America's Worst Sheriff

I am working on a longer post on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's sweeps through Hispanic neighborhoods to round up the usual suspects (Mayor Phil Gordon has asked the feds to investigate these practices, which I hope they will do).

But this one is just weird.  Apparently Phoenix tax money is being used by Arpaio to train Honduran police, in a program that makes sense (from a Phoenix point of view) to no one.  Sheriff Joe watchers will enjoy his numerous nonsensical explanations, though the last one probably is the correct one.  For those outside of Phoenix, sit back and enjoy the weirdness -- its the only consolation we here in Arizona get for having the worst and most abusive sheriff in the country.

Explanation One:  Arpaio looks to small Latin American countries as models for his police force

Sheriff's officials told the county Board of Supervisors that the
Honduran National Police possess the "intelligence data, knowledge and
cultural experiences to benefit the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office."

Explanation Two:  We can't tell you, because it would endanger Sheriffs' lives (this is an Arpaio oldie but goodie):

discussing efforts in Honduras could endanger the lives of law-enforcement officers in both countries....revealing details could put lives at risk

Explanation Three:  Honduras supplied millions of photos for Arpaio's facial recognition software (yeah, I know non-Phoenicians, this is weird)

The sheriff's facial-recognition software program is supposed to be among the biggest beneficiaries of the Honduras engagement....When Arpaio was first confronted about the department's trips to
Honduras, he said the agency had received "millions" of photos from
Honduran officials.

Explanation Four:  Its a RICO thing, so we can't tell you (at least, it uses RICO funds)

The agency has spent more than $120,000 on Sheriff's Office employee
salaries in Honduras, and an additional $30,000 in RICO funds seized
from criminals. And some of the trips occurred during a time period
where the Sheriff's Office overspent its overtime budget by nearly $1

Explanation Five:  We can't talk about it, because that would open up public officials to scrutiny for their actions:

The Sheriff's Office will not grant interviews to explain how and why
the program was started and what the benefits are to Maricopa County,
because officials say discussing the program fuels criticism


  1. Allen:

    Sounds like Arpaio thinks he's more important than the Feds.

  2. Kim Scarborough:

    Wow, that last one is great! I wish I could use that line at home: "Why did you do that?" "I'm sorry, honey, I can't tell you because discussion would fuel criticism."

  3. mahtso:

    To me, what is weird is that the linked article has no indication that the reporter (or any of Gannett Company's reporters/newspeople) has actually looked at the public records that have been released.
    If the answer is not in those documents or that answer proves to be inadequate in light of MCSO's legal obligations, then that would be news. This news actually came out a week or more ago, so there has been time for the media to actually do some investigation and at least begin to review the documents.

    Also the article does not explain the Governor's involvement, beyond her declaration. Is she in league with the Sheriff? Has state money been used?(I'll admit, that despite Coyote's statement that Phoenix tax dollars are being spent, I don't see that in the article, unless it was in furtherance of the training related to the Governor's proclamation. For those non-Phoenicians, Maricopa County is substantially larger than Phoenix and, as simplistic as this may be, is a distinct entity.)

  4. John Moore:

    I once read an AZ Republic story about an "environmental racism" suit against a refinery to be built in Mobile, AZ. So I did my own fact checking ( see here ). It is clear that the reporter just took someone's press release and swallowed it hook, line and stinker.