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

Understaffing remains a serious problem, and Arpaio is faced with the daunting task of hiring another 1,000 guards by the end of the year when two new jails are to be completed.

There are fewer detention officers now than a year ago. Gerberry blames the lack of interest in the jobs, which start at $32,000 a year, on Arpaio.

"Pay is an issue, yes," Gerberry says. "But it is the way you are treated and the way administration handles things. You are just treated horribly there. The morale is the worst."

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.

Arpaio is frequently criticized for refusing to work with other law enforcement agencies in the Valley. Police in various cities complain that he conducts publicity-laden busts without so much as alerting them.

"The level of cooperation between the upper level of the sheriff's office and other municipal police departments is poor at best," Livingston says.

The Fraternal Order of Police is among a coalition of county cops' groups that opposed Arpaio in the 2000 election.

"We still believe it's time for a change in the administration of the sheriff's office," says Mike Pennington, president of the FOP's Maricopa Lodge 5.

The National Coalition of Public Safety Officers, which claims 5,000 law enforcement officers in Arizona as members and 20,000 members nationwide, has gone full-throttle for Saban.

"It's time to put someone into the position of Maricopa County sheriff who is genuinely committed to the citizens of Maricopa County," says Rich Anemone, coalition president.

When asked if it bothers them that police political and fraternal organizations across the county oppose Arpaio, sheriff's office brass claim the groups don't truly represent sheriff's employees.

"We don't recognize any of them," says Chief Deputy Black. "We are not going to negotiate with them. We are not going to deal with them. We are not going to have any of this kind of stuff. And they don't like it. It pisses them off."

Arpaio's executives ignore the fact that more than 325 of 500 deputies patrolling the streets are members of the Deputies Law Enforcement Association. Gerberry's equally large Maricopa County Deputies Association includes patrol deputies, detention officers and civilian personnel as members.

Though the DLEA isn't technically a union (the county isn't legally required to negotiate with labor organizations), the association pressures the sheriff's office over deputies'-rights and fair-benefits issues.

Even though the DLEA officially opposes Arpaio and has endorsed Saban, its president was among those too intimidated by the sheriff's history of retaliation to comment on his organization's bread-and-butter issue, working conditions in the sheriff's office.

Michael Culhane says, "I'm an extremely nervous person when it comes to talking to the press. I definitely have some strong opinions. Other presidents have talked to New Times, and it didn't bode well."

DPS Sergeant Bill Whalen, who is also second vice president of the state Fraternal Order of Police, says Arpaio lost credibility with DPS officers when deputies issued a citation to Nick Tarr on Halloween, 2002, for impersonating a DPS cop. The incident occurred a week before a general election in which Tarr and Arpaio were squaring off over competing gambling propositions.

Tarr is an actor who appeared in TV commercials as "Joe Arizona" in support of a ballot proposition that would have allowed gaming machines at race tracks. Arpaio was supporting a competing proposition that kept gambling on Indian lands.

On the afternoon of October 31, 2002, Tarr showed up at a downtown Phoenix restaurant wearing a costume that included an old DPS shirt unbuttoned to reveal an "I love Arizona" tee shirt, and a pair of the pink boxer shorts that Arpaio issues to inmates. It was clearly a costume to everyone, except Arpaio's chief deputy, David Hendershott, who was eating in the same restaurant.

The sheriff's office contacted DPS, asking it to cite Tarr for impersonating an officer. When DPS officers arrived, they saw that Tarr was obviously dressed up on Halloween and refused to charge him.

But Hendershott was undaunted. Sheriff's deputies wound up citing Tarr for impersonating an officer. The charge was later dropped, but Tarr was so annoyed that he joined the legion of others who have sued the county over the high-handed antics of Arpaio and his deputies.

Whalen says the Tarr incident seriously damaged Arpaio's credibility with the DPS, among other police agencies across the state.

"That was an insult to DPS to ask us to arrest him," Whalen says. "If you go out there and ask anybody in law enforcement how they feel about the upcoming election, they will say, 'Anybody but Joe!'"


Arizona law enforcement outside possibly the sheriff's office must be enjoying the fact that a department with no sense of humor (take the Tarr case, for example) has become a national laughingstock because its deputies and posse members were caught with their pants down.

Literally.

In announcing last week that his office would not prosecute nearly 60 prostitutes who had been arrested by sheriff's deputies last November in a countywide sting operation, County Attorney Romley ripped Arpaio's supervisors for directing an undercover investigation that "violates accepted standards of professionalism."

The County Attorney's Office said that "some undercover deputies and certain posse members engaged in oral sexual contacts, breast fondling, genital contact, masturbation, nudity and other behavior which is contrary to professional law enforcement and legitimate public policy.

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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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