The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-to-2 Tuesday to approve the request for an independent investigation into Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, following accusations he failed to investigate his department’s conduct after an alleged sexual assault of a female deputy by her superior last year.

Either the Arizona Attorney General’s Office or the Arizona Department of Public Safety will oversee the the investigation. This comes on the heels of a statement by the Pima County Deputy’s Organization, accusing Nanos of neglecting to look into the slow response to the alleged assault.

In a statement provided to the media, Pima County Sheriff’s Department says it cannot comment in detail on the case at this time due to a related open civil claim. PCSD did reiterate its investigation into the accused sexual assailant, former Sergeant Ricardo Garcia, began very shortly after the alleged assault took place, Dec. 17 of 2022.

Garcia was subsequently arrested, charged and fired from the department.

Voting in favor were Supervisors Matt Heinz of District 1, Steve Christy (D4) and Sharon Bronson (D3).

“As a member of the public, as well and a person with four sisters, it’s what I would like to have happenif, God forbid, one of my sisters were potentially the survivor of such an alleged assault,” Heinz told me after the vote.

Members of the public in attendance spoke in favor of an independent investigation as well:

What’s worse is that the chief who has been condemned for not taking action during the rape is now the chief in charge of Internal Affairs. How will anyone in this county have reliable faith in that internal investigation? We must get an outside agency, number one, to do the actual criminal investigation. This is one of the big threemurder, robbery rapes. You don’t do your own investigation in such.

The Pima County Deputy’s Organization asked Nanos last week to immediately launch an investigation into how the victim’s lieutenant, captain and chief, handled the reported sexual assault involving two of their own personnel.

The Deputy’s Organization alleges the Sheriff’s Department personnel refused to intervene for more than 80 minutes while the victim was allegedly being sexually assaulted by her superior, Sergeant Ricardo Garcia, during a private party at his home in December 2022.

Below is the full statement from PCSD:

The Pima County Sheriffs Departments (PCSD) handling of internal issues around the Ricardo Garcia sexual assault investigation has been questioned by recent claims in a media release issued by an employee organization. Much has been made of this including a number of concerns raised at todays Board of Supervisors meeting. On December 17, 2022, the Sheriffs Departments began its investigation into alleged criminal behavior which resulted in the arrest and indictment of Ricardo Garcia. The Sheriff has extended support to the victim throughout this process and investigative staff is engaged in the pending prosecution. The Sheriffs Department has investigated all manner of crimes, including occasionally cases naming department members as suspects. Many of those cases have resulted in arrests, prosecutions, and dismissals. Contrary to the opinions of some, it is not necessary to ask other agencies to investigate every time a department member is accused of a crime. On June 15, 2023, a civil notice of claim came to the sheriffs attention which raised concerns about the handling of the case internally. When a notice of this type is received, legal counsel is engaged to advise and represent the department and the sheriff. That legal counsel also advises the sheriff on how to proceed with requests for information related to such cases. Often that advice is to not comment until issues are addressed in the proper court. On July 31, 2023, an IA complaint was filed with concerns directly related to those outlined in the civil notice of claim and legal counsel was immediately contacted. In this instance and any other criminal cases, the department administrative inquiries follow the completion of criminal cases. With open civil claims, administrative inquiries also hold, as facts and witnesses must be preserved and available for the civil proceedings. Administrative efforts can interfere with court proceedings if engaged in prematurely. In all cases of a sensitive nature the Sheriffs Department places a high priority on preserving the privacy and dignity of crime victims. These principles guide us in this case. Requests for outside reviews and demands for transparency are understandable and the department offers full cooperation. This does not eliminate the concerns previously mentioned, including that of preserving the integrity of the criminal prosecution and the dignity of the victim. The sensational claims covered in the media do not reflect the facts of this case or the decisions of this office. We shall proceed with our principles in mind.