Democrat challenging Arpaio was demoted

Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 17:23:31-05

Joe Rodriguez, the new Democratic challenger for Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff seat, has had multiple reprimands throughout his law enforcement career. 

ABC15 obtained a copy of Joe Rodriguez's personnel file from the state's Department of Corrections. He held various titles, from sergeant. to youth correctional officer, while employed with the state between January 1999 and January 2014. 

There were gaps in employment from February 1999 to June 1999 and April 2006 to June 2007. He completed training at the state's Department of Juvenile Corrections, a separate state agency, before starting at the Department of Corrections. 

Here's what we found:

- Rodriguez received a letter of reprimand in July 2000 for being absent without leave for one day in April 2000.

- He was promoted to Sergeant in August 2001. 

- Rodriguez received another letter of reprimand in May 2002 for having a correctional officer at an armed post without a valid weapons card for more than two months between February 2002 and April 2002. 

- He received an eight-hour suspension without pay in June 2002 for leaving a post unsecured for about 15 minutes in May 2002. 

- Rodriguez was demoted from correctional sergeant to correctional officer in August 2003 for engaging in a "intimate and sexual" off-duty relationship with a female correctional officer he supervised. According to a Deputy Warden at the time, he was not "forthright, honest, or open in reporting facts and details" of the relationship, which occurred between February 2003 and March 2003.  

In a written response in April 2003, Rodriguez even denied having a relationship with the officer before admitting to the actions during investigative questioning in June 2003. 

"This lack of honesty and integrity has diminished your credibility as a supervisor," the Deputy Warden wrote. 

- Finally, in February 2011, he was given a letter of reprimand after failing to immediately complete an incident report after arguing with a tram driver in October 2010.

- Rodriguez was re-promoted to Sgt. in February 2012. 

He attributed the reprimands to inexperience in a statement to ABC15:

"As a candidate for the MCSO, I am committed to the highest standards of professionalism. During my first time in a management role at the Arizona Department of Corrections, almost 15 years ago, I engaged in behavior that was unprofessional and a mistake. Frankly, I was newly promoted and inexperienced at the time. However, I did learn from the incident and hold myself to the highest standards of professionalism today. People make mistakes," Rodriguez said. "I consider myself a stronger manager and a better person because of my experiences. This growth has been demonstrated by the fact that the Department of Corrections trusted my capabilities as a manager enough to re-promote me to sergeant."

Rodriguez filed to run for Arpaio's seat Monday. The election is in November.