County Sheriffs have the opportunity to interpret the law, which means that different situations are subject to their opinion and they can choose what issues get priority in the area. That’s why it’s so important to understand the people who are at the forefront when making these decisions, and how they approach their jobs. Learning more about the differences between current Sheriff Paul Penzone and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio can give you a better idea of what you can expect in Maricopa Country.
How It Was
Arpaio served for more than 20 years as Maricopa County Sheriff, and he proudly did so with an iron fist. His name recognition was undeniable, and people appreciated his no-nonsense style for many years. Arpaio is a Republican, and a staunch supporter of Trump. He famously created Tent City, which essentially kept Arizona criminals outside in tents to save taxpayers and (hopefully) discourage criminal behavior. He didn’t approve of the tracking devices that were being used on certain criminals, nor did he approve of spending money to house them. When it comes to his name recognition on a national level, he is likely most well known for his criminal charges. Federal prosecutors announced that they would be formally serving him for violating civil immigration laws prior to the 2016 election.
A New Sheriff in Town
Penzone represented the county headed in another direction for many people. Some voiced their concerns about local interests getting lost in favor of federal issues like immigration. The county has 1,700 rape kits that have yet gone un-investigated by policy, which suggests that it wasn’t a priority for Arpaio. Penzone has two decades of experience as an officer, and and was recognized both in the country and internationally for defeating traffickers and violent criminals of all kinds. Despite one domestic dispute in 2002, he seems genuinely dedicated to peace and order. He wants to increase the amount of communication with the community and law professionals, whereas Arpaio seemed more focused on instilling fear and a Wild West atmosphere. He wants people to feel comfortable reporting crimes with the promise that they will be heard. He especially believes in the rights of children, and encourages the community to take a larger interest in everyone’s well being — including seniors and the poor.
Regardless of which style of law you support, the two men certainly have very different ideas of what it takes to build a strong community. As Penzone becomes more comfortable with this role, the county will learn more about his long-term solutions when it comes to law enforcement.