Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, recently announced he would run for re-election. The tone of his statement was one of defiance, and anger at his various critics. Which begs the question, why on earth is Sheriff Joe so angry? Despite numerous law suits, civil rights violations, and accusations of defrauding the county the Sheriff continues to get re-elected with relative ease. It would seem in the eyes of the voters in Maricopa county, Sheriff Joe can do whatever he wants.
Which is ironic as Sheriff Joe cites his overriding desire to protect the citizens of Maricopa County and enforce the law at all costs, yet overwhelming evidence shows that he has done the opposite.
In 2010 Sheriff Joe was accused of deliberately misspending $64 million of Maricopa County funds to pay for private vacations and other expenditures not related to executing the duties of his office including trips to Puerto Rico, Belize, first class upgrades, stays at luxury hotels and $2,215 .48 spent at the Disney Land Yact Resort.
In 2011 year it was found that the Sheriff's office had bungled the handling of hundreds of Sex Crimes in Maricopa County. According to the reports "Victims included a 15-year-old girl who said she was raped by two men outside an El Mirage shopping center and a 9-year-old who told a school counselor her grandmother's boyfriend often came into her bedroom at night, performing sex acts as she tried to sleep." While Sheriff Joe has vowed to defend the citizens of Arizona and enforce all laws, these investigations stopped when they reached his office.
Finally Sheriff Joe has been at the center of many civil rights complaints from American citizens. In 2011 the Justice Department released a report which noted that "Legal residents were sometimes treated as if they were illegal immigrants and even jailed. Latino inmates with poor or no English proficiency were frequently punished for not understanding English, were required to fill out forms in a language they did not understand, or were denied critical services available to English-speaking inmates.
Despite all of this Sheriff Joe is still in office, has raised nearly $6 million dollars for his re-election and is expected to easily win in November. In a Democratic society, Sheriff Joe is perfectly able to run again, but when will he ever be held accountable for any of the questionable tactics he has employed while in office. Regardless of his politics, regardless of his feelings towards the federal government, and his critics at this point perhaps the greatest failure here is not Sheriff Joe's alone.
In our process we are given a vote, a fundamental right to voice our disapproval on election day. The fact that the Sheriff has been able to not enforce the law or protect the citizens of Arizona and still get re-elected is a hard pill to swallow. If I was Sheriff Joe, I wouldn't be mad, if anything I would be pretty happy with the way things are going. If anyone should be mad it is the citizens of Maricopa County.