Parade of Fools: Brian Sands Can't Distance Himself From the Bad Acts Detailed in His Book

Parade of Fools: Brian Sands Can't Distance Himself From the Bad Acts Detailed in His Book
Image: Mike Ray/Shannon Associates

Four years ago, when actor Steven Seagal found himself in need of a publicity-hungry, big-city law enforcement agency to help him shoot a reality TV series, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio rolled out the welcome mat.

The controversial six-term sheriff hooked up the wannabe cop with Executive Chief Brian Sands, a 30-year Sheriff's Office employee and one of Arpaio's closest and most loyal commanders.

But Sands relates in his controversial book self-published in August that getting assigned to babysit the has-been movie star was another humiliation in a career marred by similar Arpaio-flavored antics.

Sidebar: In Book, Ex-Arpaio Aide Sticks to Weak Story on Campaign-Conspiracy Allegations

Parade of Fools: Brian Sands Can't Distance Himself From the Bad Acts Detailed in His Book
Image: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia

To the taciturn law enforcement veteran, it was more evidence that he was employed not in a normal police force, respected for its prowess in catching criminals and making communities safer, but something akin to a perpetual carnival act.

In 2010, Sands witnessed the office mired in a corruption scandal that resulted in the dismissal of Arpaio's right-hand man, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, and another top commander, Larry Black. Sands wasn't picked by Arpaio to be the new chief deputy -- instead, the job went to the longtime head of jail operations, Jerry Sheridan, whom Sands considers incompetent.

With Hendershott gone, Arpaio wanted Sands to head up fundraising for his 2012 re-election campaign.

According to Sands, he had come to see Arpaio's long reign as bad for the office. He says it began to dawn on him then that leadership at the agency was a charade whose fundamental mission was to pump up Arpaio's ego and get him elected again and again. Then came Seagal -- the next "dog-and-pony show," as Sands deems Arpaio's publicity stunts in his book. Sands went along with the sheriff's desire to give the aging actor what he wanted, but he didn't like it.

Making his first public statements since retiring last year, Sands complained about Seagal to a TV news reporter in January. Since then, the former executive chief has written and self-published the book about his time with the MCSO, Arpaio De Facto Lawman. Sands' annoyance with the department's relationship with the actor takes up several pages. Seagal, in early 2010, had a position as an occasionally working reserve deputy in Jefferson Parish, Lousiana, and was filming the second season of the A&E TV series Steven Seagal: Lawman.

The star of Hard to Kill, Machete, and more than 40 other movies had taken a smidgen of deputy training in the 1980s, after another larger-than-life sheriff, Louisiana's Harry Lee, brought him onto the force. Over the years, Lee, who died in 2007, had allowed the action star and martial arts expert to "train" deputies and play at policing in the suburbs of New Orleans.

Seagal began shooting his reality show in 2008. But in April 2010, Jefferson Parish's new sheriff, Newell Normand, brought down the curtain after Seagal got sued by an ex-employee of his production company for alleged sexual assault. Seagal denied the allegation, and the woman dropped her suit a few months later having never filed a criminal complaint.

Yet Segal resigned his position rather than submit to a pending internal investigation into the matter, Normand's spokesman told New Times for a March 2011 article. Not long after that, Seagal showed up in Arizona and joined Arpaio's newly formed "illegal-immigration posse." Seagal also said he would purchase and donate several automatic rifles to the county's SWAT team.

In his book, Sands describes how Seagal had been "run off" from Jefferson Parish and how the actor "used very profane words" in talking about Sheriff Normand. Sands says he was "suspicious" of Seagal but that Arpaio was desperate to have the celebrity around. Sands agreed to work with Seagal on condition that Lisa Allen, the sheriff's spokeswoman, would have nothing to do with the project. She had taken charge of the similar Police Women of Maricopa County show, and it had become a disaster, Sands says in the book, mainly because Allen misappropriated deputies and didn't know how to get "film-worthy footage" like he did.

Seagal wanted to be a commissioned deputy so he could continue playing a lawman but lacked basic training for the job. Arpaio, never afraid to spend public funds, suggested creating a new academy just for Seagal and other volunteers. But Seagal lost his enthusiasm for the idea after he was told he'd have to submit to a polygraph test as part of his background check, Sands claims in De Facto Lawman.

Chief Deputy Sheridan's wife, a real estate agent, brokered the purchase of a $3.5 million Scottsdale home for Seagal. Sands found the deal unseemly. Yet the book also details how Sands and his spouse were flown to Vancouver by the eccentric actor to watch him film a different TV series, paying for the couple's hotel stay and a limo to fetch them from the airport.

When they returned, Sands allowed Seagal to perform traffic stops and other work while the production crew filmed. Seagal complained that he wasn't doing enough "felony stops," his handler says in the book. Sands met with Harvey Wilson, the A&E show's producer, and pitched an idea for Seagal's Lawman.

"I told Wilson I thought the approach for the program was to develop a warrants team to go after absconders," Sands writes. "He thought that was a great format, and Seagal later agreed."

Sands offered the MCSO's "most experienced and professional people" for the actor to choose from as his team for the show. The plan was to let Seagal start with low-risk warrants and work his way up, once he gained experience. But low-risk makes for boring TV. Sands says Seagal still wasn't happy.

Sands lost patience. When Seagal's entourage was stopped in Cave Creek for speeding, Seagal yelled at a deputy, according to Sands, and no citation was issued. (Allen later told reporters that Seagal denied that the incident ever happened.)

Sands told Arpaio and Sheridan that Seagal should be let go, warning them that the actor would might embarrass the office as he had Jefferson Parish's. And Sands accused Sheridan of ingratiating himself to Seagal for personal reasons.

The Sheriff's Office made headlines worldwide in March 2011 when Seagal -- driving an armored car -- and his film crew helped raid the property of a cockfighting suspect. After the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Arpaio had the actor head up "training" for deputies, inviting the news media to watch one of the exercises. Sands retired a few months later.


Parade of Fools: Brian Sands Can't Distance Himself From the Bad Acts Detailed in His Book

The book Sands self-published in August is a stunning backstab of his former boss -- not to say that Arpaio doesn't deserve it.

Though always popular with enough county voters, Arpaio, 82, has been a lightning rod for criticism in his 22 years in office. From inhumane conditions in the jail system he oversees to harassing the local Hispanic population, Arpaio enjoys a tyrannical legacy. To many conservatives, Arpaio is a tough-talking hero who targets undocumented immigrants and animal abusers. His fans have been willing to overlook corruption and the large-scale waste of public funds that have marked his tenure.

So have his top employees. That is, until the bombshell "Munnell memo" of 2010, which resulted in the firings of Hendershott and Black. And until Sands' book was released. The 177-page tome is a rambling, anecdote-filled retrospective of Sands' many years serving Arpaio. More than a hint of mean-spiritedness arises as Sands dishes on Arpaio and on the book's second-biggest target, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan.

The main criticism in the book is a familiar refrain: Arpaio has been too focused on publicity and getting re-elected, pulling the office into avoidable scandals and weakening its ability to perform its law enforcement duties.

This time, though, the accusation comes not from an alternative newspaper or a Democrat but from one of the department's former top officials.

Sands says he wouldn't call himself a whistle-blower. Indeed, his book isn't full of allegations of potential criminal misconduct or specific policy violations by his co-workers, like the damning 63-page memo written by retired Deputy Chief Frank Munnell.

Instead, it's loaded with gossip, gripes, stories of incompetence by coworkers, and insider shop talk. While covering a lot of ground and many years, Sands does a good job of focusing on Arpaio's manipulation of the media and the voting public, somewhat in the same vein as The Joe Show documentary released earlier this year and being screened through October 9 at Harkins Valley Art in Tempe and Harkins Arrowhead in Peoria. Sands' book is more than just entertainment for close observers of the Sheriff's Office -- it's an important document that helps tell the ongoing story of a popular but unethical sheriff and his sycophantic sidekicks.

The serious side is that Arpaio has wasted untold millions of dollars of taxpayer money, let down victims, allowed barbaric jail conditions to persist, targeted political enemies with bogus criminal allegations, engaged in morally misguided conspiracies, and failed to address crime effectively -- all to get re-elected by an arch-conservative voting majority. Many of the characters in the book are familiar to New Times readers: Arpaio, Sheridan, Allen, former commanders Munnell, Scott Freeman, and Hendershott. Sands expresses loathing for their public-relations games, their unprofessionalism, their inability to perform. The main reason he wrote the book, Sands says, is to let the public know just how bad top management at the Sheriff's Office has gotten, thanks to the sheriff. He says he wants the world to know that he marched for years in a parade of fools.

Yet the unfortunate spin of the book is that Sands has more of a problem with Munnell, a true whistle-blower, than Hendershott, the primary target of Munnell's whistle-blowing. This is one reason that De Facto Lawman cannot be taken entirely seriously. Sands doesn't always pound away at the best targets. The tome has many other deficiencies, too.

The cover, featuring a picture of Arpaio's head on the front of a tank-like vehicle, is amateurish. The first edition is filled with typos, missing words, bad grammar, and unclear writing. Published primarily as an e-book on, New Times obtained one of the limited print editions. Sands since has taken the book off the market. He's editing out the errors and smoothing the writing, he says, and will put it back on the market by the end of this month.

The book also suffers because Sands clearly held back. Owing to his former position, Sands must be aware of even juicier material he could've included. But he's suspiciously reserved in his writing and in interviews. He's wary of getting dragged into lawsuits by Sheriff's Office employees, past or present.

Or into criminal investigations. Just because state and federal prosecutors have closed their investigations into abuse-of-power and campaign-finance allegations doesn't mean they might not someday reopen them.

The book has a strong, unintended irony in that Sands played a part in some of the agency's biggest problems. As the sheriff began a populist pogrom against illegal immigrants, Sands voiced opposition to using deputies as immigration officers, he claims in the book. Yet he oversaw the operations.

In one of three interviews with New Times for this article, he talks about what he understood his job to be: "Okay, this is what the sheriff wants. We'll try to make it legal and try to make it safe."


Parade of Fools: Brian Sands Can't Distance Himself From the Bad Acts Detailed in His Book
Image: Evie Carpenter

Brian Sands met Joe Arpaio for the first time in 1992, just after the sheriff won his first election in part by vowing to serve just one term.

Before joining the MCSO in 1983, Sands spent eight years in the Army, working for a time as a tank commander. His first job at the agency was detention officer. After six months, he attended the police academy, then hit the streets as a patrol officer. Three years later, he became a detective and task force member assigned to work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. He was assigned to homicide in 1991.

One day, while Sands and his old narcotics partner, Ray Jones, were in a Phoenix cop-uniform store, Arpaio walked in and said hello to Jones, whom he knew. The sheriff, a former DEA agent, asked Sands what he was working on. The detective admitted that he was the last detective still investigating the infamous Buddhist Temple Murder case, which had been tainted by the coerced false confessions of four Tucson men arrested for the crime.

"That's nothing to be proud of," Arpaio said gruffly.

But Sands hadn't been part of the screwup that caused Sheriff Tom Agnos to lose to Arpaio. He came through Arpaio's investigation of the MCSO's actions in the case unscathed.

Weeks after meeting the new boss, Sands was promoted to sergeant, beginning his rise up the ladder at the MCSO. He returned to patrol for a few years, then was promoted to lieutenant. For two years, he worked as executive assistant to the new chief deputy, Hendershott. By 2005, he'd risen to deputy chief; he was one of the agency's two executive chiefs (Freeman was the other) when he retired last year. The first time Sands learned that Arpaio was a publicity hound was soon after he made sergeant. At the end of a press conference touting the arrests of some murder suspects, Sands thanked Arpaio for recognizing his deputies' hard work.

"He gave me a very strange look -- which I never have forgotten -- and didn't say a word," Sands writes in De Facto Lawman. A fellow sergeant told him, "This isn't about the deputies," it's about the sheriff.

Sands was assigned to enforcement support as a sergeant, but he found out this often meant PR support. He describes how, for an anti-prostitution press conference, he had to bring in full-time employees to beef up the number of posse members the sheriff wanted to parade before TV cameras. Arpaio even invited the Jerry Springer Show to join the operation. Springer watched from Sands' car as a detective busted a suspected prostitute, he writes.

A case involving mutilated animals in the desert, which Arpaio's office touted as possible witchcraft, later was believed to be the work of coyotes. This kicked off Arpaio's long-running anti-animal-abuse schtick, according to Sands. The way he tells it, Arpaio loves voters who love animals, not necessarily the animals themselves. He writes that he once teased Arpaio about getting a dog, telling him it would be "good public relations." "Shut up," Arpaio responded. He says the sheriff remains petless.

In 1997, when sheriff's deputies helped secure a property near New River where a man had stored homemade explosives, Sands was upset that spokeswoman Lisa Allen was "directing command staff on what should be done." After a three-mile evacuation zone was created around the munitions bunker, Allen told Sands and other supervisors that they "needed to set up a plan to house animals and pets in the schoolyard. Further, she added we should provide clowns and ice cream for the children."

Sands eventually was moved from patrol to the threats division, ostensibly to protect the sheriff from people out to do him harm. Most of the threats were "talk," Sands says, and Arpaio "would comment . . . that he would have to act like he was afraid." At times, he says, it seemed his job was to write media releases about the threats, then develop criminal cases around them, instead of the other way around. Indeed, the book blames nearly every questionable thing Arpaio did on the sheriff's thirst for attention.

"The drive is so intense about him wanting to get media," Sands says in an interview. "He challenges the staff: 'Get me a good drug bust!' 'Get me a good murder case!'" Arpaio's point always was to pander to fringe groups that could help him get elected, Sands says. One moral consequence of the office's endless publicity stunts, Sands says, is the waste of public resources.


Jerry Sheridan, Frank Munnell and Joe Arpaio
Jerry Sheridan, Frank Munnell and Joe Arpaio
Image: MCSO Facebook

Sands' book tears into longtime MCSO colleagues, as well as into Arpaio.

Among them is Frank Munnell, who worked with Sands when they were both sergeants in the early 1990s. The future whistle-blower is described as "too high-strung for too much activity" and "known not to be a hard-working cop."

Current Executive Chief Scott Freeman isn't qualified to be a sergeant, according to Sands. Lisa Allen is held up for frequent disrespect. But most of the trash talk is reserved for Chief Deputy Sheridan.

Sands was a rookie when he met Sheridan. He writes that he always had a "friendly relationship with Sheridan; however, [Sheridan] had a reputation for not taking care of business." Sands goes on that Sheridan has a "class-clown attitude."

Sands claims Sheridan was enthusiastic about Arpaio's plan to go after illegal immigrants for a number of reasons. In one passage, Sheridan's motives are said to be "ethnically biased" because of his alleged use of derogatory terms for various ethnic groups. Sands says he found Sheridan's "divisive and ethnocentric" attitude frightening.

Sheridan and Munnell showed the same lack of common sense, Sands writes. One time, according to Sands, Munnell created and circulated a fake police lineup picture throughout the division that featured several photos of Buckwheat from the old Little Rascals TV series next to one of Sheridan.

Missing from the book, however, is any nasty treatment of Hendershott, whom Sands worked with closely for more than a decade. Oddly, Sands views Hendershott's firing as a purely political move. In his book or in person, Sands won't go so far as to say Hendershott did anything wrong. Neither will Arpaio, for that matter. New Times has asked the sheriff repeatedly in the past few years to name the specific reasons he dismissed Hendershott in early 2011, but Arpaio refuses.

Sands is partially right: Essentially, Arpaio was forced to get rid of Hendershott (which he'd previously sworn he would never do) after a damning investigative report on internal corruption at the MCSO, based on the allegations by Munnell, was released to the public. But as the report and other evidence showed, Hendershott really had committed bad acts at the behest of Arpaio ("Joe Knew," May 26, 2011).

So Sands' lack of suspicion about Hendershott is, in itself, is suspicious.

The 30,000-page investigative report, put together by the office of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, concluded that Hendershott had used his position for financial gain, lied to the sheriff, used intimidating tactics, and ran an anti-public-corruption task force "contrary to sound law enforcement practices and utilization of resources."

Fact is, Hendershott probably still would be working at the Sheriff's Office if not for Munnell, who blew the lid off the unethical activity.

Munnell, who was contacted by the state Attorney General's Office during its criminal investigation of a campaign-finance scandal tied to Hendershott, handed Arpaio his 63-page rundown of accusations in mid-August 2010. Munnell didn't implicate Arpaio directly, maintaining that the sheriff had been fooled by Hendershott. Arpaio sent the allegations to be investigated by Babeu, a political ally at the time.

The Munnell memo contained many astonishing details.

For example, it exposed that Hendershott and a deputy county attorney, Lisa Aubuchon, had badgered deputies into writing search warrants and probable-cause statements that had little basis in reality. Aubuchon had urged one deputy to use "creative writing" in putting together a warrant (never used) for a planned search of all five County Supervisors' offices. Deputy Chief Bill Knight later told investigators that Arpaio took personal interest in one search warrant of a developer tied to former County Supervisor Don Stapley, asking Knight to include information that would sound more damning when it was released to the media.

Thanks, in part, to the memo and to the Babeu investigation that followed, the public learned how Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas had abused their power by targeting county enemies with trumped-up criminal investigations and a quixotic racketeering lawsuit filed in 2009 against the all five members of the Board of Supervisors, various judges, county officials, and local lawyers. Their crusade ended in catastrophe with the 2012 disbarment of Thomas and millions of dollars getting paid out to their targets in lawsuit settlements.

Arpaio, Thomas, and current or former employees of their offices escaped worse punishment for their deeds when the U.S. Department of Justice dropped a criminal investigation of the matter in 2013.

Yet Sands, instead of filling in crucial details he may know about the events, blasts Munnell in his book for violating chain-of-command policies and making secret recordings. He lambastes Allen, Freeman, and Munnell for complaining about Hendershott to the media without Arpaio's approval.

According to Sands, Sheridan was the driving force behind the Munnell memo -- because Sheridan didn't like Hendershott and wanted him out. Sands writes that he later learned that Sheridan had been in on a previous scheme to "turn the sheriff on Hendershott, and it was discovered and stopped."

Sands writes that he continued to meet with Hendershott after the latter's firing and would pass along messages from Arpaio that the sheriff did not like what happened to his second-in-command.

The author of De Facto Lawman comes across as tone deaf to the severe problems that Frank Munnell revealed.


Lisa Allen
Lisa Allen
Image: Ray Stern

According to Sands' book, Arpaio retaliated against Knight and Freeman for their damning statements in the Babeu probe, removing them from various investigations.

Arpaio threatened to demote them -- unless they agreed to apologize and "kiss his ass," Sands writes, claiming that's what Sheridan told him. Freeman supposedly did as asked, but Knight refused. Sheridan was prepared to demote Knight until he was told by the County Attorney's Office that if it happened, he'd be thrown in jail for retaliating against a whistle-blower, Sands claims.

One of the investigations taken from Freeman and given to Sands was the long-running, still-unfinished probe into how the MCSO had botched or failed to investigate hundreds of sex-crime cases ("Victims Wonder Why Arpaio Let Sex Abuse Cases Languish," February 16, 2012).

The problem was centered on the West Valley town of El Mirage, which had a contract for policing with the MCSO from 2005 to 2007. The agency took over El Mirage at a time when the MCSO sex-crimes department was understaffed, its members often tapped to work on Arpaio's pet programs, such as training police in Honduras. Meanwhile, investigation and follow-up on more than 400 cases proved to be minimal, and victims suffered injustice.

Munnell raised the problem in his memo, saying Hendershott had stalled a probe into the under-investigated cases for political purposes. The probe further withered after Hendershott was put on leave, then dismissed.

Sands was tasked with finishing the investigation. But, he writes, Arpaio didn't want it completed before the 2012 election because the findings could damage his campaign. Sands expresses his belief that Freeman, as a supervisor, seemed to be the most culpable. Yet Sands' logic here is interesting: Freeman sent a strongly worded letter to Hendershott in July 2005 asking for extra vehicles and personnel for the sex-crimes division and warning of dire consequences if the request wasn't approved. Hendershott told Sands he never received Freeman's letter. In Sands' view, then, Freeman should have resolved the problem since he knew about it.

In any case, Arpaio didn't want Freeman held accountable, Sands writes. So the matter "was basically dropped."

Naturally, Sands didn't finish his report until after the election -- which he claims was a coincidence.

The fact that Sands was part of the problem at the MCSO is on full display in the section of his book on immigration enforcement.

Sands attributes the department's initial interest in the federal 287(g) program, which allowed Arpaio's deputies to inquire about suspects' or jail inmates' immigration status to Sheridan, who ran the county jail system before his 2010 promotion. That's plausible because the federal program was used in the jails before a 2007 contract that gave immigrant-finding power to deputies on the street. But in detailing Arpaio and Sheridan's motives (publicity, as usual, in the sheriff's case) in launching their anti-migrant drive, Sands reveals himself to be a crucial, even callous, player.

For instance, he describes how Sheridan wanted to impress Republican state Representative John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills by busting "illegal aliens" that Kavanagh believed were hanging out in the town's famous Fountain Park. Sheridan allegedly argued with Sands, who says he didn't think the 287(g)-trained deputies could simply round up people. Sands writes that he called the commander of the MCSO's Fountain Hills satellite office, Captain John Kleinheinz, and asked him if he knew of any problems at the park. Kleinheinz asked immediately whether Kavanagh had raised the complaint.

"When I told him yes, he said there were no problems and [that] Kavanagh was just being a racist," Sands writes. "I agreed with him."

Sands increased patrols in the area, though, and ordered a patrol unit sent to the park. He claims in the book that if he didn't acquiesce, he'd end up getting into an argument with Arpaio.

Sands later was accused in the high-profile Melendres racial-profiling lawsuit -- which resulted in the federal monitor now in place at the MCSO -- of acting on racist tips that Arpaio had received from community members about "Mexicans" or about people speaking Spanish. In court, Sands denied apparent evidence that he chose the locations of the agency's notorious crime sweeps based on such tips. But Sands' Fountain Hills anecdote makes it clear that he was willing to do exactly that.

An example that Sands' main job was to find ways to carry out the sheriff's unethical demands without getting into legal trouble can be found in Sands' 2010 interview with Babeu's investigators.

In it, Sands recounts that during one Northwest Valley patrol in October 2008, Hendershott told a lieutenant under Sands that he was "to go out and round up as many illegal aliens as he could arrest."

About 50 immigrants were in custody, but Sands writes that he "shut it down" because the arrests weren't legal. Sands told Hendershott that the migrants had to be suspected of a state crime before deputies could inquire about immigration status.

Under Sands' direction, future sweeps made wide use of "pretext stops" of vehicles with broken taillights and cracked windshields, in an apparent effort to bust a high number of undocumented-immigrant violators who could then be deported by federal immigration authorities.

By book's end, Sands manages to smear not only the many MCSO honchos he worked alongside, but (inadvertently) himself.


David Hendershott
David Hendershott

Brian Sands disputes any notion that he wrote his book out of vengeance over Sheridan's getting the chief deputy job in 2010.

"I asked [Arpaio] not to consider me, but to bring in someone else from the outside," Sands maintains in an interview. "He guaranteed me he would make a change, but he didn't."

As evidence that Sheridan is an ineffective leader, Sands points to the chief deputy's telling the MCSO's rank and file last year that U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow's rulings in Melendres were "ludicrous" and "a bunch of crap." Snow subsequently forced Arpaio and Sheridan into his courtroom for a scolding.

"Friends and relatives asked me" to author the book because they, like him, felt the MCSO had gotten out of control, he claims.

Sands makes it clear in De Facto Lawman and in interviews with New Times that he hated (with Hendershott gone) getting tapped by Arpaio to do fundraising for the sheriff's 2012 campaign.

Sands began writing the book in January, about six months after he retired, and finished it in August. Its sales, he says, have paid for its $2,000 publication cost.

Arpaio declined comment about the book but offered a brief critique: "You can always judge a book by its cover," meaning that the sheriff has little respect for the book or its author.

State Representative Kavanagh tells New Times that he takes issue with the "double hearsay" of Sands' anecdote about Kavanagh's complaints about migrants at Fountain Park.

Kavanagh says he's "absolutely" not a racist and insists that his complaints to the MCSO weren't about Hispanics at the park, a public place, but about day laborers causing disturbances at a gas station near the park.

Kleinheinz, the Fountain Hills commander, didn't return a phone call about the anecdote. Munnell had harsh words for his former coworker. He says the view around the agency, in light of the Melendres lawsuit, was that Sands had "screwed up" immigration operations badly. Sands retired soon after oversight of the operations was taken away from him, Munnell says. (Munnell retired in December, a few months after Sands.)

He says Sands' book is full of lies and spin.

"It's absolutely disgusting what Brian Sands is trying to do at this point after overlooking misconduct [in the office] for years," Munnell says. "He condoned the inappropriate conduct of [Hendershott]."

Munnell, voice rising as he speaks, also takes issue with sniping in the book about his work ethic.

"I would match my reputation and professional career against Brian's anytime," Munnell fumes. "You'd be hard-pressed to find five people [at the MCSO] who would say something positive about Brian Sands as a leader, or [about] his ethics."

Sheridan declined to comment but issued a statement through MCSO spokeswoman Allen denying Sands' accusations of racial bias. He said he was considering legal action against his former MCSO colleague. Freeman declined comment.

Allen says the unexpected publication of the book and its blasting of MCSO officials took the office by surprise. But most disturbing, she says, is how Sands tries to paint himself as a hero.

"We couldn't remember anytime when he stood up and said, 'Absolutely not. This is wrong. We're going about it the wrong way,'" she says. "He didn't do it about sex crimes, the birther investigation, illegal immigration. Now [for him] to say all of us are incompetent [and]corrupt -- it's mind-boggling."

Sands says he's planning a sequel.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.

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