- Officer Nick Erfle’s widow asks David Stringer to “Just stop.”
- Phoenix Police Lieutenant Larry Jacobs states that Sheila Polk has no connection to Officer Erfle’s death
- Officer Erfle was killed by an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported, but returned illegally
- David Stringer’s latest campaign against Polk includes photos of victims, including Officer Erfle, that have nothing to do with Polk or the Yavapai County Attorney’s office
Almost thirteen years ago, Lieutenant Larry Jacobs was listening to another plea from Officer Nick Erfle. It was Jacob’s birthday, and Officer Erfle had returned from a difficult, life-threatening battle with cancer. Erfle was assigned to desk duty as he eased back into police work. But, Erfle wanted to return to patrol.
Jacobs felt an affection for Officer Erfle - he had been through so much and worked so hard to return. Jacobs wanted Erfle to take it easy for a while, but Erfle was persistent. Not only that, but Erfle was a good cop, observant and smart. Erfle had served on the Phoenix Police Department for eight years.
According to Officer Erfle's wife, Julie, he had been back on patrol for almost a year. He requested a change in squads a few weeks prior to his death.
Jacobs assigned him to a two-man unit and to a neighborhood that wasn’t known for a lot of crime.
The succinct description of what happened the afternoon of September 18 is on the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association website.
"Officer Nick Erfle was shot after he and his partner approached three people for jaywalking and obstructing traffic on 24th Street, one block north of Thomas Road. One man gave a fictitious name that had a misdemeanor warrant and as they attempted to take him into custody, the suspect drew a weapon and shot Officer Erfle. He was rushed to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center where he died from his injuries an hour later. The suspect then carjacked a vehicle and took the driver hostage. About an hour later, an unmarked special assignments unit spotted a car and suspect matching the carjacked vehicle’s description. They began surveillance and managed to box in the vehicle at 27th Avenue and McDowell Road. The suspect pointed his gun at the hostage and he was shot and killed by an officer.”
Jacobs was devastated. He was the first one on the scene and immediately set up a Command Post putting out an urgent BOLO to find the suspect. Within a couple of hours, they located the suspect with a hostage. When the Police Officer saw him point the gun at the hostage, the Officer shot and killed the suspect to protect the victim.
The suspect was later identified as an illegal alien with a felony record. He had been deported (not released, deported) in 2006, and illegally re-entered the country.
Jacobs was part of the Honor Guard at Erfle’s funeral. Jacobs and his wife, ViciLee, both knew Nick and Julie Erfle and the challenges they had already faced during Nicks's cancer treatment and recovery. For Erfle to survive that, and then this? “For months, I kept going over it in my mind and saying, ‘What if…’” Jacobs said. “He was more than just another officer. We kept in close contact with him during his cancer treatment and recovery. When he was unable to attend a Departmental Awards ceremony, we took the whole squad over to his home to personally present an Honors Medal that he had previously earned. He was someone I had mentored and I had such deep respect for him.”
David Stringer has sent out at least 9 mailers during this campaign, all of which attack his opponent, Sheila Polk.
In most cases, we would show you the mailer and video in question, but out of respect for the family,
we have decided not to help proliferate the material.
Fast forward from September 18, 2007 to July 28, 2020. Larry and ViciLee Jacobs have now moved to Prescott since Larry retired from the Phoenix Police Department. It’s election season, and the toughest race in the community is between David Stringer and Sheila Polk for County Attorney.
Suddenly, every emotion floods back for ViciLee, because she sees a video ad for David Stringer, who is challenging incumbent County Attorney Sheila Polk.
Stringer is running an uphill campaign, largely due to the fact that he resigned from his seat in the State Legislature about fifteen months ago. Stringer was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly making racist comments. During their Ethics investigation, information came to light that Stringer had been charged with sexual conduct with two teen-aged boys in 1983. Stringer took a plea deal and later had his record expunged. The information was salacious and damning, and a certain letter from the DC Bar Association that supposedly would help to exonerate him, had been placed under seal by the judge. When faced with a choice of ignoring a subpoena or going against the Judge’s decree and sharing the letter, Stringer took the third option and resigned.
While Polk is known as a prosecutor who is very tough on crime, and enforces the law, she has never been accused of either racism or sexual misconduct. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to find a chink in her reputation - she is highly respected across the state as a County Attorney and someone who creatively attacks problems and works hard to fight drug abuse. Usually the worst thing that is said about her is that she is very black and white when it comes to crime. Is she perfect? No, and she’d be the first to admit that.
Stringer’s entire campaign has been to attack Polk apparently with any accusation he can think of. One of those accusations is that Polk supports amnesty and opposes deportation. This is despite the fact that the Yavapai County Jail has one of only three agreements in Arizona with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for picking up and deporting illegal aliens, something that would not be possible without the cooperation and reciprocated respect from Polk's County Attorney’s office.
As part of his campaign, Stringer has taken to naming three young ladies that were murdered by illegal aliens. None of these victims were killed in Yavapai County, or even in Arizona. Polk has no connection with these crimes in any way whatsoever.
Now Stringer has stretched too far, in the minds of Larry and ViciLee Jacobs. The last mailer he sent out, showed photos of the three ladies who had been murdered in other states. It also prominently displayed a photo of Phoenix Police Officer, Nick Erfle. Additionally, Stringer created a video ad to accompany it, which focused on Officer Erfle’s case.
“I cannot believe that he would politicize Nick’s death,” ViciLee said, her voice trembling with tears. Besides knowing Nick, ViciLee was also friends with Julie. “Nick was such a terrific person, and to use this for political means is too much.”
“Polk had nothing to do with Nick’s death,” Jacobs said. “Absolutely nothing. The suspect had already been deported back to his country years before, but he returned again illegally. This had nothing at all to do with Yavapai County or Sheila Polk.”
“I don’t think that anyone should use Nick’s death as a political weapon,” Jacobs said. “It only opens old wounds unnecessarily and creates more pain."
Nick Erfle’s wife, Julie, took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon after hearing of the ad campaign, to express her disgust and to tell Stringer to just stop. She didn’t seem to hold out much hope that he would, though, noting that Stringer is also sending out photos of himself with Trump, “…even though the Trump campaign sent him a cease & desist order.”
CopperState.news reached out to the Stringer campaign for a statement, but they did not choose to respond.
6/30: Edits were made to clarify what happened to Office Erfle and the timeline.