Supervisors sorting through 8 candidates who applied for Maricopa County sheriff vacancy

Jan 22, 2024, 1:00 PM | Updated: 1:17 pm

Shield log of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on the front of a lectern....

Eight candidates have applied to be Maricopa County's interim sheriff. (Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX – Although the job of Maricopa County interim sheriff must be filled by a Democrat, at least half of the candidates have Republican backgrounds.

Eight applicants submitted their resumes and letters of interest for the opening by Friday’s deadline.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will conduct interviews after staff evaluates the applications. There is no timeline for how long the process will take, a county spokesperson told KTAR News on Monday.

Voters will select the next permanent Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office leader to a four-year term in November.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Russ Skinner, one of the interim applicants, has been serving as acting sheriff, as prescribed by state law, since Paul Penzone’s resignation went into effect Jan. 12.

Penzone stepped down with nearly a year left in his second term to take a community relations job with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

What are the requirements for interim Maricopa County sheriff?

Candidates for the interim position are required to live in the county and be from the same party as Penzone, a Democrat, per state law.

Skinner and two other applicants changed their party registrations from Republican to Democrat in the time since Penzone announced his intention to step down in October 2023, according to an Arizona Republic report. Kenneth Booker, a former MCSO deputy chief, and Jeffrey Kirkham, who has worked as an Apache Junction police commander and Nogales police chief, are the others who reportedly made the switch.

In addition, Dan Saban, a private security executive and former Buckeye police chief, ran for sheriff unsuccessfully three times — as a Republican in 2004 and 2016 and as a Democrat in 2008.

Who else applied for MCSO vacancy?

None of the other four candidates have upper-level law enforcement experience.

  • Scott Meyer has experience with MCSO as a detention sergeant.
  • Patrick Valenzuela is a lieutenant with the Glendale Police Department.
  • Brandon Otis is an officer with the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.
  • Grant Harrison is a project management assistant for the Phoenix Office of Homeless Solution.

Who is running to be metro Phoenix sheriff in November?

As of Monday, none of the applicants for the interim position had filed a statement of interest to run for sheriff in this year’s election.

In fact, no Democrats have officially entered the race.

Three Republicans have filed statements of interest, including 2020 nominee Jerry Sheridan. Mike Crawford and Joel Paul Franklin Ellis also submitted their paperwork.

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Supervisors sorting through 8 candidates who applied for Maricopa County sheriff vacancy