This week’s “Fool of the Week” is Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio made the news on two matters last week. Combined, his behavior is less than one would expect from the head of a law enforcement agency. Then again, Arpaio has done a lot of things over the year that one would not expect from a law enforcement chief.
Mexican Tourist Ad
Last week, Arpaio jumped at the Mexican Tourist Board for running an ad in Arizona that some might initially find creepy. Arpaio’s first response to that is not completely out of place.
The ad showed a military-appearing man in binoculars with the words “In Sonora, we are looking for people from Arizona.”
After the controversy over Arizona’s immigration law, this might be taken as a warning for Arizonans not to travel to Mexico.
However, that was just one of a two-part ad. The second ad had images of people frolicking on a beach with the phrase “In Sonora, we are looking for people from Arizona who want to have a great time.”
Even with the second ad, Arpaio could not find the humor. After initially calling the ad “disgusting,” he then called the binoculared man in the ad a “peeping tom.”
The ad may not be in the best of taste, but is it worth a Sheriff spending his time hounding the media about?
Failure to Account for $3 Million in Jail Funds
Perhaps that was to divert attention away from Arpaio’s own problems in Maricopa County. Arpaio has run the Sheriff’s Department there as his own fiefdom. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is in charge of funding the Sheriff’s Department, and they have butted heads with Arpaio for some time. The supervisors are considering financial sanctions against Arpaio and his department because he has not accounted for $3 million in jail funds. No one is accusing Arpaio of pilfering the funds, but there are a lot of concerns if the money has been spent appropriately.
Taken together, these two matters give Arpaio a well-deserved jester’s cap. Besides, years of Arpaio’s strange tactics and pompous attitude toward other Maricopa County officials means that he probably should have had this ridicule long ago.