Joe Arpaio Opponent Mike Stauffer and the (Possible) End of the Reality-Show Sheriff's Office

Categories: Election 2012
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Mike Stauffer on what's wrong with Joe Arpaio: "where do I start?"
We had a chance this morning to grab a cup of coffee with Scottsdale Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, who is currently campaigning to unseat Joe Arpaio as the Republican nominee in next year's race for Maricopa County Sheriff.

In short, what we took away from our hour-long chat is this: Stauffer wants to put an end to the pompous, reality TV-based culture that currently plagues the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office under 79-year-old Arpaio and get back to doing the job of a county sheriff's office -- which doesn't include buddying up to Steven Seagal and Ted Nugent, and chasing illegal immigrants through the stock rooms of Burlington Coat Factories.

Rather, Stauffer says, the focus of the MCSO -- when it comes to illegal immigration -- should be stopping the criminal enterprises that smuggle people, drugs, and weapons in and out of the United States, not on "ineffective" immigration sweeps that often use pricey MCSO resources but yield little more than the arrests of 10-or-so illegal immigrants.

"Immigration sweeps are totally ineffective," he says. "The focus needs to be on the organized crime component [of illegal immigration]: the human smuggling, the drug smuggling, the weapons smuggling."  

Stauffer yesterday posted on his Facebook page a note about Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070. Check it out here. However, nowhere in the note does he mention how he personally feels about it. Curious, we sent his campaign an email asking for his personal feelings on the law.

Rather than send us an email with a manicured response, Stauffer wanted to sit down and chat.

Even when pressed, Stauffer wouldn't tell us how he feels about the law because, he says, as a potential sheriff, his opinion doesn't matter.

"As sheriff it's not my place to agree or disagree with a law that's been enacted by the state legislature," he says. "We've had 18-20 years [under Arpaio] of being convinced that the sheriff has some sort of influence over what laws are to be passed. That's not the sheriff's job.

"Whether I agree or disagree personally with a particular law really shouldn't matter. I will enforce all the laws that are on the books as equitably as I can."

He did, however, give us his take on the new law.

"What everybody should understand is that what we've come to know as SB 1070 is nothing new. There's no new law in there," he says. "It's enhanced, kind of, with some language that points it in the immigration direction. But these laws have been enforced by local law enforcement for many years.

"I'll enforce those laws. The interpretation, based on what Judge [Susan] Bolton decided and the Ninth Circuit [Court of Appeals] -- their interpretation and what they struck down -- I'll abide by that...whether I like it or not."

As far as the law potentially leading to racial profiling, Stauffer says law enforcement is already profiling people -- but it's called "criminal profiling." Profiling someone based on their race, however, is something he says he "will not tolerate."

We also discussed medical marijuana. Unlike Governor Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne, and Gilbert Police Chief Tim Dorn, Stauffer says he'll respect the decision of voters when it comes to enforcing the state's new medical weed program.

"If the legislature, or people of the state decide that medical marijuana is the way to go, as sheriff, the laws will be enforced that way.

"There's still drug enforcement, if you don't have a medical marijuana card you're in violation," he says.

Stauffer says that while illegal immigration is a serious concern of his, it's not his only concern when it comes to county-wide law enforcement.

He says one of his goals is to improve response times in rural, unincorporated parts of the county -- ya know, what would be his actual jurisdiction -- which he says currently range from 3-4 four hours to never.

"Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa -- they all have their own police departments," he says. "There's no reason for sheriff's deputies to be in those areas unless we're part of a task force or we're helping them out."

If Stauffer were sheriff, the MCSO's role in cities that have their own police departments will be to help them with any specialized teams or equipment in the MCSO's arsenal, but not to interfere.  

"[The sheriff's job] is to help the police departments in the incorporated areas while still giving my primary focus to rural unincorporated areas...where my real jurisdiction will be," he says.

When asked about his biggest criticism of Arpaio, Stauffer says"where do I start."

"My largest concern is that he's distorted and perverted the authority of the office of the sheriff. He has taken law enforcement where it should never go," he says. "The whole atmosphere that he has created [at the MCSO] is one of 'I don't have to play by the rules, I only have to play by the rules that I want to play by.' That's not the role of a law enforcement leader."

We extended an invitation to Arpaio to sit down with us and respond to some of Stauffer's criticism. The sheriff didn't get back to us.

For more on Stauffer, visit his campaign's Facebook page here.

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23 comments
Ronald
Ronald

Gosh, I wish I had some of Sheriff joe money that he stoled and got away with it. He must be in bed with jan brewer and there both singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall take one down pass it around 10 bottles of beer on the wall. both these people came over on the Mayflower and need to retire after they rip off arizona. OH they already did. wake people these policticans are either with you are aganist you  figure it out.

Ronald
Ronald

Mike Stauffer makes alot of sense to me. Joe should try to get a job at the border patrol office.Jan Brewer though has already sold out arizona prisons to CCA. Hope she'll enjoy all those kick backs. Arizona needs a change. Get rid of these people that came over on the Mayflower and get some new young blood in the system. Joe's already set himself up for his retirement 99.5 million. I can understand Jan Brewer selling out Arizona to the CCA looking to set up her retirement. There both Too old to be in control and considered PIGS.

FormerRepublican
FormerRepublican

Stauffer is an obviously experienced law enforcement professional with some solid ideas for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.Readers..Arpaio's reign is OVER even if he's still sitting in his recliner on the 19th Floor.  The reasonable general public will no longer tolerate the abuses that have been a part of Arpaio's legacy.  He's a dirty player and the bill to the tax payers says it all.  He's fading fast.  Let's get behind a new candidate and allow ourselves to be brought out of the dark ages where fat old men with guns ride into city streets in tanks.  Say no to Joe.

West Kenyon
West Kenyon

I responded to a comment but wanted to reiterate the point that you do not have to be registered only as a Republican to vote for Lt. Stauffer in the primary elections next August. You may also be registered as an Independent which is now leading in numbers over the Democratic party. 

Deniseaz
Deniseaz

i could stand to give a vote to this man, if no Democrat steps up . but that still does not get my vote to the Demo directly . but even an collie dog could get my vote over JoKKKe on any day , in any race , the dog wins .

Trommy Themulus
Trommy Themulus

If everyone would just register for the republican party so you can vote in the primary.  Then just mark off anyone but Joe.  Problem solved!

West Kenyon
West Kenyon

You don't have to register as Republican to vote in the primary elections. Independents can also vote for Lt. Stauffer. 

Nweng
Nweng

""[The sheriff's job] is to help the police departments in the incorporated areas while still giving my primary focus to rural unincorporated areas...where my real jurisdiction will be," he says."

What a novel fucking concept.  Imagine a sheriff that performs his primary duties without having to be sued to do them.  Why didn't someone think of that before?

Phoenix Justice
Phoenix Justice

By focusing on the unincorporated areas of Maricopa County, a new sheriff could reduce the size of the sheriff's department.  I wonder though, what are Mr. Stauffer's views on the concentration camp known as "Tent City"?

seabourne
seabourne

Tell your Congressio­nal representa­tives it's time to "Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws"read and sign the petition at http://www­.change.or­g/petition­s/change-t­he-schedul­e-of-canna­bis-cannab­is-laws-an­d-drug-cza­r-laws

Notajoefan
Notajoefan

It takes more than talk to run a prison.  Just look at what Jan Brewer has done to Arizona's prison system.  

Ronald
Ronald

Jan's trying to compete with Joe's retirement package. But her kick backs from the CCA won't even come close to 99.5 millions joe has. This 90 year old Blonde is looking out for her self not the people of Arizona that voting her in to be their voice. when the people of Arizona voted in Medical Marijuana for the sick she didn't what the people said, she did't like it so she put sticks in spokes of the will of people that voted her in.Ya see the CCA needs more prisoners in order to keep giving kick backs.

Not surprised
Not surprised

What's happening to Arizona's prision system isn't about running a prison.  Jan Brewer, Chuck Coughlin, Russell Pearce, and many others have sold out our prison system and changed the game.  It's all about MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and PROFIT baby PROFIT!!!

Notajoefan
Notajoefan

Stauffer sounds like he has some good ideas and I agree there needs to be serious changes at the MCSO.  My question for Lieutenant Stauffer is what does he know about running a jail system that's bigger than most state prisons systems, providing court security, serving the orders of the Superior Court and overseeing an annual budget of nearly $300,000,000 dollars and several thousand employees?  For too long sheriffs have only required to talk a good game like Nickel Bag Joe.  Its been years and years since Maricopa County had a sheriff who knew how to run the place.  There's a big difference between being a lieutenant on the Snottsdale PD and being the Sheriff of Maricopa County.  

Not surprised
Not surprised

Better question, after 20 years "experience," what does Joe Arpaio know about running a jail system (new and state of the art), court security, serving Superior Court orders, and overseeing an annual budget of nearly $300,000,000 and several thousand employees.

Answer: by the atrocious amounts spent on legal fees/lawsuit settlements, investigations, huge court warrant backlogs, pissing matches with the courts/judges, one of his detention officers convicted of stealing documents from a defense attorney (in the guise of "security"), more than 100 million dollars in misappropriated fees (it was only the payroll that was audited, and only for the last 8 years), Arpaio's supposed "cluelessness" regarding his top command staff...especially his Chief Deputy, Arpaio's "cluelessness" regarding his front line employees' involvement with drug and human trafficking, I am going to go out on a limb and say, Arpaio doesn't know much.  And that's just unacceptable after 20 years "on the job." 

I think we can safely say it's fairly clear that Arpaio has spent as much as possible of his time in front of cameras, and hasn't really been "on the job."  I don't think that it's even been his mission to do the job we elected him to do, ie "manage" the MCSO.  Publicity has been his mission, and he's made no bones about it.  And that's just unacceptable.

So, if Mr. Stauffer gets elected, my advise to him is don't worry about politicking, about "experience"...blah blah.....YOU hit the floor running.  It won't take long before you have more experience than Arpaio, and the MCSO and the citizens and taxpayers of Maricopa County will be all the better for it.

Notajoefan
Notajoefan

More experience than Joe isn't much.  Having another wannabe sheriff isn't the answer. Running a shift in Snottsdale is a far cry from running MCSO.  Sure Stauffer would be better than Joe but so would a trained chimp leftover from the NASA space program.

Not surprised
Not surprised

Sure, but if Stauffer is the only one stepping up to the plate?

Do we stick with someone we know isn't competent and who is unnecessarily costing us millions of dollars?

Or do we give the new guy a chance; a guy who not only is a certified law enforcement officer, he also has some law enforcement command and administrative experience?

James King
James King

Lt. Stauffer and I spoke briefly about the jails. Perhaps I'll do a followup. Stay tuned.

guest
guest

FINALLY, a blast of fresh air!

Phoenix Justice
Phoenix Justice

I am tempted to switch party affiliation to Republican from Democrat just to vote for Mr. Stauffer in the primary, but that to me would be unethical.  Too bad that I have ethics even if Sheriff Arpaio doesn't.

Coz
Coz

He may not still be the best choice, but I will vote for him since if there isn't anyone else to vote for, it will be a vote against Bozo Joe Arpaio.

Jason
Jason

Sure sounds to me like the Flaccid Fool of MCSO is running scared, like his good buddy Senate President Russell Pearce.

Run you sick, scared old man run!! We don't want your flaccid old ass in office no more!!

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