First, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 'birther' investigation was about the politics. Now, it's apparently about the money. Either way, Arpaio's latest pastime is an affront to hardworking taxpayers who simply want a sheriff who enforces the law and pursues criminals -- not abuses the office.
Recent media reports reveal that the lead member of the sheriff's voluntary 'Cold Case Posse' penned a book about the president's birth certificate 'investigation' and is profiting from it. Not only did Arpaio approve the book project at inception -- he wrote its forward.
Having been involved in hundreds of criminal investigations during my 20-plus years of law enforcement, including two of the most heinous serial killer cases in Arizona history, I have never seen a sitting law enforcement officer authorize an investigator to profit from a case prior to it being tried in a court of law. Until now.
By Arpaio's own admission, this 'birther' case has not yet established a factual crime or any criminal suspects. Yet he gave permission to a civilian volunteer to use the authority of his office to investigate this case, then profit from it. That is irresponsible, unacceptable and goes against the principles of any legitimate law enforcement practice.
Meanwhile, some 400 cases of sexual abuse against women and children in Maricopa County went uninvestigated under Arpaio's watch. And although felony fugitives pose one of the greatest threats to the safety of our community, the sheriff refuses to dedicate full-time deputies to a task force focused on apprehending these dangerous criminals. Arpaio has cost Maricopa County over $50 million dollars in lawsuits, and the number continues to climb.
All the while, the sheriff uses his taxpayer-funded office to hold a news conference that promotes his national political agenda, I can only wonder what these and other local crime victims must think.
Simply put, Maricopa County residents deserve a sheriff who serves their needs, not one focused on his own media stunts and political agendas.
Follow Paul Penzone on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Penzone4sheriff