JABBA IN PARADISE
This incredulous avian kept rubbing its peepers in disbelief. Was that really Sheriff Joe Arpaio's chief deputy, David Hendershott, looking like a cross between Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau and mad scientist Dr. Mephisto from South Park?
Them eagle eyes weren't lyin'. The pic, which appears on a couple of Honduran Web sites, shows a visit Hendershott made in early 2007, along with men identified as MCSO Captain Jim Miller, retired MCSO deputy Roger Marshall, and Honduran cop Julio Benitez, to the Roatan Bruce Radio Show. Roatan? That's the largest of the Bay Islands. Collectively, the Bay Islands are one of the Central American state's 18 "departments," a Caribbean paradise 35 to 40 miles off the northern Honduran coast.
According to an article written by radio host Bruce Starr, a.k.a. "Roatan Bruce," for Honduras This Week Online, which summarized FM interviews Starr did with MCSOers, the Sheriff's Office is in Latin America as part of a program "to help us educate, train, and equip [Bay Islands] police." Starr further states that MCSO pooh-bahs "have committed to coming down to The Bay Islands on a regular basis to accomplish this goal."
Miller tells Starr that the MCSO team has taken investigative equipment to the Honduran National Police, and "it is just the beginning of more resources" the MCSO will supply. In April, another columnist for HTWO praised the MCSO for sending "fingerprinting apparatus, a camera," and "crime scene paraphernalia" to local coppers.
No word on whether the MCSO's sending down some of those old restraint chairs they're no longer allowed to use in Joe's gulags. From one banana republic to another, with love.
In October 2007, Roatan Bruce again wrote up an interview with some MCSO mugs. This time, it was Captain Brian Beamish from Special Operations and Lieutenant Kevin Riddle from the Central Investigations Division, who "were part of a second wave of police that spent a month in Honduras training policemen in Tegucigalpa before coming here."
A month? So whose dime was that on, this dodo wonders? Maybe there's some grant involved or some federal moolah or something, but any way you cut it, Beamish and Riddle could have been back here in Sand Land, helping the MCSO fight crime, assuming the MCSO gave a hoot about that. Instead, they're training 160 student police officers in the ways of one of the worst metro police agencies in this nation.
Beamish tells the Roatan man that the new Honduran gendarmes "will now be taking a strong stand towards community and customer service. This is a fabulous approach towards law enforcement. We know that from where we come from. Sheriff Arpaio has been especially successful in the Arizona area with that kind of process."
Are you kiddin'? "Community and customer service"? Is that MCSO code for arrest journalists, round up the Mexicans, and ignore average citizens when they kvetch about crime? (Think Aguila, folks, where people have had to arm themselves against a crime wave ignored by the Sheriff's Office until recently.)
Beamish then makes an even more outlandish promise.
"There is more training scheduled for the beginning of the year (2008) and it is going to continue for the next several years," Beamish assures Starr. "The next group to come down will be on anti-corruption."
Now this nightingale has heard everything!
The MCSO advising Latin American cops on anti-corruption? That's like Jamie Lynn Spears teaching abstinence classes. Ironically, in the photo that accompanies this October article, Beamish and his MCSO buds look like they haven't bathed in days and are in dire need of some hair o' the dog, if you catch this cockatoo's drift.
And what's with Beamish's vow to be in Honduras indefinitely? Sounds like we're gonna have MCSO down there for as long as we have troops in Iraq.
The Bird's still looking into all this, having requested public docs from Sheriff's Office flack Paul Chagolla. But even if there's some legitimate source for the funding of this Honduran excursion — like a grant of some kind from the feds, or some international agency, it's an odd project for heavyweight Hendershott and his underlings to be involved in.
Especially at a time when the MCSO's budget is gushing red faster than a hemophiliac with a needle fetish.
The Bird did find an executive order from Governor Janet Napolitano declaring June 5, 2007, to be "Bay Island Sister Agency Project for Justice and Service Day," one of numerous such proclamations regularly issued by AZ's chief exec.
But this proclamation doesn't explain why the MCSO can't afford OT, and has been employing such cost-cutting measures as closing satellite jail facilities and slashing visitation hours for inmates, but can still afford to send Jabba the Hendershott and his minions to Honduras for a working vacay.
Could it be that Hendy, et al., are developing a Plan B, just in case Arpaio doesn't win re-election this year? You know, setting up a lil' deal in sunny Honduras where they could retire in case their services are no longer needed?
JOE SHOW BLOWS
The main reason this feathered fiend winged his way down to 32nd Street and Thomas Road recently for an episode of the Joe Show was to ask Arpaio about these junkets to Honduras that Hendershott and his MCSO henchmen have taken to train the po-po down there.
The stated reason for the Friday-afternoon press conference had to do with the PHX's version of Idi Amin using his posse for an anti-illegal dragnet in the rectangle of P-town bounded by 16th and 40th streets, between Indian School and McDowell roads.
The posse? You mean those moss-backed Matlocks who gum their food and roam the malls during Xmas time?
Yep, Joe was touting these wanna-be deputies, who have no power to actually stop and arrest anyone, as the backbone behind a crime sweep intended to net as many illegals as possible in the predominantly Hispanic area. The dippy dragnet would therefore cost less, cried Arpaio, with fewer actual MCSO deputies needed.
So this obstreperous oriole eased up next to the sheriff and peeped his query as soon as he got a chance.
"Do you have to use the posse because all of your MCSO officers are in Honduras, Joe?" wondered The Bird to our Pennzoil-haired lawman. "Just what is Chief Deputy David Hendershott doing in Honduras training cops there?"
The sheriff advised this avian that he doesn't answer questions from New Times employees, and he proceeded to ignore the Taloned One, for the moment. But he did flinch as The Bird inquired several times as to Hendershott's Honduran escapade.
Maybe Arpaio doesn't know that much about it. After all, Hendershott is Arpaio's own blubber-bound Dick Cheney, the evil genius who pulls Arpaio's strings and runs the day-to-day operations of the MCSO while Nickel Bag Joe is out at staged events and press conferences. Arpaio should know about it, however.
"We are utilizing our volunteer posse," announced Joe to the flock of journos in the otherwise vacant parking lot where he'd set up his mobile command center. "We've done this many times before. We've gone after prostitutes and other criminal activity utilizing the posse."
Right, Joe, and that prostitution sting was sooooo successful. For those who weren't here back in 2003 when it went down, posse members and regular MCSO officers went undercover to bust massage parlors and whatnot, and in the process, some of the posse members got nekkid and had their wrinkled weenies stroked by the working gals involved. (See "In the Crosshairs," June 24, 2004, for more on this MCSO bumblefuck.)
The anti-ho operation was so compromised that then-County Attorney Rick Romley refused to prosecute the collars made. The fiasco's just one of many that has made the sheriff's posse a laughingstock, a Metamucil-primed gaggle of alter kockers who should be relegated to a support role, at best, instead of involved directly in legitimate law-enforcement activities.
Along those lines, this winged wordsmith persisted in peppering the ancient lawman with inquiries.
"What special training do posse members have to enforce immigration law?" wondered this woodpecker. "And do you have enough Depends to go around to all the posse members, Sheriff?"
There was a long pause after that crack, though still no reply.
"How old is the average posse member, Joe?" peeped this pigeon.
Joe ignored this egret, who followed up by asking whether most of the posse-ites were retirees. Joe then quipped, "I hear someone whispering . . ."
"It's a little bird in your ear, Joe!" this beak-bearer squawked not far from his ear.
To that, there were a few chuckles, even from ol' Joe.
"So would you say most posse members are around 50, 60, 70?" persisted this pelican.
"I don't think 60 is old," he grumbled. "They keep saying I have wrinkles on my hands. My hands look pretty good."
Hands? The Bird let it go. After all, the guy is pushing 80.
Pro-immigrant activists, including Salvador Reza, showed up at the event. They were concerned that Joe would do his racial profiling shtick so close to where the Pruitt's protests had been going down (until a truce was called between Reza and Pruitt's owner Roger Sensing, ending the months-long standoff).
Later that evening, those concerns were made real when MCSO officers stopped U.S. citizen Israel Correa nearby, supposedly for driving without his headlights on. He was arrested for allegedly failing to show his driver's license.
But when Correa was released, his Arizona driver's license was returned to him with his possessions, according to Channel 12. (The MCSO incident report later showed that Correa had given the deputy his driver's license after he was arrested.)
Can anyone say, "lawsuit in the making"? And it was the regular MCSO cops who made the bust, supposedly, not posse pinheads.
No wonder the sheriff's "mobile command center" was gone the next day, the parking lot at 32nd and Thomas empty once again. And the posse members? Presumably back at the Luby's in Sun City, gumming their meatloaf.
Energetic, angry, and ready to rumble. That was the mood of the crowd of 200-300 who showed for Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban's recent announcement at Phoenix's Wyndham Hotel that he intends to flay Arpaio's flaccid fanny in this year's general election for Maricopa County sheriff.
"Today will mark the beginning of the end of Mr. Arpaio and his infamous reign," declared Saban at the podium after being preceded by a series of supporters, including former Republican County Attorney Rick Romley, community activist Donna Neil of Nail'Em, and lefty former State Senator Alfredo Gutierrez.
This dastardly duck dug most of what Saban had to say, especially his promises to reopen satellite jail facilities, not renew the expensive MCSO lease on HQ offices at the Wells Fargo Bank Building, go after the 40,000 felony warrants Arpaio's ignored, and "order an immediate and detailed audit of existing finances and expenditure patterns" within the MCSO.
Of course, this worm-wrangler would've liked Saban's speechifying even better if he'd pledged to close Tent City. But heck, even Rome wasn't unbuilt in a day. This clucker ain't countin' his chicks yet, but he does believe Saban has a chance to take Joe, entrenched though our sadistic ol' sheriff may be.
Remember, Saban ran against Arpaio in the 2004 Republican primary, and ended up getting 44 percent of the vote. This despite Arpaio's smear tactics against Saban as detailed in New Times journo Paul Rubin's cover story, "Boob's Tube" (January 25, 2007). If it had not been for the smear, Saban would likely have won his party's nomination. Especially since many in the party bucked Arpaio in 2004.
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Saban's since switched to the Dem column, which gives him a better chance of taking Arpaio to the woodshed, especially with Republicans and Independents able to cross over and vote for Saban's new Democratic self.
Will the sheriff slime Saban again? That would be a foolish move, one likely to backfire, much in the same way there was a backlash to the arrest of this blackbird's bosses Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin by members of the MCSO's Selective Enforcement Unit in October.
"Numbered are the days," spoke Saban, "when members of the press and our citizens need to fear having a sheriff who violates their constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of speech."
Sounds good to the winged wonder, who counts some 292 days 'til the general election, and (hope against hope) removal of Joe from office.