As I noted back on December 12, and as you can see from the photo above, numerous sheriff's deputies were involved in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's star turn on the three episode Fox Reality pilot, Smile...You're Under Arrest! So on December 12, I sent a formal public records request to the MCSO asking for the names of the deputies involved, how many hours they were on duty during filming, the type of time (straight time, overtime, etc.) they billed for, and the salaries of those involved, so I could begin to figure out how much money this reality show has cost the citizens of Maricopa County.
Above, and to the left, the MCSO operative in the striped shirt is the same as the one below who has refused to identify himself to me on more than one occasion.
Yesterday, I recieved a faxed letter from one Lt. D. Culhane , "Legal Liaison Section Commander" of the "Compliance Division" of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. This is what Lt.Culhane had to inform me:
"No records were maintained by the Media Relations Office of the individual employees that participated in this public service and compensation of office personnel was at the rate consistent with the hours that the individual employee worked."
This reply, which took Culhane nearly a month to write, is basically a stonewall. Of course, the MCSO has a record of where its deputies are, and it knows how many deputies were extras on this show. It knows the number of hours involved, and the type of time each deputy billed. And naturally, the MCSO knows the hourly rate of each of its deputies, which would be different depending on rank, number of years served, etc.
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To state that, "No records were maintained by the Media Relations Office," is misleading and beside the point. The MCSO has these records, even if one specific department doesn't have them on file. I have asked for these records, pursuant to Arizona Public Records Law, and the MCSO is avoiding giving them to me.
Why is the MCSO stonewalling? Why doesn't the MCSO want the public to know how many deputies were used, and how much this dog and pony show ultimately cost us all? That's for you to decide, folks. The letter also says Fox did not compensate MCSO employees. I'll be looking into that statement further and let you know what I discover. Even if the deputies received no money from Fox, if they billed overtime for this charade, then it cost the county more than it usually would have to serve these warrants.
Arpaio claimed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien that the filming of the Fox Reality show resulted in the nabbing of 400 individuals. Today, I put in another public records request asking to review all of the documents involved in those warrants and arrests.
I've also included a screenshot from the reality show of the deputy I blogged about this past Monday. This plainclothes snooper was spying on a demonstration at the Board of Supervisors, but refused to give me his name. If he looks familiar to anyone out there, feel free to post his name and rank. (Some I've talked to think he's a captain, either with MCSO Special Investigations or the SWAT team.) He does work for us, the public, though he may have different ideas about that.