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Maricopa County seeks new sheriff as Penzone departs

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(The Center Square) – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone will be leaving his position on Friday, and the county is now seeking applications for a new sheriff.

Since Penzone is a Democrat, the replacement until a new one is elected is legally required to be a member of the same party and a resident of the county.

“I would like to thank Sheriff Penzone for going above and beyond to keep Maricopa County residents safe,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said in a statement. “In particular, I appreciate his collaboration on security matters related to elections.”

Pezone is in his second term, and he served as the successor to Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was in the position for 24 years.

When Penzone first announced his resignation in October, The Center Square reported that he warned of the challenges brought by the office being put under a consent decree by the United States Department of Justice.

“It is absolutely true when I say the federal court oversight is more concerned about internal punishment than it is about external public safety,” he said at the time.

The hefty federal oversight is largely related to actions under Arpaio that raised serious concerns about civil rights. However, the Phoenix Police Department is also the subject of an inquiry from the DOJ. Axios reported Thursday that the city would like to take suggestions from the federal government but not go under a consent decree.

“Although consent decrees may be the appropriate remedy in some cases, the track record of the Civil Rights Division’s pattern-or-practice consent decrees over the past decade strongly suggests the need to explore alternatives if the ultimate goal is—as it should be—efficient, effective, and durable law enforcement reforms,” Attorney Michael Bromwich wrote in a letter to the DOJ on Thursday.

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