Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has earned his status as "America's Worst Sheriff" mostly for being proactive in his awfulness and insanity. But he also deserves his title for the many things he does not do—such as "his job."
Today the Associated Press reports that between 2005 and 2007 Arpaio's office failed to adequately investigate about 400 sex crimes, including dozens of cases of alleged child molestation. In some cases the office never opened investigations at all—even when the suspects were known. According to a police official in El Mirage, a town that had contracted Arpaio's department's services for $2.7 million during the three-year period in question, many of the affected parties have left town, and much of the evidence has gone cold or was never even collected—meaning that these cases will never be pursued, and definitely won't ever be solved. Arpaio is "America's Toughest Sheriff" for everyone except sex criminals and molesters!
A spokesman for the sheriff's office admitted to AP that "policy violations" (i.e., "travesties") occurred, but wouldn't provide any details or useful insights. But one source shared with AP his belief that the cases were never worked on because the victims were illegal immigrants and therefore in no position to pressure an extremely anti-immigrant sheriff's department to help them. Arpaio probably would have jailed the victims and their families for the crime of "existing in Arizona while brown."
What about the victims who weren't illegal, though? What distracted Arpaio from helping them? Here's an abridged list of activities he pursued between 2005 and 2007:
- Investing taxpayer dollars in brand-new fluorescent pink handcuffs for jail inmates
- Misspending money (toughly!)
- Receiving favorable ratings in polls
- Jailing alt-weekly executives
- Sending out posses to round up the browns
- Pushing for random drug testing in schools
- In April 2005, his office "raid[ed] a Mesa towing company operated by men who supported a political rival in the 2004 election. Two hundred boxes of documents seized"
- Making inmates learn patriotic songs in the Americanese language
- Running for reelection
See, he was just busy! You try doing all that stuff and see if you have any time left to manage sex-crime investigations. It's tough—tougher than Joe Arpaio (ha, just kidding).
But seriously: Given today's news, using "America's Worst Sheriff" no longer constitutes "editorializing"—it's a quantifiable fact. He's like 200 "Gay Sex for Meth" sheriffs all doing meth at the same time and making you inhale the toxic fumes, then forcing you to wear a pink prison uniform to do hard labor in the desert while you recite the Pledge of Allegiance over and over again.
[AP. Image via AP]