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Best Top Cop Phoenix 2008 - Mesa Police Chief George Gascón

There's a list of public officials who've had the 'nads to stand up to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez, Governor Janet Napolitano. But nobody did it with the panache of Mesa Police Chief George Gascón. Fueled by the immigrant fire in his belly, the Latino chief (a naturalized U.S. citizen from Cuba) made sure Joe didn't have his usual media field day. Not on Gascón's turf! Gascón set up a Mesa command post at the same location as Joe was planning to set up his. There were so many Mesa cops in the area that Joe's forces were stymied into playing it straighter than they usually do. The former L.A. assistant chief forced the MCSO to do something it's unaccustomed to doing — act somewhat professional.

When Gascón emerged from his mobile command trailer on the first day of Joe's incursion (aimed at busting any brown-skinned person Joe's troopers could racially profile for such heinous crimes as a busted tail light or a cracked windshield), the handsome Gascón was cheered like a celebrity. He grinned and waved to an adoring crowd, as a few nativist goobers scowled nearby (funny how the trailer-trash brigade that cheers Joe on didn't have the spine to come out en masse to Mesa). Meanwhile the — ahem — "toughest sheriff in America" hid out like a little girl in his Wells Fargo Center office downtown — far, far away from the action. Joe (or more likely his legion of highly paid PR flacks) realized he would contrast way unfavorably with the tall, silver-haired, immaculately uniformed Gascón, that Joe's pot-bellied 76-year-old countenance would be upstaged.

And upstaged he was! This was no Joe Show, this was The George Show. To avoid sunburn from the movie-star glow of this real lawman, whiny ol' Joke had to cower in fear from afar.

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