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Source of $6 million donation to CCSO & SVPD? Howard G Buffett [Foundation], Willcox-area experimental farm owner, billionaire’s son

Private funds will evidently be used to upgrade local law enforcement radio systems [160 mobile radios to SVPD, 400 to CCSO]

August 15, 2013

by David M Morgan

The Howard G Buffett Foundation is the source of a more than $6 million private contribution to local law enforcement agencies [Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and Sierra Vista Police Department], as evidenced by documents obtained through public records requests.

In a July 2013  interview with CochiseTV.com,  Sheriff Mark Dannels said he had recently picked up a check for $6 million to be used for upgrading local law enforcement communications systems.  Dannels said in follow-up conversation that the source was “local” and wished to remain anonymous.

$6_million_check,_Buffett_to_CCSO

The Buffett foundation’s website notes  ” [our] primary mission is to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations.”   The website says that Buffett has a 1,400 acre research farm in Arizona.

An April 2013 article in the Arizona Daily Star [AP] explains Buffett’s interest in an experimental farm in the Willcox, AZ area.

The article notes that Buffett previously donated $900,000 for a Cochise County shooting range to be named for the late Sheriff Larry Dever.  The range is planned for an area adjacent to the CCSO facilities in Bisbee.

The check dated 07-08-2013 and deposited by the Cochise County Treasurer on July 11, 2013 is signed by Trisha Cook, identified on the Foundation’s website as Operations Director and Treasurer.  The amount of $6,042,541.00 appears to be based upon a capital budget proposal made by Sheriff Dannels. 

A memo outlining a May 29, 2013 telephone conversation between Buffett, Foundation Treasurer Cook, Dannels, SVPD Chief Tom Alinen, CCSO Commander Mark Genz, Brian Adamson and SVPD’s Susan Papatrefon provides a breakdown of costs and funding sources.

Adamson is apparently a communications network engineer in the employ of the county.

Motorola APX7500 mobile unit, from Motorola website
Motorola APX7500 mobile unit, from Motorola website

The memorandum indicates that radio replacement and dispatch center upgrades are to include 8 dispatch console positions [4 CCSO, 4 SVPD], a simulcast system with 8 transmit/receive sites, 2 additional receive-only sites, 280 portable radios plus 280 mobile radios.  Motorola equipment is indicated.  SVPD is slated to get 80 of each style of radio and CCSO to get 200 of each.

The memo indicates an HGB contribution to City of Sierra Vista in the amount of $1,534,764. and an HGB contribution to County of $4,4447,776. [Ed. Note:  The check received is for $60,001. more than the total of those amounts.]

A June 4, 2013 e-mail from Sheriff Dannels to County Administrator Mike Ortega and others in county administration indicates that an additional contribution of $3.5 million is expected in 2015 but does not specify if it is from the same source.

A week later Ortega asks, via e-mail, of Brian Adamson “exactly what we are doing and what value this brings to us.”

Requests to the offices of the Foundation and the Sheriff’s Office asking for additional information and/or comment were not answered by late afternoon Thursday [Aug 15, 2012].

Motorola APX7000 handheld radio, from Motorola website

Motorola APX7000 handheld radio, from Motorola website

 

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Canyon State Wireless, based in Sierra Vista, AZ [with operations noted in Globe, AZ and Albuquerque, NM] is the authorized Motorola full service dealer and service center for this region.

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