ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone says few responses from officials for election safety meeting

Aug 17, 2022, 4:25 AM

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone a podium...

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone (Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX — Paul Penzone said the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has received few responses following an announcement it will host a safety summit for elected officials and those seeking office on Thursday.

The meeting aims to provide those pursuing office or in office information on how to better navigate speaking to the public, Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

Of the approximately 200 invitations sent out, only 15 to 20 have implied they’d attend, Penzone.

“When it comes to the things that they say, understand that your words matter, that your words could actually promote criminal behavior and you need to be, as a leader in the community, cognizant of those moments,” Penzone said.

“All we’re trying to do is give you enough knowledge and information to help you be safe, help you be more effective in your role, but to understand the laws and how they apply when you potentially are a victim or when you’re doing something that could be criminal.”

Although Penzone said the safety meeting was arranged on short notice, the response isn’t near where he wants it to be.

Once election season ramps up, “we’re going to have candidates who are facing circumstances that gives them concern, and if they don’t attend this, then they’re not going to be in a position of having knowledge,” Penzone said.

Though the meetings were initially created for those in Maricopa County, the sheriff said he isn’t opposed to “first come, first serve” because he wants a good turnout.

“I want it to be valuable for those attending, but I also want to make sure that time spent by my detectives is time well spent. They have plenty of other work they could be doing,” Penzone said.

“But we’re doing this for the benefit of our target audience, so if anybody out there feels it’ll be helpful for them just reach out to the office and we’ll save a seat for you.”

Detectives with MCSO will lead the safety meetings, while the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office works to help issues including how to provide safety and better information.

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Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone says few responses from officials for election safety meeting