general election to Democrat Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr. 55%-42%.[11]

In 1997, he ran for mayor of North Adams against incumbent Democrat John Barrett III. In the open primary, Babeu ranked first but failed to reach the 50% threshold. He led Barrett by just 145 votes.[12] In the general election, Barrett won re-election and defeated Babeu 53%-47%,[1] a difference of just 353 votes, in an election with an unusually high turnout rate of 75% among registered voters. In 2001, Babeu ran for a rematch against Barrett, but lost again.[1][10]

DeSisto School Executive[edit]

Babeu served as headmaster and later as executive director of DeSisto School in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, from 1999 to 2001. The school went bankrupt in 2004, following the death of its founder Michael DeSisto.[13] The school was in a long legal fight with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over licensing, allegations of child abuse, a Commonwealth-imposed enrollment freeze, and accusations of failing to create a safe environment for its students. Babeu stated that he had never been the target of an investigation or lawsuit and "was recognized for helping restore financial stability of the school", although the school itself was investigated by the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services in 2000 for allegations of abuse.[14][15] [16]

National Guard[edit]

Babeu joined the Massachusetts National Guard as a 21-year-old. He started his service as a private and rose through the ranks to major in the Arizona Army National Guard. During his tenure he served a tour in Iraq and spent 17 months deployed in Arizona as a commander with Operation Jump Start (Southwest Border Mission). From 2006 to 2007, Babeu spent 17 months as commander of Task Force Yuma supervising 700 soldiers, where they supported the United States Border Patrol to achieve operational control and reduce illegal immigration. Babeu retired in September 2010 after 20 years of service.[10]

Chandler Patrolman[edit]

In 2002, he then moved to Arizona to pursue a law enforcement career as a police officer for the city of Chandler, Arizona. He graduated from the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy as the #1 overall police recruit and voted by his fellow officers as the class exemplary officer.[9]

Babeu was awarded two Life Saving Medals in the performance of his duties as a patrolman in Chandler. Babeu served as the Police Association president for the Chandler Police Department and on the board of directors for the Arizona Police Association.[9]

Pinal County Sheriff[edit]

Babeu campaigned for the office of Pinal County Sheriff in 2008 and defeated Democratic incumbent Chris Vasquez, 54% to 46%.[17] He was the first Republican sheriff elected in the history of the county (founded in 1875).[18]

In 2009, Babeu reorganized the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, replacing the entire command leadership. He has since implemented strict employee standards, reduced emergency response times by 40%, and has sought and been awarded nearly $7 million in grants. He also honored a campaign promise to remove speed cameras from the county.[19]

Babeu is President of the Arizona Sheriffs' Association[20] and was named the National Sheriff of the Year in 2011 by the National Sheriffs' Association.[21] Babeu is Arizona's youngest sheriff and leads the third largest sheriff's office in Arizona with 700 full-time employees.[9]

Babeu has been an outspoken critic of the Federal government on the issue of illegal immigration. According to Babeu's website, "Pinal County is the number one pass through county in all of America for drug and human smuggling."[22] He reported, "Pinal County contains an estimated 75-100 drug cartel cells and listening posts/observation posts, used to facilitate the illegal transportation of people and narcotics into the United States."[22] Babeu also helped U.S. Senator John McCain and U.S. Senator Jon Kyl draft their "10-Point Border Security Plan".[23]

In late 2010, Babeu was asked by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in his own department. This 6-month long detailed search led to the termination of Arpaio's top two deputies.[24]

2012 Congressional election and controversy[edit]

On October 23, 2011, Babeu announced the formation of an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Congress in what would become Arizona's newly redrawn 4th congressional district.[25]

The following February, Jose Orozco stepped forward with several claims about Babeu. Orozco claimed that Babeu and Orozco had been lovers since meeting in 2006 on an online dating site. Orozco claimed that Babeu had known that he was an undocumented immigrant while they were lovers, at odds with Babeu's public hardline anti-immigration stance. After the relationship ended, Orozco claims that Babeu threatened Orozco with deportation to guarantee his silence. Orozco claimed his statements are documented in copies of email and SMS correspondence between Orozco and Babeu.[26]

A spokesman for Babeu denied the allegation and described them as "sensationalist." The spokesman confirmed that Babeu would continue to run for U.S. Congress.[27] Babeu came out as gay on February 18, 2012, but claimed his sexual orientation was the only factual statement from the allegations.[28] Babeu stepped down as co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Arizona, but received the continued support of U.S. Senator John McCain, who called Babeu his friend.[29]

Babeu dropped his Congressional bid on May 11, 2012 and instead sought re-election as sheriff.[30] He was re-elected by a large margin on November 6, 2012.[6]

On August 31, 2012, the Arizona Solicitor General exonerated Babeu after an investigation. In a written statement, he wrote ""The investigation determined that Babeu did not commit any criminal violations and further concluded that, although Orozco conducted himself in a manner that may constitute a violation of the law, there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction on anything more than a misdemeanor charge. It would be an inappropriate use of already-limited resources to prosecute Orozco for a misdemeanor."[31]


  1. ^ a b c d e Steller, Tim; McCombs, Brady (May 23, 2010). "Babeu is new face of Arizona sheriffs". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ Edythe Jensen (November 20, 2008). "Sheriff-elect Babeu won't finish year with Chandler police". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  3. ^ Paul Babeu (May 26, 2011). "Babeu: Obama has failed to protect border". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  4. ^ "Fast and Furious: Should Eric Holder Resign?". October 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  5. ^ Paul Babeu (October 23, 2011). "Will you support me for Congress?". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  6. ^ a b Lockhart, Larry (November 7, 2012). "Pinal County: Babeu leads GOP push". Casa Grande Dispatch. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Babeu says he was victim of priest abuse". March 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Arizona sheriff Paul Babeu, originally from Western Mass., resigns from Mitt Romney's Arizona campaign after misconduct allegations by former lover". The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). February 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d PCSO (November 24, 2011). "About Sheriff Paul Babeu". PCSO. Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  10. ^ a b c "Border Boletín: Who is Paul Babeu?". May 23, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  11. ^ "MA State Senate - Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire & Franklin Race". Our Campaigns. November 5, 1996. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  12. ^ "It's official: Barrett and Babeu will square off again in race for mayor of North Adams". August 8, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Babeu kicks off his campaign with event at the Holiday Inn". September 19, 2001. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Documents: Babeu ran private boarding school with history of physical abuse". 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  17. ^ (November 12, 2008). "Pinal County 2008 General Election Results". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  18. ^ (2009). "2009-2010 Pinal County Budget Book". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  19. ^ PCSO (January 23, 2011). "About PCSO - Sheriff". PCSO. Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  20. ^ "Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu Elected to Second Term as President of Arizona Sheriff's Association". January 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  21. ^ National Sheriffs' Association (June 19, 2011). "Sheriff of the Year". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  22. ^ a b (November 24, 2011). "Meet Paul". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  23. ^ (April 20, 2010). "Senators McCain and Kyl Announce Border Security Plan". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  24. ^ JJ Hensley (April 14, 2011). "Joe Arpaio aide investigation finished by Babeu". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  25. ^ (November 24, 2011). "Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  26. ^ Monica Alonzo (2012-02-16). "Paul Babeu's Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff's Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation (''Phoenix New Times'')". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  27. ^ Catanese, David (February 18, 2012). "Babeu bombshell: Gay relationship & deportation threats, report says". The Politico. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  28. ^ Martin, Nick R. (February 18, 2012). "Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu Angrily Denies Ex-Boyfriend's Accusations". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Will recent allegations damage Babeu's political future?". KTVK. February 19, 2012. 
  30. ^ Sheriff Babeu Abandons Race for Arizona Congressional Seat. Fox News Latino. 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  31. ^ Sanders, Rebekah L.; Collum, Lindsey (August 31, 2012). "Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu exonerated". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Chris Vasquez
Sheriff of Pinal County