Al Flores

While the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office normally redacts names and other sensitive information from the dispatch reports it provides the NI each day, the report of calls received on Jan. 3 included one entry in which all information had been blacked out – a previously unseen practice. When asked why the entry had been completely redacted, a department spokesman said it was related to a “high-profile investigation,” adding that “uncovering any details of the case would compromise the integrity of the investigation, as it involves personnel of a local fire department.” Two days after the call was received, the Rio Rico Fire District put Chief Al Flores on leave, saying only that the move had come in response to an “alleged disciplinary matter.”

Last September, the Rio Rico Fire District hired Al Flores, a 21-year veteran of the department, as its new chief. A little more than three months later, he was put on leave during an emergency board meeting. On March 15, he was fired.

RRFD leadership has been mostly silent about the reason for Flores’ termination – which he appealed and later renegotiated as a retirement – saying only that a firefighter had filed a complaint against him and an investigation by an outside lawyer found he violated an unspecified district policy.

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