Joe Arpaio becomes Maricopa County’s longest-serving sheriff

Jun 9, 2015, 9:06 PM | Updated: 9:07 pm

PHOENIX — Joe Arpaio is now the longest-serving sheriff is Maricopa County’s history.

Arpaio has been in office for 22 1/2 years, surpassing former Sheriff Luther C. Boies, who held the office from 1946 to 1968.

Arizona State University professor emeritus Bruce Merrill said Arpaio’s tenure in office has been a bit of a roller coaster.

“For the first number of years that he was in office, he was very tough on crime, on criminals, on people that broke the law,” Merrill said. “That was his identity initially.”

Merrill said older populations, such as that in Sun City, liked Arpaio’s tough guy approach. Arpaio’s approval rating only grew during his early years, particularly when he did things like putting prisoners in tents, making them wear pink underwear and eat bologna sandwiches.

But later, Merrill said, Arpaio became known for something different.

“He’s, unfortunately, probably, within the last few years, been overly identified with the illegal immigration issue. That will probably do more to establish a legacy than the other things.”

Arpaio has become known around the world. Merrill said his celebrity could have easily gained him a higher post than sheriff.

“There’s been a couple of times where he’s actually thought about running for governor,” Merrill said, adding that polls showed Arpaio had a good shot at the postition.

Merrill said that one reason he’s been able to stay in office is his ability to handle the media.

“He really understood the press. He understood how to manipulate the press, and how to get press attention. That’s why he certainly has virtually 100 percent name I.D. in Arizona,” he said.

Arpaio is now 82 years old, and is facing a legal challenge. Merrill thinks now may be the time for the sheriff to move on to other things.

“He’s had a pretty strong legacy,” he said. “You’d kind of like to see people go out while they’re on the top, rather than take a chance to be defeated.”

Learn more about Arpaio’s career below:

KTAR’s Bob McClay contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Marnee Spierer (Cancer Treatment Centers of America Photo)...
Taylor Kinnerup

Valley oncologist opts for double mastectomy to avoid family history of cancer

May is National Women's Health Month and one Valley oncologist opted for a double mastectomy as a way to minimize her risk of breast cancer and take control of her health.
5 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Taylor Tasler

Arizona schools chief Hoffman concerned about staffing next fall amid teacher shortage

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Monday she’s worried there won’t be enough teachers for next school year amid a shortage.
5 hours ago
(City of Glendale Rendering)...
Balin Overstolz-McNair

New resort in Glendale’s Westgate area won’t be issue for water supply, city says

A new water resort coming to the Westgate area in Glendale won't be an issue for water supply as it will use less than the current agricultural land it is being built on, the city said.
5 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix-area weather expected to take leap to 106 degrees this week

Just in time for Heat Awareness Week, the mercury is climbing in metro Phoenix and could reach 106 degrees late in the week, weather watchers said.
5 hours ago
(Arizona Humane Society Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

Arizona Humane Society rescues pig and chihuahua duo named Timon and Pumbaa

The Arizona Humane Society has rescued an unlikely pair of best buddies that won't be separated any time soon.
5 hours ago
...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.

Sponsored Articles

...
Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to in April

April brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Suns and Diamondbacks.
Joe Arpaio becomes Maricopa County’s longest-serving sheriff