Arpaio's new chief deputy vows to clean up 'mess' at MCSO

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – As newly minted chief deputy of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Jerry Sheridan is now in charge of getting the scandal-plagued department back on track. He says he's the man for the job.

Sheridan is no stranger to MCSO. He has spent 33 years at the agency, working his way up through the ranks. Sheriff Joe Arpaio appointed him chief deputy Tuesday in the wake of a damaging report that led to the firing of his former top aide, David Hendershott, and another aide, Larry Black.

The investigation by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office found Hendershott used fear, bullying and retaliation to get what he wanted and found he had targeted political opponents without proper evidence.

Black is accused of mismanagement and campaign finance violations. A third aide, Joel Fox, remains on paid leave while his due process continues.

Sheridan said he was unaware of the allegations surrounding improper investigations and misuse of power although he admits Hendershott was an intimidating presence in the office.

"I'm happy for the organization that there's a change in leadership," he said.

Sheridan said one of his top priorities as chief deputy is to mend MCSO's relationship with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.  

Under Hendershott several supervisors were investigated without probable cause and wrongly accused.

"My business is to get back to a normal relationship with the county and the board members," Sheridan said.

He also vows keep his boss in the loop. Hendershott is accused of withholding controversial information from Arpaio.

”I'm not afraid to tell the sheriff bad news," he said. "I consider myself to be a very ethical, honest person."