In the Crosshairs

County lawmen boffing hookers isn't Sheriff Joe's only problem. Fed up with his thuggery, Arpaio's own political party has targeted him for defeat

But, as Lotstein implies, hookers blowing lawmen simply doesn't play well with judges and juries. The truth is, such tactics just won't work when it comes to getting prosecutions.


It took weeks of negotiations with sheriff's office brass to get an interview with the public official who prides himself on manipulating the press to his benefit. The man who loves to be in the limelight, on TV, have his picture in the newspaper.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office posse man Glenn Coffman gets naked with an alleged prostitute.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office posse man Glenn Coffman gets naked with an alleged prostitute.
James Saville spent four years in jail after he was 
entrapped by Arpaio's detectives in a publicity stunt. His 
sister, Linda Saville, has co-founded the group Mothers 
Against Arpaio.
Jackie Mercandetti
James Saville spent four years in jail after he was entrapped by Arpaio's detectives in a publicity stunt. His sister, Linda Saville, has co-founded the group Mothers Against Arpaio.

Those who look out for Joe Arpaio, particularly PIO MacPherson, were wary of New Times' intentions so close to a primary election in which he's facing serious competition for the first time in his dozen years in office. They were hesitant to allow any questioning of the sheriff about his record -- which he has so brazenly reminded people at public events that he "stands on" -- because that record is for the first time getting Arpaio in quicksand with his own political party.

They didn't want a story to come out in which Joe was portrayed as a political liability, a dinosaur nearing extinction because his own cruel and, even in conservative Arizona, outdated policies may have caught up with him.

But when the interview was finally granted and Arpaio sat down inside the Madison Street Jail -- surrounded by his trusted sheriff's office advisers -- he didn't temper his comments for a new era. He defended his department, even in instances when it was made a fool of, even for times when civil court juries ruled against it. He didn't apologize for anything.

If you believe him, no death inside a jail under his supervision was the fault of any of his employees. Certainly not his fault.

Arpaio showed remorse neither for the death of Scott Norberg nor for the beating that turned Jeremy Flanders' brain into mush.

He makes no apologies for what New Times discovered on his duty calendar -- that he spends practically all his waking hours hyping himself, leaving his jails to be overseen by lieutenants who understand full well that the quickest way to get on Joe Arpaio's bad side is to be seen as soft on the criminal element.

The way Arpaio sees it, the county's got an insurance policy that covers injury and wrongful-death settlements, at less the $5 million deductible per case. And the dead and the injured coming out his jails provide an invaluable service by further enhancing his bad-ass image.

That not even his own once-sacred local Republican party is buying into the fantasy that no atrocity is too great if it thwarts crime (no evidence exists, by the way, that Joe's policies have reduced crime) certainly bothers those in charge of getting him reelected. But Arpaio's still on his same old soapbox, claiming that even the defection of fellow Republican officials by the droves doesn't bother him at all.

Why has he stayed around so long, why does he love publicity, why -- at 72 -- does he want to fight it out with an opponent who might beat him?

A grim look on his face, all he would say at first was, "I know the minute I [go] you wouldn't want to talk to me. I disappear. Once you're gone, nobody gives a crap about you."

Arpaio blusters that he has no intention of leaving soon. He vows to serve in office another eight years, until he's 80.

"My next hook might be the oldest sheriff in America!"

But moments later, Arpaio holds out the possibility that the end of the line may come sooner than later.

He knows the county Republican party, Dan Saban, the Mothers Against Arpaio and almost every law enforcement organization in Maricopa County are trying to convince voters not to let him get much older in the job.

The furrows on his brow deepening, he continues, "I'm not going to work anymore when I leave. That's it! I will just ride out into the sunset in a convertible. I won't ride a horse.

"I don't care what kind of convertible," he says about his last ride. "Just so they can recognize me."

E-mail john.dougherty@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8445.

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2 comments
Enemies List needs updating
Enemies List needs updating

It's time to get rid of "elected" officials as Sheriff and County Attorney. They have politicized law enforcement and the justice system putting all at risk to be used as their political pawns.

Need legislation for oversight and accountability of these offices. Hire professionals with higher standards then the minimal, inadequate standards that exist for these positions.

The people have had enough of abuse of power by thomas and arpaio!

 

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