ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announces he will not pursue 3rd term

Oct 2, 2023, 3:18 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announced Monday he is not pursuing a third term and will be departing the office in January 2024.

“In law enforcement, I think that you always have to have the plan to go in and make as much impact as you can in a period of time that is appropriate and clear the way for someone else to come in and improve on that,” Penzone said at a press conference.

“So as I said, I will not be pursuing a third term. As a matter of fact, I think it would be appropriate to depart from the office in January and clear the way so that during the last year of my term going into the election there aren’t distractions.”

He said it gives him the chance to pursue opportunities to serve the public in different ways.

Penzone said he will continue to work with his colleagues at Maricopa County and MCSO to ensure a smooth transition.

Penzone was originally elected to the position in 2016 when he topped longtime Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio by more than 10 percentage points.

He did away with some of Arpaio’s controversial programs and policies, like the Tent City jail, which Penzone closed and tore down in 2017.

Penzone defeated Republican challenger Jerry Sheridan, who previously worked closely with Arpaio for more than 20 years, in the 2020 election.

Increasing accountability from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

During the press conference, Penzone noted changes made during his tenure as sheriff. He started by mentioning the 2017 closure of the controversial Tent City jail, which was founded under his predecessor, Arpaio, in 1993.

“It’’s been some time now, but we shut down Tent City. That was ridiculous,” Penzone said. 

“It represented all the things that are wrong about incarceration and law enforcement. It was degrading and it tried to pass this message as though by disrespecting and mistreating inmates that suddenly would change behavior.”

As a result, Penzone said tax dollars were saved by the jail’s closure. 

“In my six and a half years and actually really six years of a fiscal budget,” he said. 

“I have returned over $90 million to the county general fund. That is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and I don’t think you can lead any organization. Especially one that serves the public if you’re not committed to ensure that every taxpayer dollars spent appropriately in any additional dollars aren’t wasted.

Phoenix metro taxpayers have been on the hook for more than a quarter billion dollars from a 2013 racial profiling verdict over former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration crackdowns. 

Penzone went on to mention public safety changes including, the conversion of pink underwear to a readily accessible option for inmates.

Public safety changes

Penzone noted the creation of an internal auditioning system for thorough investigations of crimes against children, a school safety forum, the establishment of the Fugitive Apprehension Tactical Enforcement Unit and the management of civil protests. 

“We’ve seen more protests and civil disturbances in the last four or five years and maybe in since the 60s,” Penzone said. 

“And this office handled them flawlessly worked long hours with short staff and made sure that we respected the civil rights and the first amendment of everyone and even the Second Amendment in circumstances where people showed up armed while protecting people and protecting democracy.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Balin Overstolz-McNair and the Associated Press 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

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to wipe out all unfunded pension debt fo...

KTAR.com

Maricopa County votes to wipe out unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last week to wipe out all unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement employees.

2 hours ago

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona. (P...

KTAR.com

Woman rescued 36 hours after car crashes 200 feet down embankment in Arizona

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona, authorities said Monday.

6 hours ago

Smoke billowed over north Phoenix after an abandoned restaurant caught fire in north Phoenix on Jun...

KTAR.com

Abandoned restaurant catches fire, billows smoke over north Phoenix

Smoke billowed over north Phoenix after an abandoned restaurant caught fire in north Phoenix on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

7 hours ago

pool party in the Valley Arizona liability homeowner...

Serena O'Sullivan

Homeowners can be held liable for drownings, injuries in their pools, Phoenix attorney says

Want to host a pool party in the Valley this summer? You can be held liable if someone injures themselves or drowns in your pool.

8 hours ago

Herman Campbell is the subject of a Silver Alert issued June 17, 2024, in Phoenix....

KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for Phoenix man with medical condition who went missing over weekend

Authorities have issued a Silver Alert for a 65-year-old Phoenix man with a medical condition who went missing.

9 hours ago

Leaving a child in a hot car lands Mesa woman in jail, police say...

Serena O'Sullivan

Mesa woman left her child in car that measured 129 degrees, police say

Nichole Yazzie, a 32-year-old Mesa mother, was accused by authorities of leaving a child in a hot car during an excessive heat warning.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announces he will not pursue 3rd term