Maricopa Sheriff Penzone Says Closing Tent City Saved $20 Million
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone says the first full fiscal year of his tenure was well under projected budget levels. At a news conference Wednesday, Penzone said the closure of the former Tent City Jail saved the Sheriff’s Office $20 million.
“Our budget was estimated to be $379 million by the Board of Supervisors,” Penzone said. “Our actual spend was $369 million.”
Penzone said while $10 million was returned to the county, “The other $10 million — I chose to reinvest in this organization in areas that had been neglected for many years.”
The sheriff said $1.7 million went to the creation of new positions. An additional $1.2 million went to a Special Response Team.
“That is the team that is much like a SWAT team, but in the jails,” Penzone said. “Their objectives are to deescalate violence and to deal with volatile circumstances.”
$1 million was dedicated to the expansion of MOSAIC, a drug recovery program that now exists in the former Tent City Jail day room.
Penzone said the department made several equipment purchases, including new radios, body cameras and stun guns, as well as six new vehicles.
He said he hopes to use all funding allocated for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and is working with the Board of Supervisors to increase pay for deputies, who he said are “grossly underpaid.”