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Sheriff Penzone lays out MCSO’s public safety role ahead of Trump visit

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and Arizona law enforcement are in the midst of a very busy week.

With President Donald Trump’s upcoming rally at Veteran Memorial Coloseum only one day away, Penzone gave KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show the rundown on preparations for the massive political event.

“DPS is the lead … Phoenix PD is supporting that also,” Penzone said.

“Our role when we’re not the primary agency is going to be if there is a mass arrest — we’ll bring resources out there… If we have to assist in transition of people taken into custody, process them and take them into the jail system.”

Given the chaos that followed President Trump’s 2017 rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, there may be a good chance Penzone and his team could be needed to fill such a role.

In preparing for the president’s visit, Penzone said that law enforcement’s main priority is to facilitate civic participation by ensuring that both Trump supporters and protesters are free to exercise their First Amendment rights.

“First and foremost, we want to make sure that everybody has the right and the freedom to express themselves in the way that they choose to without being violent or harmful,” noted Penzone.

“We want to make sure that anyone who intends on attending… Have the access to that space and that it is a safe environment.”

Penzone then warned that there are likely those who will attend the event in order to incite chaos, but that law enforcement will be ready to act to protect both private and public property, separate the violent from the non-violent and quickly quell any escalating violence.

The Maricopa County Sheriff then spoke directly to all those planning on attending the rally:

“We don’t want to put you in a situation where you could be in harm’s way, or that you’re promoting any type of escalation of violence.”

Penzone therefore encourages Wednesday night’s attendees to respect the political differences of their fellow citizens, and, if need be, to “abide by directives” from law enforcement regardless of personal opinions.

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