Former Phoenix police sergeant running for Maricopa County sheriff

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Paul Penzone By Jennifer Thomas Paul Penzone By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A retired Phoenix police sergeant announced his candidacy for Maricopa County sheriff Tuesday morning.

"It is time for professional law enforcement leadership in Maricopa County," Paul Penzone said in a press release.

"There is a crisis of leadership in the Sheriff's Office," the statement continued. "It is unacceptable when sex crimes against women and children go uninvestigated, and when criminals are allowed to run free on our streets. I'm going to reach out to every single person in our community and ask them to help me retire Joe Arpaio and move the Sheriff's Office in a new direction."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio will seek his sixth term as the county's top lawman. The Republican sheriff was voted into office in 1992 and has consistently been re-elected despite immigration scandals and calls for him to step down.

Penzone is running as a Democrat.

Scottsdale police Lt. Mike Stauffer is also challenging Arpaio and is running as an Independent.

Penzone joined the Phoenix Police Department in 1988. During his 21-year career, he was a patrol officer, worked as an undercover detective and directed the Silent Witness program.

Following his police career, Penzone joined Childhelp, a national nonprofit organization that provides prevention education and services for child victims of abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.

As sheriff, Penzone said he will work to make Maricopa County the safest community in America.