Smoke and Mirror Man Arpaio

The sheriff of Maricopa County has made it a habit of being in the spotlight now for the last two decades drawing fans from across the world as he titled himself as the “America’s toughest sheriff”. Reading Sheriff Joe’s bio on his Maricopa County website it states “You probably know him as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” a name given to him years ago by the media. It’s a name he certainly has earned as head of the nation’s third largest Sheriff’s Office which employs over 3000 people. But even before he became Sheriff in 1993, Joe Arpaio was one tough lawman. “He began his career as a federal narcotics agent, establishing a stellar record in infiltrating drug organizations from Turkey to the Middle East to Mexico, Central, and South America to cities around the U.S. His expertise and success led him to top management positions around the world with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

But lately, politics has caused this man’s mind to be focused on idiotic things that do nothing to add credibility that he is out of control and that his agency is out of control. Recent investigations revealed corruption, misspending and illegal activities revealed because an insider kept a long journal of misconduct as a chief deputy employed with the sheriff’s office for many years. Always under scrutiny for how he runs his jails, his immigration sweeps and campaign methods against his opponents, he is no doubt one of the best smoke and mirror guys in this country as he has always been deflecting the cause and effect on himself and place the guilt, the misconduct or the flaws on others. At the present time, however, the sheriff is running out of smoke and he has broken numerous mirrors that may cause him more than seven years of bad luck.

The Arizona Republic reports that Sheriff Joe is “Already under investigation by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and a federal Grand Jury and under a court order to stop abusing pre-trial detainees that resulted from a lawsuit brought by the ACLU.” Just a few days ago, almost immediately after the report came out on his two top deputies and firing them from their positions Sheriff Joe began ” running “Mugshot of the Day,” an online contest that invites people to vote on their favorite inmate-booking photos.” It seems that whenever Sheriff Joe has an internal problem to resolve, he goes out and does something bizarre to draw the attention away from the problem and refocus the eyes and ears of his constituents on other matters that are popular to his fans. The Republic further reports that “More than 25 percent of inmates in Maricopa County Jail admit to being diagnosed with mental illness, so Sheriff Joe Arpaio stood a good chance of offending mental-health advocates when the Sheriff’s Office recently launched a new online contest asking website visitors to vote for their favorite inmate-booking photos.” It is almost certain, Sheriff Joe offended more than just mental health advocates. He offended every family member of those who are arrested and not convicted of a crime yet.

These mugshots are of people who carry a pre-trail status and are innocent until proven guilty. Whether charged or not, the criminal system in Maricopa County is beginning to show its true colors by coloring everyone arrested guilty before their trials. Perhaps, this has been the culture all along and because of his thoughts of being immortal and untouchable, he has decided to show his true character and punish not just the guilty but also the innocent for coming into “his” jails.

Sheriff Joe’s support among his fan is diminishing day after day as he no longer carries the charisma that brought him the popularity back in “the days.” His following is thinning and his mind is borderline senile as he responds to many questions with a “I don’t remember” approach that makes you suspect that he is either a great actor or he just doesn’t remember anymore. Looking at 2012, it will be interesting to see who will defeat Sheriff Joe for this most powerful law enforcement position inside Arizona.