Report finds progress 'remarkably slow' at MCSO

Posted at 5:56 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 23:51:42-04

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been under the microscope for years now, especially after a judge ordered sweeping reforms of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office since ruling that the agency was racially profiling Latinos.

“This is really sad. The sheriff’s office really needs to be cleaned out," said Lydia Guzman, a plaintiff in a 2007 class action lawsuit against Arpaio. 

After the ruling, the judge appointed a court monitor as a watchdog.

Their latest report, more than a 160-pages long, finds progress “remarkably slow.”

“A lot of these reforms that are being proposed are not sort of pie in the sky reforms that are being asked of this agency, but really asking the MCSO to come in to compliance with best practices that are happening all over the country," said Victoria Lopez, legal director with the ACLU of Arizona. 

Tuesday at a press conference about a drug bust, Arpaio refused to comment on the report’s findings.

"I'm not talking about it. I'm talking about drugs. I'm not talking about federal cases," Arpaio told reporters.

One of the most troubling findings— the report says training of supervisors and commanders has been “frustratingly slow.”

“If you’re going to make changes, it has to be all the way throughout the agency, not just the folks out on the street," Guzman said. 

So far, the report finds MCSO to be 38 percent in compliance with developing and approving policies, and only 31 percent in compliance with implementing them.

The report says that low percentage of compliance should be concerning to the community and the judge.

The court monitor issues quarterly reports and holds monthly meetings, open to the public, to take questions and hear concerns.