CLIFTON — Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner has issued a statement regarding “bad choices” his juvenile son has made, though Sumner declined to say what those choices were.
Answers are also not forthcoming from the agencies assigned to addressed the actions of the child, due to the issue being sealed.
Sumner’s statement reads, “As a law enforcement officer, and particularly the sheriff, I put a lot of value in serving and protecting the community. We chose to make this place our home and have shown our love for this community through sacrifice and serving it in many ways. I believe in doing the right things for the right reasons and have strived to do my best for this county. In my pursuit of this goal and the many hours, I regret that I have neglected adequate time with my family. Our son has made some bad choices that we are now dealing with. I chose to conflict this case out to another agency to properly and impartially investigate and adjudicate while I held only the role as father. My son admitted his mistakes with deep regret, accepted the consequences, and the case has been adjudicated through juvenile court. Our family is dealing with the consequences now and our son is working to make himself a better person with a bright future. This is what we hope for anyone who makes poor choices: that they are able to deal with it appropriately by utilizing whatever resources are available and moving forward in life while learning to make better choices.
“Despite these trying circumstances, I will continue to serve you in a professional and dedicated manner while balancing work time with my family time. I have been very thankful and blessed in this position, but I do regret that my family has to be in the spotlight because of my position. I wish media would hold to an ethical standard that does not exploit children and publish speculated information from a sealed juvenile record. However, I firmly believe in our Constitution and would at any moment lay down my life in defense of our Constitution, to include the freedom of press under the 1st amendment. If I was working any other job, this would not be a news story; it would be a juvenile matter that was handled properly and wouldn't be published. Furthermore, I love my family and I am thankful that we support one another and they support my position, even knowing they are labeled and scrutinized as the sheriff's children.
“We are taking things one step at a time to move forward as a family, trusting God to strengthen and mend us. Many families struggle with all sorts of issues, and it has always been very heavy on our hearts what other families have endured, while we've sincerely prayed for them. I have always believed in helping young people make healthy life-long choices; at times, some youth have unfortunately not done so, as our own son in this circumstance. During this difficult time for us, I ask for our community's support in respecting our privacy by not sharing, gossiping, slandering, liking or otherwise perpetuating hurt upon my wife and children. Our son made a bad choice, and it is now your choice to do right or wrong in regards to this request towards my family. We all make mistakes, and we are thankful for God's grace, forgiveness and restoration. We appreciate the loving concern that many have expressed and we ask for your continued support, and especially your prayers.”
The Copper Era spoke with the Greenlee County Attorney’s Office, which confirmed that the case involving a Greenlee County official had been conflicted to another agency. In this case, the matter is being investigated by Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, with any prosecution (if required) by Matt Clifford, of Safford.
The case, which is being held in Juvenile Court, has been sealed and no information has been released by Clifford or Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
It is against the policy of the Copper Era to name minor suspects in criminal cases unless the minor is being charged as an adult. Victims, regardless of age, are also not named unless the victim wishes to be identified. The Copper Era also does not speculate on the nature of suspected crimes.