As former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is embroiled in a legal battle, current Sheriff Paul Penzone said it’s past the time to move on from the previous Sheriff.
Penzone, who unseated the controversial Arpaio in November, joined KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos Wednesday. The new sheriff runs an office that was formerly headed by a man currently on trial for criminal contempt, and Penzone’s office isn’t immune to the wake of that trial.
“We do have some employees that have been subpoenaed within that trial,” Penzone said. “And for those … If I do speak with them, I say, ‘Just be honest. Whatever the truth is, speak the truth. That’s what the system is about.'”
Arpaio is on trial for allegedly ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case to stop his immigration patrols. He’s already been denied in his bid to have U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify in the case and was also denied to having the trial done with a jury.
“As for my predecessor, I look at it like this: Our judicial system has a grave responsibility as to ensure that justice is fair and equitable, that everyone is treated the same under that law,” Penzone said.
“It’s past due to turn the page on all of this. Whatever the outcome may be, we will live with it. But we need to move on.”
Penzone said the Sheriff’s Office promoted 25 people on Tuesday, most of whom were lieutenants and sergeants.
“This organization is doing great things. That’s the narrative going forward. This organization is invested in the community.”
“So this trial — I’m looking forward to it coming to an end.”
DO YOU BELIEVE HIS DEFENSE?
In the trial, Arpaio reportedly is submitting the defense that he unintentionally violated the judge’s order. Penzone was asked whether he believes the claim that Arpaio reportedly had a lack of understanding of that order.
“I’ll just say this: If you are the leader of an organization and you’re not paying attention to those details when they’re in the media and on the news and everywhere else- that’s the reason I ran for office,” Penzone said. “I don’t know everything that’s going on in my organization. But I darn well better respond when I find out something is occurring that is either inappropriate, unlawful or anything else.
“If you’re leading an organization, you should know. And if you don’t know, once you learn of it, you should act on it.”
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