Judge concerned Arpaio is undermining training

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- A judge presiding over a racial profiling case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has questioned whether Arpaio is undermining efforts to train his deputies in how to make constitutional traffic stops.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said in an order Tuesday that he is concerned the training is being weakened by Arpaio's public comments that he would engage in the same immigration patrols that the judge found to be unconstitutional.

Snow said the sheriff is free to make whatever public statements he wishes, but added that Arpaio sets the overall direction for his agency. "Thus his deputies cannot be presumed to ignore what he says," Snow wrote.

Nearly two weeks ago, Arpaio commented about an upcoming community meeting being held by a court-appointed official in Guadalupe, a town in metro Phoenix where the sheriff launched a 2008 immigration patrol. The sheriff told The Associated Press he had no regrets about the patrol. "With the same circumstances, I'd do it all over again," Arpaio had said.

The sheriff's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday afternoon on the judge's latest order.

Snow ruled in May 2013 that the sheriff's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its regular traffic and immigration patrols. Arpaio denies that his officers have racially profiled people and has appealed the decision.

The judge is requiring Arpaio's office to install video cameras in patrol vehicles, collect data on traffic stops and conduct additional training to ensure officers aren't making unconstitutional traffic stops.

This isn't the first time the judge has questioned whether Arpaio was encouraging an attitude among rank-and-file sheriff's deputies that undermines efforts to remedy the agency's constitutional violations. Earlier this year, Snow called Arpaio and two of his top aides into court to chide them for inaccurately summarizing his findings in the case.

The judge set an Oct. 28 hearing to discuss whether public comments by leaders at the sheriff's office should be considered in evaluating whether the agency is in compliance with the court's order on training.

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