In his April 11 commentary, “State should address warrants problem,” Clint Bolick continues to mislead readers by writing that ” . . . not a single (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) deputy is assigned to serve warrants.”
He also fashioned the statement that the Sheriff’s Office “does not systematically look for felony warrants.” Because of his disingenuous portrayal of the information I provided at the state Senate judiciary hearings, and because he refuses to return our calls, the record needs to be set straight.
In the last two years, Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies served over 30,000 warrants, of which more than 17,000 were felony warrants. Mr. Bolick knows from the hearings that deputies, detention officers and posse volunteers worked together to serve those warrants.
When the vast majority of warrants belong to Valley police departments and result from their investigations, which do not involve the Sheriff’s Office, and when only about 1,500 felony warrants in the repository belong to the Sheriff’s Office, it is clear that deputies are busy serving more than our share of warrants.
It is also clear that our deputies and officers are busy helping other agencies serve warrants. Sheriff Joe Arpaio orders regular warrant roundups and enlists citizens’ help via the Techno Cop Web-based warrants program. Additionally, he provides manpower, equipment and intelligence assistance to local, state and federal law-enforcement warrant operations.
Our collective efforts are important because Maricopa County Superior Court and Justice Court add nearly 200 warrants per day to the repository. These efforts have kept the average number of warrants in the clearinghouse down, even with a population increase of 1 million people in Maricopa County over the last 10 years.
Note: For reference, Pima County Superior Court and Justice Court add about 160 warrants per month to their repository.
Why has the number of warrants in the repository become an issue for the Legislature, politicians, media, pro-illegal-immigration advocates and Mr. Bolick? The answer lies in Sheriff Arpaio’s enforcement of state and federal immigration laws. Former Gov. Janet Napolitano, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and other elected officials began using this topic in attempts to direct the sheriff away from arresting illegal immigrants who violate the law.
This is Clint Bolick’s agenda, too.
Mr. Bolick is wrong about our performance, and yet, he and the pro-illegal-immigration advocates he represents will continue to seek redirection of the sheriff’s enforcement efforts by using the Legislature to focus the sheriff’s resources on serving warrants and away from enforcing illegal-immigration laws.
The simple truth is that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is committed to serving warrants, and it is committed to enforcing illegal-immigration laws. It can and will do both.
We do that every day, and Mr. Bolick, the numbers prove it.
Paul Chagolla is deputy chief with the Support Services Bureau in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.