Joe Arpaio's Rival Paul Penzone: Video Interview by Dennis Gilman and Yours Truly

Penzone: Looking to put ol' man Arpaio out to pasture

I've been wanting to interview Sheriff Joe Arpaio's two rivals in this year's general election for a while now. So recently, Phoenix videographer Dennis Gilman and I met separately with former Phoenix Police Department Sergeant Paul Penzone and Scottsdale Police Lieutenant Mike Stauffer.

As you likely know, Penzone's running for sheriff as a Democrat, Stauffer as an Independent. Both men are thoughtful individuals, and either would be an improvement over the current situation, obviously. 

Thing is, one of them is going to have to drop out. A three-man race will dilute the anti-Arpaio vote, and our near-octogenarian clown of a sheriff will stroll to victory as a result. 

Actually, even if there's only one David battling this Goliath, he'll need more than five smooth stones, as Arpaio's currently squatting on a $3.4 million campaign honey pot. And the sheriff will likely have more dolo by the time the general election begins in earnest.

Gilman culled this seven-plus minutes of footage from an interview that lasted about a half-hour, so some stuff landed on the cutting room floor. Still, this gives you a longer look than normal at this wannabe sheriff. In it, Penzone talks about Tent City, the posse, Arpaio's antics, and cleaning house at the MCSO.

The Stauffer video will be posted as soon as Gilman has whittled it down to a similar length. A few excerpts from the conversation follow.

On Arpaio as sheriff:

"The community needs to recognize that if you feel like the current sheriff is doing a good job, you're in a bad relationship and don't realize it. Law enforcement [in Maricopa County] could be done so much better, more efficiently, more effectively, in keeping us safer with less of the sideshow, less of the wasted dollars and less of the abuses, because we should never have abuses."

On alleged lawbreaking by Arpaio and his goons:

"We can't allow for those who are in power as public officials to break the law, and not be held accountable, and not be punished for those violations."

On Arpaio's disingenuous birther "investigation" by the cold case posse:

"You're talking about allegations against the President of the United States. So if you feel that serious about it, then you should assign sworn deputies to investigate it. But the reason that you chose not to was because you knew that it wasn't the truth. So you thought you would have an excuse by saying, `Well, I didn't spend any taxpayer dollars to look into it.'"

On the death of Marty Atencio in Arpaio's jails:

"It's unacceptable. No one should die in the custody of any law enforcement organization because of neglect, abuse or inhumane treatment."

On Senate Bill 1070: 

"We can't have something in there that mandates that a law enforcement officer has to choose [between] executing on an illegal immigrant violation over a robbery that's up the street. The thought that you can't leave [an immigration violation] to go protect someone whose life is in danger because you could be civilly liable and sued...that can't be written so strictly into law that it handcuffs law enforcement's ability to use their discretion on what the priorities should be."

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