Maricopa County includes the greater Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tempe- Mesa metropolitan area. The county, located in south-central Arizona is home to nearly 4 million people, making it the 4th most populous county in the entire United States. The county covers just over 9,220 square miles, making it larger in area than 4 states – Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey and is nearly the size of New Hampshire. The southwestern most corner of the county is only 30 miles from the Mexico border and the metropolitan area is a mere 100-120 miles north of the border.
Consequently, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, one of the largest county law enforcement agencies in the nation, deals with a great deal of illegal human and drug trafficking coming from Mexico. Personal contacts have told me for years that at least 70%-75% or more of the crime in Maricopa County is directly or indirectly linked to illegal aliens and illegal drugs that have come up from Mexico.
In 1993, Joe Arpaio was elected Sheriff of Maricopa County. Not long after taking office, liberal judges ordered Arpaio to start releasing prisoners early due to overcrowding in the county jails. Arpaio refused, so he obtained a number of old Army tents and erected what became known as Tent City. The tents were erected on the jail grounds, had no air conditioning and limited facilities. Instead of releasing inmates early, Arpaio began housing up to 1,700 inmates in Tent City.
In the early days, Tent City was guarded by trained guard dogs who ate better than the inmates. Arpaio took away cigarettes and porn from the inmates. He tried to take away television, but a liberal judge insisted inmates have access to television, so when they were installed in Tent City, most of them only got 1 station like C-SPAN. In addition to Tent City, Arpaio instituted chain-gang inmate labor details for men and women prisoners. He also made all of the male prisoners wear pink underwear because the older white underwear kept disappearing. However, the pink underwear became so popular with the public that the sheriff’s department’s posse began selling them in stores for $25 a pair to raise money for the volunteer posse.
When inmates protested and complained, I recall see Arpaio on the news saying that he wanted the citizens of the county to know that jail was not a resort and he wanted inmates to hate it so much that they wouldn’t keep committing more crimes and avoid being sent back to jail. He wanted jail to be a deterrent and the majority of the citizens of the county hailed Arpaio as a hero. He became so popular for his hard and strong stand that he probably could have run for governor and easily won.
Because Arpaio dared to investigate Barack Obama’s birth certificate and then went public with their findings, the Department of Justice attacked Arpaio and his department with everything they had. (Incidentally, the posse investigation revealed that the ‘official’ birth certificate as put forth by the White House was a forgery as was Obama’s Selective Service Card and they found information that made Obama’s Social Security Number highly questionable. How does one supposedly born in Hawaii obtain a Social Security Number issued in Connecticut?)
Liberal Democrats across the nation pumped in millions of dollars into the 2016 campaign of Democrat Paul Penzone, who opposed Arpaio in the November election. Penzone won and his liberal ways are already drawing question from many of the county’s conservatives.
Penzone’s latest move is to eliminate Tent City. He compared it to a circus for others and provided a dangerous atmosphere for prisoners. He cited a couple of events in the past where inmates rioted, burned the tents and took guards hostage. If that was his reason, then many working and functioning prisons in the United States should be shut down because inmates have done the same thing in regular prisons.
Penzone has also informed federal officials that his department will no longer hold individuals flagged by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He said it was for legal reasons to avoid litigation on the issue, but in one of his statements, he said that his department will focus on working towards the release of illegal immigrants flagged by ICE. Like many other liberal Democrats, he cares nothing about the safety of the residents of the county.
Without Tent City to house the overflow of inmates, and knowing how liberal Penzone is on many of his views, he will most likely end up releasing hundreds of prisoners early if the regular county jails get overcrowded.
Sheriff Paul Penzone’s policies so far will put more criminals and illegals back on the streets to continue their criminal ways and victimize the residents of the 4th largest county in America.