Sheriff Penzone welcomes citizen input, but not interference during election season

Oct 13, 2022, 1:45 PM

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX – If local ballot drop boxes are going to be under surveillance from organized private citizens, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone has a piece of advice for would-be watchers: watch your step.

“I’m all for citizen involvement and investment and trying to keep the community safe,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

“But make sure you understand what your actions are and [what] the ramifications to your actions are.”

Election officials around the country are seeing extremist groups encouraging supporters to keep watch over ballot drop-off locations, including the Yavapai County Preparedness Team, whose YouTube channel page reads: “We have operated for five years in Yavapai County as Oath Keepers of Yavapai County.”

The preparedness team’s Lions of Liberty did something similar ahead of the August primary, calling the campaign Operation Drop Box.

Early voting is underway in Arizona for the Nov. 8 general election.

“Now, if you’re watching the polls because you want to be acting as the eyes and ears of law enforcement should there be a problem and you’re going to report it to us to act on, then that’s great,” Penzone said.

“But if you’re going to take the law into your own hands and act when you don’t really have the authority or the knowledge to determine if a law is [being broken], and what your authority is acting on it, you’re going to become someone who’s in the space of potentially committing a crime.”

Penzone said before the primary that deputies on duty at polling location would not tolerate disruptions to the voting process.

The same will hold true next month, he said.

“There are folks, unfortunately, who feel force and violence is an option. When it comes to this, we’re not going to be tolerant of that so we have to meet, I know this sounds really aggressive, but meet force with force,” Penzone said.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant to serve indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

5 hours ago

Arizona woman sentenced for mail fraud...

Nick Borgia

Green Valley woman sentenced to prison for defrauding elderly clients

A Green Valley insurance agent was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Tuesday for mail fraud, according to a press release.

6 hours ago

Fire breaks out in home where man accused of shooting his baby...

Suspect identified in Surprise police standoff case that involved baby shooting and house fire

A man was accused of shooting his baby in a Surprise residence he broke into on Friday. A fire later broke out in the house, officials said.

8 hours ago

north mountain brush fire...

Nick Borgia

Firefighters achieve fire control on brush fire near North Mountain in Phoenix

Firefighters have achieved fire control on a brush fire near 7th Street and Thunderbird Road, authorities said Saturday.

8 hours ago


Nick Borgia

Fire crews responding to wildfire near Vista Verde in Tonto National Forest

Fire crews are responding to a wildfire near Vista Verde, north of Dynamite Boulevard and 136th Street on the Cave Creek Ranger District.

10 hours ago

David Pagniano....

Man sentenced to life in prison for burying wife alive in grave north of Prescott

A man from Prescott was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month for burying his wife alive in a grave north of Prescott.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Sheriff Penzone welcomes citizen input, but not interference during election season