Maricopa County Craziness

Sheriff Arpaio's New Office Has 574 Square Feet, Says County; Agency Moving From Wells Fargo Building in August

Arpaio's new office just might be bigger than your first apartment.

When the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office headquarters moves this summer from the downtown Phoenix Wells Fargo building to its new digs on Fifth Street and Jackson, the tough-talking, 20-year sheriff will be welcomed into a personal office in the new building of no less than 574 square feet.

That's a luxurious amount of office space for any would-be humble servant of the people.

The office is part of a new 125,000-square-foot headquarters and 911 call center for the agency being built at a cost of more than $90 million.

Just a few short years ago, Arpaio was ready to help his corrupt ally, disgraced former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, prosecute county leaders, judges, and lawyers partly out of concern that a new county courthouse was too fancy. That was then.

With Thomas up the creek and another election safely behind him, Arpaio is now ready to serve his sixth term from a cozy, cavernous monument to his ego.

The space will be outfitted with a conference table in addition to Arpaio's desk and decor, says county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick.

But it's not like Arpaio will have to suffer meetings in his own office while trying to give an interview to friendly, out-of-state news media, since the 125,000-square-foot building will house other conference rooms.

Arpaio claims he doesn't handle the day-to-day affairs of the office, anyway, at least if anything's going wrong. Although he claims to work 14 hours a day, it's unclear what he does apart from meeting with schoolkids, possible contributors, and members of the news media and other outlets for his obsession with publicity.

Regardless, when he does sit down at a conference table for a staff meeting, actual law enforcement work is the last thing he wants to talk about. Political schemes, sex jokes and trips down memory lane -- the latter being what County Attorney Bill Montgomery referenced as the "nursing home" side of Arpaio -- are more likely to come up.

You can hear what one of his staff meetings sounds like thanks to a secret recording made at one a few years ago.

One thing the big office doesn't come with, though, is a private crapper.

Arpaio, 80, will have to share a restroom at the HQ, Gerchick says.