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Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Love him or hate him, the sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona attracts a lot of attention, and now, a grand jury has convened to investigate allegations he abused his authority.
Joe Arpaio, labeled by some as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” is admittedly hard-nosed, especially when it comes to policing illegal immigration, and Arizona voters appear to like it that way. Arpaio, 77, has been re-elected sheriff by substantial margins every four years since 1996. A recall petition failed in 2007.
“The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Arpaio’s office over allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures — a probe that the sheriff and his millions of supporters believe is a result of his immigration efforts,” reports Jim Kouri, Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. “His crime and immigration sweeps — some in heavily Hispanic areas of metropolitan Phoenix — have drawn criticism that his deputies were racially profiling people. Arpaio says people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes.”