Court monitor addresses Guadalupe about MCSO changes

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GUADALUPE, Ariz. -- Members of a heavily Hispanic community say they feel they're being unfairly targeted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies.

Residents of Guadalupe showed up for a meeting at Frank Elementary School Wednesday night. The issue at hand? Mending the relationship between this community and the Sheriff's office.

Appointed by a federal judge, Robert Warshaw is charged with monitoring the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in a racial profiling case that dates back to 2008.

Many residents in the Guadalupe community feel a mistrust for Arpaio and his deputies. Now, the sheriff's office is trying to make changes, and Warshaw is keeping them on task. He says MCSO is not compliant in 76 of the 87 court-mandated changes.

Warshaw is quick to say that's not because the office is not trying, but rather because it will take some time.

The sheriff's office spoke about the changes it plans to make. Those changes have to do with more training, a new program that tracks the reasons behind traffic stops, an early intervention system that could pinpoint a potentially problematic deputy, and a Bureau of Internal Oversight. They are changes the community wants to see happen now.

"I'm just glad that steps are being taken to correct all these wrongs," Ismael Osuna said. "It's finally, somebody is going to be held accountable for all the wrongs that they have done to a lot of people in this community.

"A lot of people are scared to speak up and say, 'This is what happened to me,' because they feel they are going to be targeted," he continued. "I felt like that for a while, too, but I said, 'I can't be intimidated by this. I need to speak out and let it be known.'"

The first report covered the first half of the year -- January through June 30. The sheriff's office says more changes have been made since then and asks that the Guadalupe community keep an open heart and open mind as they try to make changes and move forward.