Joe Arpaio Agrees to Cultural Training for Deputies in Guadalupe; County Supervisors Approve
Guadalupe's come a long way from the days when Sheriff Joe Arpaio laid siege to its mean streets, hunting for illegal immigrants.
On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two groundbreaking amendments to Guadalupe's contract for police protection with the Sheriff's Office.
The first requires that deputies assigned to the postage stamp-size town "receive cultural training unique to the town's history and celebrations."
The second allows the town to "request in writing that any Sheriff's Office staff be reassigned" from service to Guadalupe.
Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez, a fighter for the people
Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez said the amendments, okayed both by Arpaio and the Guadalupe Town Council, were intended to improve relations between citizens of Guadalupe and the MCSO.
Those relations were ruptured severely when the town of 5,500 became the target of one of Arpaio's infamous immigration sweeps in 2008.
"The reality is, we can't afford our own police department, " said Jimenez. "So if we have to work with the MCSO, we should be able to get along with them -- or not fear them, at the very least."
That fear has been pervasive in recent years. Though the town pays $1.2 million per year for police protection, Guadalupe residents long have complained of harassment from the MCSO and slow response times.
They've also claimed that their town of one square mile was being used as a dumping ground for bad deputies.
The two-day 2008 sweep further exacerbated existing tensions. The military-style operation flooded the town with MCSO vehicles, deputies on horseback, a mobile command center, and an MCSO helicopter.
Scores of arrests of residents were made, only a handful of whom were undocumented.
The irony in Arpaio's sweep? The town is half Yaqui Indian, half Mexican-American. Many of Guadalupe's families have lived there for generations.