Paul Penzone, a retired sergeant from the Phoenix Police Department/Nancy Grace suck-up, officially announced his candidacy in this year's race for Maricopa County sheriff.
Penzone, best known for being the public "face" of Silent Witness, announced his candidacy on his website this morning (see his first campaign video after the jump). He vows to make Maricopa County the "safest community in America"
"It is time for professional law enforcement leadership in Maricopa County," Penzone says in a press release. "There is a crisis of leadership in the Sheriff's Office. It is unacceptable when sex crimes against women and children go uninvestigated, and when criminals are allowed to run free on our streets. I'm going to reach out to every single person in our community and ask them to help me retire Joe Arpaio and move the Sheriff's Office in a new direction."
So far, there are two other horse's in the race for sheriff -- 79-year-old Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Scottsdale Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, who is running as an independent (Stauffer, a life-long Republican, switched party affiliation last year to avoid facing Arpaio in a primary).
It's unclear whether Penzone will run as a Republican -- his campaign spokesman, Doug Mings, didn't immediately respond to an email asking that question. If he does run with an "R" next to his name, he'll have to face Arpaio in a primary.
If Penzone runs as a Democrat or independent, he'll likely split the anti-Arpaio vote with Stauffer, which would be beneficial to America's priciest sheriff -- and probably lead to four more years of the Arpaio regime.
Arpaio -- again, at 79 years old -- announced earlier this month that he plans to seek a sixth term as sheriff, despite a rather humiliating 2011 for the MCSO under his (gulp) leadership (a Mexican drug cartel infiltrating his office, a scathing Department of Justice report claiming he's guilty of the worst racial-profiling practices in U.S. history, and the fallout from the Munnell Memo, etc.).
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Aside from his time with the Phoenix Police Department, Penzone served as the Chief Operations Officer for notMYkid, a (supposedly) non-profit organization aimed at educating parents and children of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
We'll let you know if Mings gets back to us.
See Penzone's first campaign video below.