What the local media is reporting
is, in fact a FIVE YEAR OLD story
Some things you should consider about the recent story:
- Why are they resurrecting a FIVE YEAR OLD story?
- Why are they running this story just weeks before an election?
- Why doesn’t the media report on other police agencies' problems regarding sex crimes investigations? Many of them have had similar problems recently, but the media only focuses on the Sheriff’s Department.
In 2007, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office became aware of a problem concerning the handling of several sex crimes cases.
Sheriff Arpaio put his staff to work and has corrected the problems.
In fact, as proof of how seriously they worked to correct it, between 2008 and 2012, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and independent auditors together reviewed each case three separate times. Their findings paint a very different picture than this recent story.
Here are some myths, and the truths, surrounding this issue
Over 400 sex crimes cases went uninvestigated. (Arizona Republic, 12/7/11)
Over 300 of the cases were properly investigated. The remaining cases needed some degree of work to bring the investigations up to Sheriff’s standards. (Maricopa County Attorney's Office)
All the cases involved children and the victims were mostly Hispanic. (PoliticsUncuffed.com,9/14/12)
In several cases, no children were involved at all and only about 15% of the victims in these cases were Hispanic, compared to a population base that is 29% Hispanic. (Maricopa County Attorney's Report)
Sheriff Arpaio and his Office don’t care about sex crimes victims or he would never have allowed this to happen five years ago.
According to the County Prosecutor, there appears to be a “systemic problem” in the investigation of sex crimes cases by several police agencies in Maricopa County, not just the Sheriff’s Office. All of us in law enforcement care deeply about our communities and victims of crimes. All of us endeavor to do better. Five years ago, when these problems came to light, Sheriff Arpaio ordered corrections be implemented to prevent this kind of problem from reoccurring. The corrections have been made.
Arpaio cares more about illegal immigration and shifted personnel from sex crimes cases to illegal immigration enforcement.
Detectives from the sex crimes unit were not moved into illegal immigration enforcement.
Sheriff Arpaio hasn’t held anyone responsible for this.
This investigation is under review by criminal prosecutors and by internal affairs personnel. Once completed, discipline is expected. Until that time, Sheriff Arpaio will not discipline employees simply to score political points with critics and the media.
Message from Sheriff Joe Arpaio Regarding Sex Crimes Investigations
No doubt by now you may have read or heard about the mishandling of sex crimes investigations five years ago, in 2007, by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. As your elected Sheriff, I wanted to take a few moments to inform you of my position on this subject. Although this situation occurred and was reported on the media several years ago, the topic is being resurrected today by certain reporters largely because it’s election time.
I will start by saying that I, along with my office, have taken responsibility for any shortcomings into the difficult task of investigating sex crimes. In 2007, when we became aware that there was a problem, I immediately ordered that we reopen every case. Each case was worked and reworked, reviewed and re-reviewed on three separate occasions, by both detectives and criminal prosecutors.
What we found was contrary to much of what was being reported in the press. We found that most of the cases were, in fact, worked appropriately. Others, however, did need a certain amount of work to be brought up to standard. But the allegations claiming that over 400 sex crimes went ‘uninvestigated’ are simply not true and misrepresent the issue completely.
We learned a lot in that process of auditing these cases and it helped us to make several changes regarding how we work and track special victims cases to avoid a reoccurrence.
We now have in place a computer-based tracking system to dramatically improve how cases are handled and managed from beginning to end. More people have been assigned to the special victims unit, and ongoing training has been provided to detectives. We are working with several partners including medical and mental health personnel, prosecutors and others and have opened an advocacy center in the West Valley. There, sex crime cases are now triaged quickly and thoroughly to the benefit of the victim and to assure successful prosecutions of the perpetrators. So confident are we in the potential of these advocacy centers that we are looking to open an East Valley advocacy center in the near future.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has found the task of investigating special victim’s crimes difficult. In many circumstances, the perpetrator of a sexually based crime is often known to the victim and therefore makes investigating the crime difficult. Victims suffer from feelings of embarrassment, guilt, and they often are fearful that aiding in the prosecution may result in the break-up of the family.
Challenges to investigating these types of crimes have occurred in many other law enforcement agencies as well including several local agencies in the valley. One thing is for certain: We all care deeply about our commitment to community, to the victims of crime and we are all working diligently and every day to improve our services.
Lastly, let me say that I am deeply concerned about the motives of the local media and other political opponents of mine who are using this issue for political reasons.
This is a serious issue for all of law enforcement in general and it is minimized by opportunists who are trying to score political points during an election season.
I am troubled by the fact that many are voicing their concerns about this issue as a way to discredit me personally because they do not agree with my approach on other controversial issues.
I truly believe that if these critics were really concerned about this wide-spread issue, their efforts would be directed at the issue rather than at this Sheriff.
We have come a long way in solving this problem and my promise is to continue to work hard to overcome any challenges we face in the future.
Maricopa County Sheriff
All of this information was provided to the local media.
Paid for by Re-Elect Joe Arpaio 2012