Judge Orders Court-Appointed Monitor To Oversee Sheriff Arpaio's Office

October 02, 2013

A court-appointed monitor will oversee the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to make sure the department ends discriminatory practices. MCSO was accused of racial profiling as part of a civil suit.

This is the result of a six year legal battle over a racial discrimination case against the sheriff’s department. The suit was filed after a sheriff’s deputy stopped a day laborer in 2007, and a federal judge ruled back in May that the sheriff’s immigration enforcement policies were discriminatory. Judge Murray Snow ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department had singled out Latinos for traffic stops. The court stepped in after attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the sheriff could not work out an agreement that would uphold the court’s order to end discriminatory practices.

Since then, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union who represented several plaintiffs and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office have been negotiating an agreement that would meet the court’s order. ACLU attorney Dan Pochoda, who represented some of the plaintiffs, said this will help.

"For every vehicle stop there is a significant amount of information that has to be collected that has been found throughout the country that local law enforcement has found is necessary, not necessarily sufficient, but a necessary first step to reduce and deter the use of race in law enforcement decisions is to have sufficient data collection," Pochoda said.

Wednesday’s resolution said the monitor will review the sheriff’s tactics. The ruling calls for a monitor to oversee the agency's re-training of deputies, create a community advisory board that will meet three times a year and the department must install audio and video recording devices in patrol vehicles. If the sheriff conducts operations with a large number of deputies that target undocumented immigrants, the ruling said Arpaio’s office will have to hold a community-outreach meeting within 30 days. At that meeting deputies will have to explain the objectives and results of the operation.

For his part, Sheriff Arpaio had strongly opposed a monitor and the community advisory board, but his attorney Tom Liddy said the sheriff still controls the department.

 "Will there be changes? There will be changes in training," Liddy said. "There will be monitor who will review, some things will go to the court, sometimes under seal, sometimes not, but the actual policing on the ground is not going to change."

Sheriff Arpaio will have to comply with the court order for three straight years before it can emerge from the court oversight.

Read the judicial order.

Updated 10/2/2013 6:06 p.m.



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