Critics call on Sheriff Joe Arpaio to resign

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX -- There was a showdown at the Board of Supervisors' meeting Wednesday between supporters and opponents of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Critics are calling for the sheriff's resignation in the wake of uninvestigated sex crimes.

“We want to ask if you will join other elected officials in calling for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's resignation,” said Chad Snow with Citizens for a Better Arizona. “We understand you are somewhat limited but we want to know where the Board of Supervisors is on these issues because by remaining silent you become complicit to a small degree of these injustices.”

The group wants the sheriff held accountable for failing to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crimes cases in the county.

“All these cases were investigated and completed over three years ago,” said  MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, adding the sheriff has no plans to resign. “The vast majority of the public has supported the sheriff over the last 19 years and will continue to do so in the future.”

The Board of Supervisors can't fire Arpaio -- he is, after all, elected -- but his critics want the mishandling of those sex crime cases to be put on the agenda.

“If that was your daughter raped or molested … your grandchild ... Put yourself in their position we deserve a day on the agenda and we ask you to do the right thing and put this on the agenda,” said Randy Parraz, president of Citizens for a Better Arizona.

The Board of Supervisors did not act on any agenda request, but the county attorney says he has a team reviewing all the cases in question.

While he does have the authority to accuse the sheriff of misconduct and convene a grand jury, County Attorney Bill Montgomery says he is not considering that.

“I'm not going to come up with hypothetical on what it would take for me to remove the elected county sheriff,” he said.