Joe Arpaio's Hate Campaign Against the Undocumented Persists Despite New Rules
But monitors often continue past their initial assignment, serving several additional years, and the cost of a monitor doesn't include the cost of instituting reforms that Judge Snow has outlined.
Photo by Dennis Gilman County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Arpaio's partner in immigration enforcement.
For instance, within two years, all MCSO patrol vehicles must be equipped with video cameras. Specialized units enforcing state immigration-related statutes must have the cams within the next 180 days.
Then, there's the cost of the training and any costs associated with the court-ordered community-outreach program. And there are the ongoing legal fees, as Arpaio will need an attorney to represent him for the three-plus years the order will last.
So far, the lawsuit has cost the county more than $1 million to defend against, and though the plaintiffs in Melendres didn't seek monetary damages, they are due legal fees, which the county must pay, as the loser always does.
No word on how much the team of lawyers representing the plaintiffs will bill, but whatever it is, that number will go up if Arpaio continues to pursue a futile appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, of which Casey already has filed notice in federal court.
However, Casey has signaled that Arpaio won't seek a stay of Snow's order, which is smart, as the legal experts I've spoken to say there's little chance either Snow or the appeals court will issue one.
So as the appeals process plays out, the MCSO must comply with the order, and Casey says it will. If the County Board of Supervisors has a lick of sense, it will tell Joe that it's not going to fund such a foolish appeal to bolster Joe's wounded pride.
Thing is, County Attorney Bill Montgomery successfully has barred Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, the one person on the board who knows the most about Melendres, from participating in discussions of an appeal with her fellow supes.
Montgomery has threatened Wilcox with prosecution if she defies him, insisting that she has a conflict of interest (which she doesn't, unless you count her being a Latina and a thorn in Arpaio's backside).
But Montgomery and the sheriff, whom Montgomery obeys in almost all things, do not want any wise Latina chiming in on a Melendres appeal, even if Republicans like them have a 4-1 advantage over Wilcox, a Democrat, on the board.
As a result, do not expect common sense to affect Arpaio's childish insistence on a doomed appeal.
Back to the possible cost of dragging the MCSO kicking and screaming into the era of modern policing.
It may be unfair to compare the MCSO to the Los Angeles Police Department's 13-year consent decree, which cost that city a reported $40 million in its first year and $50 million every year thereafter. The LAPD is much bigger, with more than 10,000 cops, while the MCSO has about 800 sworn deputies.
But, then, the LAPD doesn't have a 3,000-member posse, either.
New Orleans may be somewhat more comparable. Its police department boasts about 1,400 police officers, and it currently is under the auspices of a consent decree that started in 2010.
According to press reports, New Orleans has estimated the cost of implementing the consent decree at $11 million a year. Interestingly, the Orleans Parish Prison also is under a federal consent decree, for which that city is on the hook. The OPP deal could cost anywhere from $10 million to $20 million a year.
Ultimately, no matter its length and cost, Snow's decree is necessary. I asked Arpaio's nemesis of many years, former County Attorney Rick Romley, what he thought of the ruling. He said he was not surprised by it.