The eyes of the baseball world will soon be on the Valley when the MLB All-Star Game comes to town next month -- which, of course, means it's time for America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" to smile for the cameras and entertain the out-of-towners with some fruitcake, wild west sheriffin'.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's publicity stunt of choice for All-Star weekend: a female chain gang that probably will make a stop at Chase Field to pick up garbage as the national sporting press tries to cover a baseball game.
We spoke briefly to MCSO Lieutenant Justin Griffin this afternoon. As the former head of Arpaio's chain-gang unit, he says he can't reveal where the chain gang will go because if people knew, they could stash contraband in the area for inmates to retrieve. He says that sort of thing's been a problem in the past.
His boss, however, decided to spill the beans.
Also expected at Chase Field for the July 12 game are protesters of Arizona's controversial immigration law, Senate Bill 1070.
"If [protesters] can be there, why can't my female chain gang be there as a public service," Arpaio says.
Arpaio's female chain gang has been picking up trash across the Valley since 1996. It's the only female chain gang in the country, which makes it a sideshow that's perfect for sportscasters looking to bring some local flavor (not necessarily good flavor) to a national audience.
In other words, don't be shocked if you're watching the All-Star game on TV and you see some B-roll of Arpaio's gals picking up garbage outside of Chase Field -- which, of course, is the sheriff's goal.
This particular gang is comprised of women convicted of DUI. They will be decked out in the standard striped uniforms. However, they will also be wearing pink T-shirts with messages about DUI.
The sheriff will be updating his Twitter page with daily DUI chain-gang sightings. The first update was this morning. Check it out here.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.