Graham Board OKs County Attorney sharing RICO funds with Safford PD

- Lukas Vanatko Photo/Unsplash

SAFFORD — The Graham County Attorney’s Office, with approval of the Graham County Board of Supervisors, is making money available to help keep Safford Police officers a little bit safer.

On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved the request of County Attorney L. Scott Bennett to use $1,743.87 in RICO funds for a spotlight for the Safford Police Department’s drone.

“Just by way of example, they (SPD) had a case where they had an individual who was suicidal, was in a car, they had been advised had guns and it was in an open area,” Bennett said. “The challenge the officers had, if they got too close to the armed suspect, he may start to fire on them.

“They were able to send the drone in and confirm, unfortunately in this case, he was deceased,” he continued, “but had he not been, they would have known the situation and, ultimately, it had the potential of saving officer lives.”

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act allows for the seizure of assets a convicted person obtained as a resulting of the criminal racketeering activity.

The RICO act covers a wide array of state crimes, including murder, robbery, dealing in controlled substances, arson, extortion, bribery, gambling and dealing in obscene materials. Conviction requires at least two acts of racketeering activity.