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Arpaio endorsed by major police organizations

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is shown during the announcement of the endorsements. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Tuesday that he has been endorsed by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and the Arizona Police Association.

PLEA's Joe Clure said Arpaio has more experience than his main opponent, 20-year Phoenix police veteran Sgt. Paul Penzone.

"If you put those two candidates side-by-side, clearly the sheriff is the better candidate, both in experience and expertise in the matter of managing a large law enforcement agency" he said. "He has been fantastic to PLEA and to Phoenix police officers. Everything we've ever asked of him, he's provided."

Arpaio received the endorsements despite allegations that the office has mishandled hundreds of sex cases in El Mirage. Justin Harris of the Arizona Police Association blamed the economy for the sheriff's department issues.

"In the economy that we're faced with, law enforcement doesn't have all of the resources and funding that we require to do every bit of our job as good as we can," he said. "We take the resources that we have, with the funding that's available, and we do the absolute best job that we can."

Arpaio has refused to debate Penzone or independent candidate Mike Stauffer about why he is the best for the job.

"I've been around for 20 years, and I think people know who the sheriff is," said Arpaio.

When pressed for another answer, Arpaio said, "I'm giving the answer. I don't have to debate the two people running against me. Maybe they can debate themselves and let the public know who they are."

Arpaio called today's endorsements "an honor and a privilege."

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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