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Paul Penzone
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Sheriff Penzone against measures to defund police departments

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone (AP File Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone on Tuesday said that measures to defund police departments would be counterproductive for both law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

Speaking in reference to Seattle protesters who have established a seven-block, police-free autonomous zone within the city, Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad that he never believed he would see the day where officials would allow such an event to occur.

“We’ve basically empowered a group of people to believe that type of behavior is acceptable,” Penzone said.

“That’s not how we find a way to a solution nor is defunding police — and I want to be very adamant about that.”

Penzone added that in order to administer laws fairly, funding must be available to hire and effectively train personnel to in order to keep communities safe.

“You have to have men and women who are willing to pursue a profession like this and endanger their own lives to do so,” the sheriff said.

“You want to make sure those men and women are most deserving, that they’re trained correctly, that they have the resources and they have the staffing to accomplish that in the most effective way possible.”

Penzone also said that calls to redirect police department funds do not address the need to ensure law enforcement officers are properly trained to serve their communities.

He added that communities should see police department funding as an investment in safety and stability that cannot be replaced with additional social services funding.

“If we walk away from it all and we think that by defunding or being punitive or saying ‘well, we’ll have more social services’ — that is not necessarily going to give you the return on investment that keeps the stabilization of a community,” Penzone said.

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