Toughest Sheriff in America

June 6, 2014

Maricopa County Arizona has a population of about 4 Million, making it the 4th largest county in the U.S.

The Maricopa County seat is Phoenix, the state capital and the sixth-most populous city in the U.S.

The chief law enforcement official in Maricopa County is Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  He has been elected Sheriff 6 times to consecutive 4-year terms as Sheriff.

As the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” and a perpetual darling of Fox News, Sheriff Arpaio has received plenty of coverage in national media for his somewhat controversial approaches to law enforcement.

By some estimates, Arpaio has cost citizens of Maricopa County more than $44 million because of alleged illegal, vindictive, unethical and unnecessary lawsuits and other actions that he has leveled against his enemies — or people he believed were enemies – ostensibly because those folks objected to the Sheriff’s approach to finding justice.

It seems the majority of those targeted in lawsuits have been politicians; journalists; activists; and others who did not agree with his actions and/or positions.

This approach does not seem to be favorable to the residents, taxpayers and voters in Maricopa County because — rather than hire teachers and police, open libraries, maintain parks or staff hospitals – money is being paid out in settlements to those who have apparently been wronged by Sheriff Arpaio.

Thus it seems that Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be the poster child for a serious failure in our U.S. political system.

Back when Wyatt Earp was appointed Deputy Sheriff for the eastern part of Pima County, Arizona, it was the Wild West. That was almost 150 years ago, and things have changed just a bit.

How is it that we continue to elect the chief law enforcement officer in so many places across the U.S.?

How do we know that the candidates have the best experience and credentials to do the job we expect from them?

In his defense, Arpaio does have some experience in law enforcement.

But, he has no documented successful experience managing people; managing a budget; or managing anything other than his own affairs.

Yes, he apparently graduated from High School, and he served in the U.S. Armed services.

How that qualifies him to be the chief law enforcement officer in the 4th largest county in the United States is baffling, at the least.

It was all good in 1776, and much of it is still good today. But, we really need to update some of our basic rules to adapt them to the realities of the 21st Century.

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