Low attendance at court-ordered Maricopa County Sheriff's Office community meetings

AVONDALE, AZ - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office held several community outreach meetings Saturday to address questions and concerns regarding the sheriff's patrol operations.

The meetings were geared to inform the public of changes coming to the department's patrol policy, training, data collection and records management, according to an emailed press release.

Meetings were held in each of the county's seven districts, including Sun City, Avondale, Cave Creek and Fountain Hills.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio made a surprise appearance at a meeting held in Cave Creek, despite earlier announcing that he would not attend any meetings.

"Just appeared in Cave Creek at the community meeting, four people showed up," Arpaio said on Twitter.

Attendance was very low in most locations.

"We are doing absolutely everything to comply with the judge's order," said Deputy Chief David Trombi. "We do want to reach out to you and work with you on issues. We may not always agree, but at least we can communicate."

One person in attendance at the Avondale location was Hispanic community leader Alfredo Gutierrez, who asked deputies why the meetings weren't held in a more Latino-friendly area.

"Holding a meeting at the sheriff's office is certainly not conducive to participation," said Gutierrez.

"This location here outside is, in my opinion, very appealing for people in the community," responded Trombi.

Sheriff's department leaders say the community can expect changes for the better, including video monitoring in deputy patrol vehicles.

But Gutierrez believes a relationship between Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Latinos is a long way away.

"This is someone who is doing this by force," Gutierrez said. "He's being forced to respect the Latino community, It's not inherent in him to do so."

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