Sheriff Joe Arpaio / by kevin murray

I don't even know the Sheriff's name in my own community and I can only list one other Sheriff's name in the entire country and probably that is because of some sort of notoriety.  I don't live in Arizona, I really don't understand why anyone does, all that dry heat and it's not Las Vegas, I mean, what's the point.  Anyway, I digress, the one sheriff that I hear about time and time again is Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County, which contains Arizona's largest city which is Phoenix.  Although, it has been a couple generations since Barry Goldwater, Arizona's favorite son, ran as the Presidential candidate in 1964, the Republican power still controls most of the reins of Maricopa County.  It that wasn't the case, Arpaio, a Republican would not be the six-time elected Sheriff.


At age 81, Arpaio appears to be the type of man who wants to leave this world with his proverbial boots on.  Arpaio isn't someone that is easily intimidated, he has his power, he is happy with that power, and he will fight you hard to maintain that power and make you regret fighting him should you do so.  Arpaio is not the type of man who goes down quietly, fights dirty, enjoys the limelight, and embraces the stigma of being considered a xenophobe and a demagogue.   Arpaio portrays himself as being "America's toughest Sheriff", tough on crime, tough on criminals, true to the American flag, supports his fellow officers, and that plays well with the conservative core that supports him.  Of course, essentially, he is a man that believes in a police state with himself being the sole determinant of what he judges as being right or wrong.


Sheriff Arpaio is a case in point as to why we should have term limits for elected public servants.  The longer a man like Arpaio is in office, the more power, the more beholden the other players must be to him.  Arpaio has been accused again and again of racial profiling specifically against Latinos and a recent Federal Judge's ruling affirms that Arpaio's policies violated the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.  As for the inmates that Sheriff Arpaio is so tough on, this too has been found by a Federal Judge to be a violation of their Constitutional rights.


A fundamental way that Arpaio has maintained his power is to have a grand jury constantly indict Board of Supervisor's members that do not conform with his megalomania or don't properly support Arpaio's law-enforcement ambitions or goals.  Arpaio is built from the mold of those that feel that they are above the law,  and Arpaio uses the law as his own personal bully pulpit, under the guise of upholding the law that he is do disdainful of when applied to himself and his and his cohorts' actions.  Those that support Sheriff Arpaio most vociferously are those that are in no danger of being harassed by Arpaio and consequently have nothing to fear from him or his actions.  To them, Arpaio is like their own personal guard dog, but in reality Arpaio is a thief.  He steals from the public virtue, he steals from our Christian values, he steals from the American dream, and he locks down the Golden Door.