Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Won't Do His Job, So Marshal David Gonzales Does It for Him

What would it be like, I wonder, if Maricopa County had a sheriff who just kept his head down and did his job, rather than what we currently have, a corrupt gasbag who only cares about getting his corpse-like mug on the boob tube?

See also: -Joe Arpaio's Lawyers Fail to Get Sheriff Off the Hook in Justice Department Lawsuit -Joe Arpaio Issues Press Release to Point Out People From Other Countries Work at MCSO

Well, it might be more like the U.S. Marshals Service recent "Operation Grinch Stopper," which targeted fugitives from justice mostly wanted for property crimes, like robbery, larceny, and burglary.

According to the Marshals Service, in the span of three days, from December 11-13, the operation cleared 265 warrants statewide, resulting in 143 arrests, 82 of which were in Phoenix.

"This operation is strategically timed around the holiday season when property crimes typically increase, with the interest being to provide the community with a sense of safety and security for not only their belongings, but also for themselves and loved ones," David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona, stated in a press release about the operation.

One (alleged) scumbag they netted in Chandler had two stolen motorcycles in his garage when law enforcement came a-callin', bikes that had recently been pinched from their owners. Another upstanding citizen wanted for theft and child abuse here in Sand Land was caught hiding out in South Dakota.

A number of law enforcement agencies lent resources and manpower to this effort, from the Phoenix and Tempe Police Departments to cop shops in Buckeye and Casa Grande.

One was noticeably absent: the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Which is ironic, because according to numbers I obtained from the Marshals Service, as of the end of September, there were 28,347 unserved warrants in the county.

Compare that to Pima County, which has a mere 1,357 warrants outstanding. Yeah, I know, Maricopa County's population is 3.9 times that of Pima County's. But do the math, and Maricopa County should have about 5,300 outstanding warrants.

Instead, we have more than five times that amount. Which may be why the MCSO doesn't issue press releases stating that it cleared x-number of warrants over the weekend.

An Arizona Republic fact check from February noted the following:

"The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office acts as a repository for all warrants in the county. It is not the sole agency responsible for serving those warrants -- each agency shares this responsibility -- but the Sheriff's Office does have the largest jurisdiction in the county."

That article also noted that the MCSO, unlike other local agencies, does not participate in the Marshals Service's Arizona task force, which goes out and rounds up fugitives.

Why not? Well, I asked the Marshals Service, but they have yet to get back to me on this question.

However, I seriously doubt that if Arpaio wanted to participate, Marshal Gonzales would stand in his way.

The mere fact that Arpaio does not do the job he's been elected to do is yet another good reason to recall him next year. Maybe then we can get a law man more interested in arresting fugitives than playing paddycake with wingnuts who think President Obama was born in Kenya.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons