Penzone doesn’t want new intake facility to open during virus outbreak

Mar 24, 2020, 2:00 PM
(MCSO Rendering)...
(MCSO Rendering)
(MCSO Rendering)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone doesn’t want to open the county’s new intake facility while coronavirus is spreading because of its interactive design.

The south Phoenix facility, which is scheduled to open April 5, is built around face-to-face interaction and direct supervision, Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

Penzone said that if the facility is opened, his employees and detainees would more susceptible to COVID-19 since they’d be in such close proximity.

“Just by sheer design, it doesn’t make sense to open that facility right now,” Penzone said.

Penzone penned a letter to county governmental officials and stakeholders on Friday detailing his reasoning behind his opposition of opening the new facility.

The sheriff noted the facility’s design conflicts with health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in addition to his own concerns.

Penzone wants to keep his employees healthy and working during the challenging time.

“My No. 1 responsibility is to ensure the safety and health of our employees so they can ensure the safety and well-being of the community,” Penzone said.

If the jail opening was to be delayed, Penzone said he would be open to temporarily transforming it to serve the needs of the health care community.

State health officials have discussed using larger facilities as temporary hospital facilities if regular facilities run out of room.

The intake center is 190,000 square feet and has space for 1,600 beds by itself. The entire complex spans 500,000 square feet.

“If things never come to fruition and things work out for the best, that’s great,” Penzone said. “I just want to make sure we’re a good partner to our community at large when it relates to health needs as much as public safety needs.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Twitter Photo/@dougducey)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lights 25-foot-tall tree at state Capitol

A 25-foot-tall white pine was lit by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday in the lobby of the state Capitol's executive tower in a celebration marking the start of the holiday season.
12 hours ago
Travelers arrive from international flights at Newark Liberty International Airport on Nov. 30, 202...

After 3-day dip, Arizona adds over 3,000 COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Arizona’s daily report of new COVID-19 cases was back over 3,000 on the first day of December after November ended with three days below that mark.
12 hours ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...

Early-morning fire does heavy damage to Phoenix apartment

Fire destroyed an apartment balcony and displaced five people in Phoenix early Wednesday but no one was injured, first responders said.
12 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@pchd)...
Associated Press

Tucson employees near 100% compliance with COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Tucson officials said 99% of municipal employees had at least been partially vaccinated against COVID-19 before Wednesday's mandate deadline.
12 hours ago
Kyle Rittenhouse listens as jurors are asked questions by the judge during jury selection at the Ke...
Associated Press

ASU student groups want Kyle Rittenhouse barred from taking classes again

Arizona State University students angered that Kyle Rittenhouse had been taking online classes and could enroll again are channeling their outrage into protest.
12 hours ago
(File photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Griselda Zetino

Sky Harbor, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport see increased traffic over Thanksgiving holiday

People who flew over the Thanksgiving holiday might’ve noticed more travelers as two Valley airports reported seeing increased passengers.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Penzone doesn’t want new intake facility to open during virus outbreak