(The Center Square)– Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone is resigning in January and is not running for re-election in 2024.
Penzone is in his second term, and said he would not want to be a distraction. He also repeatedly said that he has other “opportunities” on the table.
“I have decided that I will not pursue a third term, not because I leave this office in any way shape or form disappointed, or anything like that. It has all been incredible,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, I think it would be appropriate for me to depart from the office in January and clear the way so that during the last year of my term going into the election there aren’t distractions,” he later added.
Penzone, a Democrat, is the successor of Republican Joe Arpaio, who served in the office from 1993 to 2017, after losing to Penzone.
Arpaio tried to run against him again in 2020, but he ultimately lost the Republican primary to Jerry Sheridan.
The sheriff touted several accomplishments in the past few years, including how the office “shut down” Tent City in 2017, a controversial outdoor jail facility.
“It was ridiculous,” he said.
In terms of concerns once he departs, Penzone said that he’s concerned about the level of oversight in internal affairs into the office, saying it distracts from other investigations that the sheriff’s office deals with in the community.
“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.
Penzone said the Board of Supervisors will be responsible for choosing an interim sheriff.