San Tan Valley Area Information

5 minutes reading time (930 words)

PCSO Blunders Country Thunder

Goode and Grant were undercover officers assigned to underage drinking.  They walked by a camp set up by off duty Tucson police officers in their RVs and arrested Julie Keyes and her husband, Ronald James Keyes, but not for underage drinking. In a scuffle, Goode’s knee was injured and he was transported to the hospital. Keyes attacked Grant and while on the ground, Grant took out his gun and pointed it at Keyes and at one of the Tucson officers.  Soon Tucson Officer, Mikeal Allen, identified himself as a policeman and told Grant to put away his gun. Julie Keyes was cited for being a public nuisance and Ronald Keyes was apprehended, arrested, taken to jail, released within hours, and returned to Country Thunder in a sheriff’s car.   Later PCSO Lt. Blake King and other deputies spoke to the off duty Tucson officers, who began to write statements, but did not finish saying, “their fingers are cold.”  Their Statement of Witness is incomplete.  Lt. King wrote an email to the Pinal County Deputy Attorney, Paul Ahler, asking for Keyes’ DPS record to be cleared.    The case was closed and no charges were made to the chagrin of Goode and Grant.

Steve Henry, who also is a candidate for Pinal County Sheriff, and is Chief Deputy, wrote an email to four people including Paul Babeu, calling Goode a leach for filing a disability discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Glenn Millsaps, a law enforcement veteran and founder of Equal Employment Anti-Discrimination, www.eead.org, observes that this incident could have been prevented, and he states, that when he becomes Sheriff of Pinal County this type of conduct will not happen. Millsaps reasons that undercover officers, with or without a side-arm, in an area where alcohol is served are not likely to have the effect law enforcement presence is intended to have.  This sort of police tactic results in poor community relations and creates an undue safety risk.

“Studies have shown that marked cars patrolling highways are more effective because they obviously control traffic safety,” Millsaps reports.  “Patrol units lying in entrapped areas on the highway do not provide the safety factor police presence is intended to accomplish.  Known police presence is a primary fundamental to effective law enforcement.”

When asked why undercover officers were sent to Country Thunder, Millsaps replies that law enforcement administrators had previous knowledge of under-age drinking at the event.  However, a better plan to combat underage drinking should have been to put officers in uniform to discourage unlawful drinking.

“This did not happen,” he notes.   “The law now requires persons who appear to be under 40 years of age to be identified before the sale of alcohol. Therefore, everyone attending Country Thunder under the age of 40 could have been carded,” Millsaps states.

“All law enforcement officers at an event like Country Thunder should have been in uniform which would have increased safety and security to the participants, which in turn would prevent under-age drinking on the premises. That would be the anticipated influence of law enforcement at the event.”

Millsaps speculates, “If a uniformed officer who did not know the other officers were undercover could have responded by shooting the plain clothes lawmen by mistake.  When uniformed officers observe a person in plain clothes pointing a weapon at a person unarmed, this also can endanger the public as well. It’s all about public safety. The tactics of law enforcement in this matter are contrary to best practices and public safety.”

Millsaps goes further and says, “A person in need of assistance can’t turn to an undercover officer, but will easily recognize a uniformed official.”

One of Millsaps proposed community policing programs involves working with local businesses in setting up police substations in stores.  This would invariably save money on the need for more substations in order to include police presence in the community.  This has proven to reduce armed robberies and thefts while providing quicker response time to crimes in progress.

Therefore, Country Thunder needs assigned uniformed officers to deter underage drinking.  When off duty officers decide to attend the event, their cooperation is elicited.  When arrests are made, deputies need not take matters and decide on a new set of rules to expedite cases.  Clearing DPS records are not to be asked for.  Employees filing grievances are not to be disparaged.

“It is again another blunder at Country Thunder by the hapless employees of Pinal County, “Millsaps observes.

If you would like more information or to schedule an interview, call Millsaps at 520.251.5119 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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