Sheriff Joe Arpaio Halts Public Voting for Jail "Mugshot of the Day" After Website Redesign

Fans of tattooed faces and tear-streaked mascara will be disappointed to learn that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has canceled his controversial "Mugshot of the Day" poll.

Since April 2011, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's website allowed visitors to cast votes on the mugshots of people booked into the state's largest jail. The top vote getters would jockey for position on the site's "M.O.D. Leader Board" until the end of the day, when the photo that received the most votes was declared the winner and featured with a "Mugshot of the Day!" logo.

It's unclear whether the feature will return to the MCSO website, which underwent a major redesign earlier this month. The new site contains a mugshot-viewing page but no contest.

Chris Hegstrom, an MCSO spokesman, says the agency is assessing whether it will bring back the mugshot-voting system when it puts "phase two" of the website changes into place. But he could offer no information or estimate on when the second phase might happen.

Arpaio told the public in 2011 that he hoped "Mugshot of the Day" would draw more traffic to the site, which in turn would highlight the work of MCSO employees and potentially result in more crime suspects being spotted by witnesses or victims.

If "Mugshot of the Day" ever led to a valid investigative lead, the MCSO never let the public know about it.

Typically, the winners were the jail's best-looking female inmates, though occasionally a man would win if he had the right facial tattoos or bizarre appearance.

One of the most famous winners was announced a few months after the feature's launch. Jeffery Hendershott, the son of Arpaio's chief deputy at the time, was arrested in July 2011 on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run, and his picture was voted Mugshot of the Day.

Several news outlets have highlighted some of the MCSO mugshots on their own websites; New Times discontinued its "Mugshots of the Week" feature last year.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern