February 24, 2009

Glenn Beck, on his Fox News show yesterday, hosted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose misbegotten approach to law enforcement last week inspired the House Judiciary Committee to join the ranks of those calling for a Justice Department investigation.

After Arpaio -- in typical Crazy Bigoted Joe style -- loudly proclaimed that the Latin American-style kidnappings now taking place in Phoenix are a product of illegal immigration (in reality, they seem to revolve around drug dealing and human trafficking), he got a nice rubdown from Beck:

Beck: But Joe, you're now facing heat in Washington. Here you are, a guy who has cleaned that town up more than anybody could -- I mean, if you go away, it ain't gonna be good. But you're facing heat now from members of Congress who are trying to shut you down.

Arpaio: Well, I'm gonna give you a scoop. I'm writing a letter to those members -- these four liberal Democrats on the Judiciary Committee -- didn't have the courtesy to call me. I think I know what goes on at the border -- fourteen years I've spent there with the feds. So I'm gonna write them a letter. I'm going to invite them down to visit the fence and visit our operations.

This is all part of the local politicians going to bed with these congressmen, going to the new attorney general. The mayor of Phoenix has already gone to the attorney general last year to try to get me investigated.

But let them all come down. Call the FBI, call everybody, if you think I'm doing something wrong. So I welcome all these investigations.

Sure. And Dick Nixon welcomed the Watergate investigations, too.

There might be a reason, after all, that local politicians -- and not merely the mayor of Phoenix -- want Arpaio investigated. The state's civil-rights commission is only the most recent entity to join the bandwagon demanding his racial profiling and outright refusal to follow civil-rights laws be brought to a halt.

And just how much has Arpaio "cleaned up" Maricopa County? Well, thanks to his blinkered, racially driven emphasis on illegal immigration in everything he does, even the Goldwater Institute found that actual law enforcement work in his county was being badly neglected:

Although MCSO is adept at self-promotion and is an unquestionably “tough” law-enforcement agency, under its watch violent crime rates recently have soared, both in absolute terms and relative to other jurisdictions. It has diverted resources away from basic law-enforcement functions to highly publicized immigration sweeps, which are ineffective in policing illegal immigration and in reducing crime generally, and to extensive trips by MCSO officials to Honduras for purposes that are nebulous at best. Profligate spending on those diversions helped produce a financial crisis in late 2007 that forced MCSO to curtail or reduce important law-enforcement functions.

In terms of support services, MCSO has allowed a huge backlog of outstanding warrants to accumulate, and has seriously disadvantaged local police departments by closing satellite booking facilities. MCSO’s detention facilities are subject to costly lawsuits for excessive use of force and inadequate medical services. Compounding the substantive problems are chronically poor record-keeping and reporting of statistics, coupled with resistance to public disclosure.

If that's Glenn Beck's idea of "cleaning up" a town, I'd hate to live in his town.

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