Profile of Sheriff Joe Arpaio
By | July 17, 2022 1:46 pm

The New Yorker has a fascinating profile on Joe Arpaio here (subscription required).

Abstract below:

Arpaio is known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” He even wrote (or caused to have written) a book with that title, as well as a second one, published last year, “Joe’s Law: America’s Toughest Sheriff Takes On Illegal Immigration, Drugs, and Everything Else That Threatens America.” Maricopa County includes Phoenix, covers more than nine thousand square miles, and has a population of nearly four million. Joe Arpaio has been sheriff there since 1993. He has four thousand employees, three thousand volunteer posse members, and an overworked media-relations staff of five. Like most sheriffs in America, he is elected. Tells about Arpaio’s background in law enforcement. The biggest part of the sheriff’s job is running the jails and Arpaio saw that there was political gold to be spun there. In 1993, vowing that no troublemakers would be released on his watch because of overcrowding, he created the Tent City jail. His popularity grew. He banned cigarettes from his jails. Skin magazines. Movies. Coffee. Salt and pepper. He put inmates in black-and-white striped uniforms and created chain gangs. Later, he decreed that all his inmates must wear pink underwear, socks, and flip-flops. Tells about the thousands of lawsuits and legal claims of abuse filed against Arpaio’s department. Last year, the National Commission on Correction Health Care withdrew the health accreditation of Maricopa County’s jails. In March, the U.S. Department of Justice, at the request of members of Congress, launched an investigation into charges of discriminatory conduct by Arpaio’s office. Some politicians, including Phil Gordon, the mayor of Phoenix, have begun to speak out against Arpaio, denouncing him for abuses of power. Describes how Arpaio has transformed the sheriff’s office into a sort of freelance immigration-enforcement agency. A federal program known as 287(g) allows state and local officers to be cross-trained by Homeland Security and work in immigration enforcement. Arpaio’s deputies have conducted extensive raids on Latino towns and neighborhoods. Writer observes Arpaio and his staff working on a press release about the swine flu and is given a tour of the tents, where he interviews inmates. Discusses conflicts between Arpaio and other law-enforcement officials in Maricopa County, including George Gascón, the Mesa chief of police. Writer interviews the families of two undocumented immigrants who were arrested in a raid and discusses Arpaio with Russell Pearce, a state legislator and Mary Rose Wilcox, the only Democrat on the Maricopa County board of supervisors. Describes a recent appearance by Arpaio on “The Colbert Report.”


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