A video has appeared on You Tube in which a candidate for La Paz County Sheriff is highly critical of another candidate for the same office. Independent candidate Mike Roth has posted a video entitled “The Truth About William Ponce Revealed” which brings up a Bureau of Indian Affairs investigation that claimed Ponce was guilty of “conduct unbecoming an officer” when he was Police Chief of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.
Ponce has replied that Roth is bringing up allegations that are five years old for political purposes.
“They’ve already been resolved,” he said.
Ponce, the Republican candidate for Sheriff, is currently Quartzsite Police Chief.
Roth cites BIA case KOL 120-15-275, which he claimed showed Ponce had sex while on duty and he attempted to terminate another officer, the boyfriend of the woman he was having sex with. He also said Ponce was being investigated by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards & Training Board (AzPOST).
“Has anybody heard that?” Roth asks in the video. “Has he told the voters that?”
Ponce stated he was not being investigated by AzPOST. He said Roth filed a complaint, and AzPOST is trying to determine if they should reopen an old investigation.
Roth stated in the video that, in the military, “conduct unbecoming an officer” is grounds for a court martial or a discharge. Ponce said that, in law enforcement, conduct unbecoming an officer is considered a low level offense.
Ponce noted multiple agencies have checked out his background.
“I’ve been vetted by the State of Arizona to be a police officer,” he said. “I’ve been vetted by the FBI Academy. I cleared a background check by the Town of Quartzsite when they were hiring me there. All these government entities wouldn’t leave any stones unturned.”
In the video, Roth claims Ponce learned his bad behavior from former Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, and that Ponce was Gilbert’s “protégé” when he was a Quartzsite Police Officer.
Ponce replied that he was the officer leading a revolt against Gilbert in the Quartzsite Police Department. This is confirmed by news reports from 2011, when there was political turmoil in Quartzsite. At the center of it was Mayor Ed Foster on one side and established members of the Town Council on the other side.
It was during this time that Ponce and other officers accused Gilbert of misconduct. These officers became known as the “Quartzsite 10.” Roth, who had several run-ins with the law during this time, was on the side of Foster, Ponce and the Quartzsite 10.
Ponce said he believes the video was made for political purposes.
“I believe this is 100 percent political,” he said.
Roth stated in the video he felt compelled to make it because of what he had learned.
“I wish I didn’t have to do this,” he said.
Roth said anyone who knew of any wrongdoing or misconduct by a law enforcement officer should contact AzPOST.