Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Goldwater Institute Goes After Sheriff Joe

Clint Bolick, Litigation Director of the conservative Goldwater Institute, has issued a 22-page indictment of Joe Arpaio's tenure as sheriff of Maricopa County, which encompasses the majority of the Phoenix metro area in Arizona. Entitled Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County's Sheriff Office (.pdf file warning), Bolick goes after Sheriff Joe's lack of focus on crime reduction and inefficient management of the department.

"The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is tasked with the important job of keeping crime rates low," said Clint Bolick, author of the report and Goldwater Institute litigation director. "Judged by its own statistics, MCSO appears to be falling seriously short of fulfilling its core law enforcement duties."

Among the areas Mission Unaccomplished analyzes is MCSO's record keeping and reporting. The study finds MCSO record keeping inadequate and inaccurate. For example, each year when the Sheriff's Office provides crime clearance statistics to the county, the figures are accompanied by the disclaimer that the data "is not considered accurate."

The paper also examines the 166-percent increase in homicide rates between 2004 and 2007, the same period that MCSO began diverting resources to other priorities, such as trips by high-level employees to Honduras for ambiguous law enforcement activities.

Arizona Capitol Times
What's puzzling about this lengthy report is not so much its content or origin, but rather the timing. In the Executive Summary, Bolick writes: "We find that MCSO’s effectiveness has been compromised for the past several years by misplaced priorities that have diverted it from its mission."

Compromised? Can't argue with that.

Unfortunately, the credibility of the Goldwater Institute is suspect since Arpaio was up for reelection less than a month prior to the public unveiling of this document. If Bolick was really concerned about Sheriff Joe's leadership, he would have placed this indictment on the table prior to November 4th.

What we have now is Arpaio doing his infamous big stick wave to the media, doing nothing to further the recommendations outlined by the report.
"This guy doesn't know what he's talking about," Arpaio said. "All the garbage he puts in there he got from the newspapers or a few critics."
With Republicans expanding their control of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in November alongside Arpaio's re-election with sidekick Andrew Thomas in tow, accountability is not something that should be expected. The Goldwater Institute has offered the public too little, too late.

Crossposted at The Sanctuary

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