Penzone, Sheridan appeared in televised Maricopa Co. Sheriff debate Friday

Sheriff candidates attack each other on leadership issues
Posted at 10:40 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 19:39:24-04

The two candidates for Maricopa County sheriff accuse each other of lacking leadership during a televised debate Friday.

Sheriff Paul Penzone, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Jerry Sheridan.

Both men have decades of law enforcement experience. Sheridan spent 38 years working for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. He was chief deputy under longtime Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and he retired after Arpaio lost the 2016 election to Penzone. In addition to four years as sheriff, Penzone worked 20 years at the Phoenix Police Department.

During the 30-minute debate on Arizona PBS, Penzone questioned Sheridan’s integrity and said Sheridan likely should be on the Brady list. A federal judge found Sheridan in civil contempt of court for disobeying a court order to stop racial profiling.

"We can't have public trust and public safety if we have leaders in law enforcement who are unethical and dishonest," Penzone said.

"If I was untruthful, I would be on the Brady list, which I am not, and POST [Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board] would have taken my POST certification, which they did not," Sheridan responded.

Sheridan questioned Penzone’s accountability. Sheridan said as hundreds of complaints against deputies stack up, internal investigators have not completed their probes in the 180 days required by state law. Penzone said he needs more internal investigation staff to speed up the timeline, but the investigations that are completed are very thorough.