MCSO reaches milestone in compliance with 2013 racial profiling verdict

Mar 19, 2024, 4:25 AM

MCSO reached a compliance milestone stemming from a 2013 racial profiling verdict following the rel...

MCSO reached a compliance milestone stemming from a 2013 racial profiling verdict following the release of a report on March 14, 2024. (MCSO Photo)

(MCSO Photo)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has reached a milestone in compliance stemming from a 2013 racial profiling verdict.

MCSO is at 100% compliance with the first phase of the order, 11 years after a federal judge ruled the agency had profiled Latinos in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s signature traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

The first phase of the order required MCSO to show it had reversed that pattern of practice during traffic stops.

“During this reporting period, MCSO achieved compliance with the requirement to properly document all seized evidence or contraband on the [vehicle stop contact form],” the report released Thursday, which analyzed progress from July through September in 2023, said.

“In past reporting periods, MCSO has demonstrated that it can sustain a high compliance rating, which indicates that supervisors and deputies are being more attentive to this issue.”

Interim MCSO sheriff applauds compliance milestone

Russ Skinner, MCSO’s interim sheriff, is the second leader of the agency to take on the ongoing compliance efforts since Arpaio’s exit.

The milestone happened under the leadership of Paul Penzone, who left the agency in January for a private sector job.

Skinner, who served as deputy sheriff prior to his February promotion, commended MCSO’s reform efforts.

“I’m very proud of the hard work and professionalism our employees have displayed to make these accomplishments possible,” Skinner said in a press release.

“Our commitment to our community is our number one priority and the efforts we continue to make every day to ensure we enforce the laws with integrity and respect reflects that.”

What happened during Arpaio’s traffic stops?

Arpaio’s immigration patrols, known as “sweeps,” involved large numbers of sheriff’s deputies converging on an area of metro Phoenix — including some Latino neighborhoods — over the course of several days to stop traffic violators and arrest other offenders.

Arpaio led 20 of the large-scale patrols from January 2008 through October 2011. Under Arpaio’s leadership, the agency continued doing immigration enforcement in smaller, more routine traffic patrols until spring 2013, leading to his criminal conviction.

Arpaio was found in both civil and criminal contempt for disobeying a 2011 order to stop his immigration patrols. He was spared a possible jail sentence when his misdemeanor conviction was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in 2017.

The 2013 verdict led to massive court-ordered overhauls of both the agency’s traffic operations and its internal affairs department.

Under Arpaio, who was voted out as sheriff in 2016, the internal affairs operation was heavily criticized for biased decision-making.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MCSO reaches milestone in compliance with 2013 racial profiling verdict