Operation Dodging Daddies: Sheriff Joe rounds up deadbeat parents

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PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is going after deadbeat parents this weekend as part of an annual operation.

"If you're going to have kids, you should probably have some type of responsibility to raise those kids properly," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at the command post he set up at Park Central Mall in Phoenix.

More than 100 deputies and volunteer posse members brought in dozens parents accused of not paying child support. All of those parents -- 27 men and six women -- were taken straight to jail.

At least four of the 33 so-called deadbeat parents brought in Saturday owe more than $100,000 in back child support.

“I know families are struggling more today than in years past,” Arpaio said in a news release. “But a tough economy is no excuse for a mom or dad to ignore their financial obligations to their children. Kids come first, no matter what.”

Of the child-support warrants issued, the worst offender owed almost $175,000. It's not clear if that person was picked up during Saturday's operation.

Arpaio says finding the offenders is rarely easy.

“These deadbeats do everything they can to elude capture. ... They’ll leave the state or change residence every few months so finding them is difficult,” he said.

Arpaio has run the Father's Day weekend crackdown on deadbeat parents, which he calls "Dodging Daddies," for years. He started roundups of deadbeat parents in 1998. His office has conducted about 25 of those operations since then.