Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) spends a lot of time playing politics and apparently no time doing his actual job. The AP reports that, over a three-year period ending in 2007, Arpaio “inadequately investigated” or in some instances didn’t even work more than 400 sex-crimes reported to his office. The cases “include dozens of alleged child molestations.”
In El Mirage, Arizona, where Arpaio provided contract services, he failed to follow through on at least 32 reported child molestations — with some victims as young as 2. Many of the children were undocumented immigrants. According to an El Mirage detective, Arpaio’s people essentially “put their feet on the desk, and that was that”:
In El Mirage alone, where Arpaio’s office was providing contract police services, officials discovered at least 32 reported child molestations — with victims as young as 2 — in which the sheriff’s office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases. […]
El Mirage Detective Jerry Laird, who reviewed some the investigations, learned from a summary of 50 to 75 cases files he picked up from Arpaio’s office that an overwhelming majority of them hadn’t been worked. That meant there were no follow-up reports, no collection of additional forensic evidence and zero effort made after the initial report of the crime was taken.
“I think that at some point prior to the contract [for police services] running out, they put their feet on the desk, and that was that,” Laird said.
Arpaio refused to answer questions for months and “declined a public records request for an internal affairs report, citing potential disciplinary actions.” He acknowledged his office completed an internal probe into the investigations, but said, “I don’t think it’s right to get into it until we get to the bottom of this and see if there’s disciplinary action against any employees.”