Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Candidate seeks student votes to oust Arpaio

Photo courtesy of Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff 2012.
Photo courtesy of Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff 2012.

Photo courtesy of Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff 2012.

Maricopa County Sheriff candidate Paul Penzone said at an ASU Young Democrats meeting Friday that a sheriff should have accountability, responsibility and the intent to build a safer community.

Penzone said he decided to run for office because Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his opponent, has not acted accountably in his 20 years holding the position. Arpaio, known nationally as America’s Toughest Sheriff, and for his enforcement of immigration law, is seeking his sixth term.

After $100 million in misappropriated funds and more than $50 million in lost lawsuits, Maricopa County needs new law enforcement leadership, Penzone said.

Penzone said he is not running for sheriff to gain the title.

“It’s about me wanting to do the job of sheriff,” Penzone said.

A recent poll commissioned by Penzone showed that he is six points behind Arpaio. Penzone is also behind Arpaio in fundraising.

Arpaio raised $457,000 between Aug. 9 and Sept. 17, while Penzone raised $138,000 in that period, according to a report from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

Overall, Arpaio has raised more than $8 million to Penzone’s almost $400,000.

ASU Young Democrats Vice President Quentin Gunn, an economics and mathematics junior, said he thinks Penzone will be able to overcome the gap in funds.

“(Penzone) is one of the first candidates in a while that looks like he has a chance,” Gunn said.

Gunn said Arizona seems to be waking up to how Arpaio is hurting Arizona’s reputation and mismanaging the Sheriff’s department.

Aerospace engineering freshman Mark Bahrijczuk said he supports Arpaio.

“He’s doing a great job,” Bahrijczuk said.

He said he is in favor of Arpaio’s immigration policies because illegal immigrants take away jobs from U.S. citizens.

Although Penzone comes from a long background of law enforcement, he has never run for political office or held such a large administrative position.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, the third largest in the nation, employs more than 3,400 people, according the MCSO website.

Penzone said his 21 years in law enforcement have given him all the experience he needs to be sheriff.

He became a police officer at 21 and worked in law enforcement until 2009, when he retired and worked with nonprofit organizations like NotMyKid, which is dedicated to preventing substance abuse in adolescents.

While on the police force, Penzone spent six years under cover in narcotics, working on local and federal cases.

“If you guys watch any of the cop shows … that’s what I did,” Penzone said.

Penzone spent some time in administration and said he realized it’s one of the most important jobs on the force, despite lacking the thrill of fieldwork.

Administration is essential because that is where decisions about money distribution and allocation are made, Penzone said.

Penzone also worked with Silent Witness, Arizona’s crime tip hotline.

If elected, Penzone said he wants to restructure and reprioritize Maricopa’s law enforcement.

Although immigration will still be a concern, Penzone said he will shift the focus from catching “low-hanging fruit,” like illegal immigrants who do not pose a threat to society, to bringing down the cause of the problem.

Marketing sophomore Cassie Woods said she supports Arpaio for his crackdown on illegal immigration.

“He has the right idea,” Woods said.

There needs to be immigration reform, Woods said.

Penzone said under his leadership, the sheriff’s office will focus on hunting fugitives and stopping human slavery and drug trafficking.

Penzone said he would like to see Tent City, the outdoor jail started by Arpaio, eventually closed.

It was a temporary solution for a permanent problem, Penzone said.

Biomedical engineering sophomore Heather Borgard said she supports Penzone because of his stance on issues like Tent City.

“What’s going on in Tent City is inexcusable,” Borgard said.

She said Penzone has a chance in November if people come out to vote.


Reach the reporter at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.