BOS delays $1.6 million for the sheriff's department

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Sheriff calls funds delay 'game of politics'

$1.6 million dollars intended for the sheriff to enforce state human smuggling laws is money he says he deserves but county supervisors aren't so sure.

Three years ago the state granted the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office the money then last year the former governor took it away. Now the county supervisors are at the very least delaying it in what the sheriff calls a game of politics.

"If they think they''ll stop me from enforcing all the immigration laws I've got news for them," says Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The sheriff is accusing the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors of withholding $1.6 million from his department. Those are funds that pay for five deputies and equipment to enforce the state human smuggling law.

Sheriff Joe says, "I hope it's not politics holding the people of county and the sheriff hostage." He adds, "Just because we are doing our job investigating the Board of Supervisors."

Nevertheless the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants to be clear. They didn't reject the $1.6 million. They only delayed a vote on it 30 days hoping to get some of their questions answered.

Questions include whether the sheriff racially profiles and what will the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the sheriff reveal?

"All we want to do is continue to enforce the illegal immigration law, especially the human smuggling law," the sheriff admits. He makes his case surrounded by pictures of 800 felons he says were arrested by his deputies while enforcing the human smuggling law.

Still there is a question of how much the county will have to match to get the $1.6 million because, according to an intergovernmental agreement, MCSO is required to fund a minimum of 15% or $240,000. That money ultimately comes from the county.

Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce says that's not the case. He says, " There's no IGA or MOU permission slip neededThis money is designed to be given to the sheriff no strings attached."

The sheriff says he's not worried. "If that $240,000 is not resolved I will go to the public and raise $240,000 in one day."< /p>

Regardless of whether or not the sheriff gets the $1.6 million, the board says the department budget will be cut and those cuts will be consistent with other departments across the county.