By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Over the years, his supervisors praised him for his crime fighting, his administrative skills, and, interestingly, his compassion.
In one case, while still a patrol officer, he responded to a report of a drunken man who'd fallen in the road and injured his head. The man was supposed to be babysitting an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of the man's girlfriend.
When Penzone checked on the girl, he found her alone in an unlocked apartment with no food and with easily accessible adult medication lying around. The girl's mom could not be located.
According to the commendation in his file, Penzone contacted Child Protective Services, "and arranged to foster the little girl temporarily."
His supervisor found the way he spoke with the child "exceptional."
"He thoughtfully explained the problem to the little girl, and she was very responsive to him," his sergeant wrote.
Later, when Penzone mentions that one of his favorite films is the 2004 thriller Man on Fire, with Denzel Washington playing a former CIA agent who takes a job as a bodyguard to a 9-year-old portrayed by Dakota Fanning, I can see why.
Like many of the better cops out there, Penzone has aspired to be a protector who keeps the weak and innocent from harm.
As a detective and later a sergeant, Penzone won plaudits for more complex law enforcement duties. A 1997 commendation describes how he led an investigation into a criminal organization of meth-dealing white supremacists, authoring a 60-page wiretap affidavit, which led to the conviction of 19 suspects on federal drug-trafficking charges and the eradication of two underground meth labs.
In 2001, a year after being promoted to sergeant, he received a citation for "outstanding supervisor" from then-Police Chief Harold Hurtt for Penzone's command of a police pursuit and capture of three suspects involved in a quadruple homicide. According to one report, the investigation also led to "the rescue of another three victims, who were moments away from being executed by these suspects."
Penzone's organizational and leadership skills caught the attention of Cactus Park Precinct Commander Richard Groeneveld, who recruited Penzone to be his administrative sergeant after noticing how well Penzone handled a scene's perimeter, where a suspect had barricaded himself in his apartment.
Groeneveld told me how an administrative sergeant reports directly to his commander and is responsible for everything that keeps the precinct running, from personnel issues and schedules to the management of supplies, ammunition, and automobiles.
Back then, Groeneveld recently had been assigned to the Cactus Park Precinct, and there had been conflict between the previous administrative sergeant and the officers and supervisors.
"At that time, we had over 200 officers and civilian personnel out of that precinct," Groeneveld said. "I recruited Paul to come in with the explicit purpose of mending those relationships with the people at the precinct."
Penzone was "instrumental in improving morale" and in the smooth operation of the precinct, Groeneveld said.
The former commander no longer is with the PPD. He teaches leadership skills to law enforcement executives nationally and internationally, and he supports his ex-admin sergeant's bid for elective office.
"I'm absolutely convinced that there are two components required for good, effective leadership in a law enforcement organization: competence and character," Groeneveld said. "He'd bring both those things to [a sheriff's office] that is in desperate want and desperate need of them."
After about a year and a half under Groeneveld's command, Penzone was ready for another challenge. He applied to be the supervisor and face of the Silent Witness program, around since 1979, beating out several other sergeants for the position, which seeks the cooperation of the community in solving crimes.
The program was in a rut, but Penzone quickly turned it around, increasing its exposure and developing a Spanish-language component, an increasingly important element, considering Phoenix's burgeoning Latino population.
Within two years of taking over, Penzone was lauded by top brass for a dramatic increase in calls received and resulting arrests. Penzone profiled suspects and described their crimes on countless local and national TV shows.
Penzone, his staff's work, and the resulting tips called in are credited with helping solve the Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter cases. His review for 2007 observed that Silent Witness "helped in solving more crimes than at any time in the program's history."
As a result, he was named the Phoenix PD's Supervisor of the Year, and he nabbed an international award for Program Coordinator of the Year by Crime Stoppers International.
The well-spoken police sergeant became a regular presence on talk programs, such as the syndicated Maury Povich Show and Headline News' Nancy Grace, where he sometimes was asked to comment on high-profile or celebrity cases.
"It was a trade-off," Penzone admitted. "They would ask me to cover cases from around the nation, and, in turn, I could bring a local case and try to solve it.
"The thing that stunk was that sometimes I'd have to talk about something like Lindsay Lohan's [DUI arrests]. It's not fun, but you can't say 'no' if you want to cover the cases that have relevance to the issues you're dealing with."
Such appearances were sharpening his communication chops and increasing his media savvy, which would help him after he resigned from the PPD in 2009 and went on to represent such organizations as the national nonprofit Child Help, which advocates for the prevention of child abuse and assists in its treatment.
The problem is that the people who hate Arpaio so much are generally too stoned or in jail to actually vote in the election. It is the same story year-in-and-year-out. Can't you guys report on something else for once?
Yeah! The Penzone campaigners stopped by our home, gave us hand-outs for our large upscale neighborhood and also planted a yard sign! Way to go! That's more then we ever got from a sheriff who lives in his "ivory tower" in the penthouse suite of offices in the luxury Wells Fargo Bank building.
get used to it, tumphrey-dump. Arpaio's gonna lose. and you'll have to get used to readin bout the new sheriff...
Good Lord, you've been running this propaganda piece for days. You comsoclibprogs are on the side of the criminals. Sheriff Joe is against criminals. So am I. So stuff it!
Bravo Mr. Lemons! Hadn't heard of Penzone before but my first impression of the guy is- wow. He doesn't sound like the typical candidate running for office and he doesn't sound like a cop either- both are good. Will check into this guy further and post this article on facebook. It's hardly a campaign with one candidate being a household name and the others just a name printed on the ballot. A race should at the very least, be interesting. Win or lose this his bid for Sheriff, I hope to hear more from him in the future and from any like-minded family members or friends he may have as well. Sensing a change in the wind here.
This article is so old. Take it out today along with several other that have been there for a long time.
If you want to help turn up the heat, VOLUNTEER WITH THE MARICOPA COUNTY DEMOCRATS! You can be part of a huge historic win, or you can wish you had.
Had enough of a County Sheriff being the anointed defacto-Governor of Arizona.
Time for term limits for County Sheriffs and DA's/County Attorneys! Folks, contact your legislators and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and demand revised laws. We are hearing people are at risk for arrest attending the MCBOS meetings. Tyranny?
Where's the debate between Sheriff Arpaio and his opponent Paul Penzone? The public has questions that demand answers. The arpaio ads are deceptive and outright lies.
is there any recent (as in the last two weeks) polling data on this race? and if not, why not? also, is there going to be any kind of public debate between candidates? other than signs on corners (and not many of those), I don't see anyone in this race doing much to try to actually win.
As a retired law enforcement professional I would encourage all voters of Maricopa County to place their votes this year for PAUL PENZONE.
Paul is the person who will be the voice of reason and will be able direct the MCSO staff to create and carry out solutions to the problems existing within the agency, most of which have developed due to a lack of professional leadership from the current sheriff.
Paul knows the task will be daunting, yet he is eager to start working on it, knowing it will take every bit of the first four year term to transition MCSO into a professional law enforcement agency.
We, the voters and taxpayers, deserve such an agency.
Paul Penzone, the New Sheriff.
I have read lots of comments on AOL, and Yahoo, on different subjects, but a lot of these comments that are posted here uses some of the filthiest language. Can't you comment without using filthy language to get your point across? The ones using this language should be ashamed of yourselves, grow up.
Yes of course, this makes complete strategic sense. Let's vote someone in who is younger than Arpaio and has the same policies therefore ensuring they live on for decades to come. Lemons, I get it, you are totally desperate, the last thing to do while desperate is make bad decisions.
Yes, Mr. Stephen Lemons, I am a member of the "divisive hateful" Tea Party. Don't tell me the Democrats are not divisive. And you write as though you are as hateful as I am. The difference between you and me is that I am anti-criminal and you are pro-criminal, as are all of you comsoclibprogs. So, my vote goes to Sheriff Joe!
Pinhead Penzone dont have a chance to soft on illegals ....................... Joe needs to finish his job and fry Obama
Yeah, because the snowbird dodos who vote for him are all residents of AZ and registered voters. Based on your response, you probably also think Obama's really working hard............
to improve things like his golf handicap.
If any voter would just look at what you useless turds did to your own states before you decided you couldn't live in the shitholes you created and move here, they would vote Sheriff Joe for life. As nursemomski1 so eloquently stated, Go back to where you came from and take the illegals and homos with you.
Arpaio | Wells Fargo = turning Arizona into a prison state. The mass incarceration of Arizona's people is shameful. Time for the legislators to be held accountable with their relationship to a County Sheriff!
@tomphrey1 I hope you realize that Arpaio isn't as tough on crime as he claims to be. There are currently 40,000 outstanding felony warrants in Maricopa county as well as those 430+ uninvestigated sex crimes. Penzone deserves a chance he will spend money on prosecuting crime and not his own political gains.
Mr. Humphrey, you have the choice to not open the New Times site so you don't have to see this "propaganda piece". But you choose not to. Because I personally see the need for a new sheriff and I post my opinion here you say that I am on the side of criminals. Yet I am a decorated military veteran and a retired police officer. You seem to be suffering mental myopia.
@jhafford I might be getting old but haven’t lost my sanity yet!
@jhafford I'm volunteering!
Arpaio, debate someone? ROFL!!!!
Pass whatever it is your smokin there truth :)
We will VOTE FOR PAUL PENZONE for Maricopa County Sheriff 2012 and if anyone cares about a better Arizona, they need to vote for PAUL PENZONE!
@karmavsdogma_42The old man will NOT debate. He doesn't get involved in two way conversations. He only talks TO people.
Paul Penzone meets daily with groups throughout the county, including 'debates' where the three candidates are all invited, but only two might show up.
@Tommy_Collins As a retired law enforcement professional, and registered Republican, I second your motion! There is no need to allow the Shurff to continue costing the taxpayers millions of dollars because he is an egotist, not a law enforcement manager.
@cliff fuck off, you sniveling little cunt.
@tomphrey1 From 2002 to 2011 the number of violent crimes in areas served by the Maricopa County Sher-iff’s Office increased by an incredible 41%, from 628 to 884 violent crimes. That’s 256 MORE murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than 9 years ago.
For the parts of Maricopa not served by the Sheriff, there was a 19% drop in violent crime for the same period. That’s 3,428 FEWER murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than 9 years ago.
If the whole County had been run the way Sheriff Arpaio runs his part, there would have been nearly 8,000 more dead, raped, robed or assaulted Maricopans. What words are there for that dismal performance on the part of Sheriff Arpaio?
Utter dangerous incompetence.
@novastarz47 focus on Arizona, your own backyard where there is enough corruption from top to the bottom for you to attack. Those who are part of the corruption and created the mess in Arizona are the ones who mention Obama -- to deflect the peoples' attention. Sick transparent game you all play.
@novastarz47 If there really is a God, both Arpaio and Obama will both be gone in November...end of problem!
@novastarz47Seriously? A local county sheriff in Arizona (one of fifteen) is going to 'fry' Obama? Explain, please, how that might happen.
@goGayGreenHornet And how are your top leaders / law makers and enforcers doing in Arizona? What a hell-hole you all live in.
ElephantintheRoom The only thing I see here that's useless is your ranting and raving about how you are so fucking good and everyone else that disagrees with you is shit !Hey fuck head You are the one that needs to leave (if you even live here) and go somewhere else and find your WHITE utopea . Arizona is my home and has been for over 63 years .....I can tell you Jo the JOKE sucks buttermilk and so does anyone that is sheepishly blind and follows him !
@ElephantintheRoom go back to where you came from? like Arpaio? he's not from here. nor are the snowbird dodos who vote for him
@nursemomski1 If you're voting for neo-republicans then yes you have. A bunch of right wing extremists trying to knock back all the progress we've made in the last 100 years.
@Flyer9753 sorry, I'm a non-smoker.
@Tommy_Collins @karmavsdogma_42 Any polling data? I've got a local news filter set up on Google news, but I don't see any mention of Penzone (unless it's from the New Times) or Stauffer (unless it's from DeeDee and the Tucson Citizen) or Joe (ever). I think the majority of people who live in Maricopa county year-round are pretty fed up with Joe's shenanigans, but I don't see much happening from the other candidates to encourage voters to vote FOR them. They seem to be relying on the "anyone but Joe" vote, and that may not be enough, especially when Penzone and Stauffer (or, at least, their supporters) seem to spend more time fighting against each other than Joe.
@GreenHornet GH, the MCSO shurf is from Springfield, MA. According to my confidential sources, he is not well-liked or well received.
@karmavsdogma_42 @Tommy_CollinsKarma, the Penzone campaign ran a full page ad yesterday (Sunday) in the Az Republic http://www.penzone2012.com/images/uploads/PenzoneRepublicAd.pdf
I don't know about polling data at this point, however. It's very important that we use all resources to help get the word out.