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MCSO sheriff says his department is improving on racial-profiling reforms

(AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: Sheriff Paul Penzone

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said his department is making strides on court-ordered racial-profiling reforms, he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday.

A report from the independent monitor showed compliance on those orders was at 60 percent, above previous numbers. The previous compliance numbers were at 12 percent, he said.

In July, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of misdemeanor contempt after prolonging his controversial immigration sweeps for 17 months after being directed to stop them.

Penzone, who took office in January 2017, has been working with officials to correct what the court deemed as violations of the law and unethical practices.

“Our reality is the court orders,” Penzone said in his regular show appearance.

“Therefore, we must find a way to be successful in what is one of the most complex processes. It’s like calculus. Let’s get clarity on this — once you reach that pinnacle of 100 percent compliance, you have to hold in excess of 94 percent (in) every category for three consecutive years. If you fall below that (the particular category) falls back to zero.”

The federal judge said MCSO must adhere to orders that range from conducting specialized training for deputies to improving its audit practices. The department must ensure deputies wear lapel cameras and that their actions are reviewed.

The former Phoenix police sergeant said his employees are up for the task.

“There’s a lot of lanes. A lot of lanes,” Penzone said. ” … (Officials) don’t just meet the requirements. They exceed it and we are making strides.”

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