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Penzone says he’s saved Maricopa County millions in first few months in office

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, in Phoenix. Penzone announced that he will be closing the tent city jail in the coming months and relocating inmates to other jails. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Wednesday that he has saved taxpayers millions of dollars since taking office about 100 days ago.

“If we’re not fiscally responsible, we can’t be successful,” Penzone said during a presentation to community and law enforcement leaders.

One eliminated budget item, Penzone said, has already saved taxpayers nearly $2 million.

“We were able to eliminate several third-party law firms that were acting, on behalf of this office, to address lawsuits, legal fees and court orders from historical failures,” he said. “Those are all handled now by the [Maricopa] County Attorney’s Office.”

The new sheriff also said he’s implemented a crime-statistics database something he said did not exist when he took office.

“We had no crime analysis; we had no baseline of statistics,” he said. “Without a baseline of statistics, you cannot tell whether or not you are improving – or where there are greatest areas of need.”

Penzone also put an inventory system in place to keep track of deputies’ equipment.

“I was quite surprised to find out, when I arrived, that we do not have any kind of substantial or modern program to insure that we’re accounting for our own equipment,” he said.

Penzone said the measures are steps toward creating what he calls “one MCSO.”

“The men and women in this organization are tremendous,” he said. “One of the first things that I recognized is that I had to earn the respect of the men and women in this organization [and] they earned my trust to implement programs that would truly be effective.

“That’s the path that MCSO is on.”

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