FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz.—To millions of his blimpish admirers Sheriff Joe Arpaio is thing of a surviving legend, though he’s viewed arsenic a heavy-handed instrumentality enforcer by his detractors.
Whether you emotion him oregon hatred him, Arpaio is simply a almighty personality—even astatine the property of 89—with beardown opinions connected wherever America is heading.
It’s not looking good, helium says.
But the “American legend” says helium has nary volition of fading distant successful a clip of need.
That he’s stood steadfast connected the important issues of the time has lone bolstered his popularity, it seems. He’s inactive pugnacious connected crime—and criminals—regardless of who they are successful life. After all, that’s however helium earned the nickname of “America’s Toughest Sheriff.”
“The media gave maine that name,” Arpaio says with a grin arsenic helium spoke with The Epoch Times connected Oct. 18. “Then, I wrote a publication (Sheriff Joe Arpaio: An American Legend). I don’t caput (the nickname). But if they telephone maine ‘America’s Meanest Sheriff’, I wouldn’t similar that. If they telephone maine ‘America’s Nicest Sheriff’, I wouldn’t similar that either.”
Proud of his Italian heritage, he’s besides earned the rubric “America’s Good-Hearted Godfather,” but he’s good with that.
It goes without saying that Arpaio remains staunchly unapologetic astir his arguable methods being America’s apical transgression fighter.
As sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, helium instituted concatenation gangs for some men and women. He past built the infamous “tent city” to location immoderate of the nation’s worst offenders. He adjacent began issuing pinkish underwear to felons to forestall theft of the achromatic variety.
He stands unfazed by critics of his hardline stance connected amerciable immigration. The confederate borderline situation nether President Joe Biden is vindication successful itself, helium says.
In fact, Arpaio, who served arsenic sheriff from 1993 until his electoral decision successful 2016, has fewer benignant words to accidental astir Biden, oregon his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. But helium won’t stoop to “badmouthing” them, oregon immoderate different governmental opponent.
He will, however, proudly amusement you his commencement certificate to beryllium helium was calved successful Springfield, Massachusetts, connected June 14, 1932.
Even today, Arpaio questions the authenticity of Obama’s commencement documents. He caught large flak for that, aft helium launched an probe into Obama’s ineligible presumption portion helium was successful office.
“You ne'er instrumentality thing for granted successful politics,” Arpaio says he’s learned aft astir 4 decades successful instrumentality enforcement. “But fto maine archer you this—I’m good known astir this universe.”
That, too, goes without saying.
Upon gathering Arpaio for the archetypal clip successful his bureau successful Fountain Hills, Arizona, 1 is instantly taken by the immense expanse of Arpaio’s media-driven universe.
Hanging connected a partition are rows of autographed pictures of Arpaio posing with past Republican presidents George W. Bush, his “hero” Donald Trump, and different GOP notables.
Dominating different walls are front-page paper and mag articles, encased successful glass, depicting Arpaio arsenic America’s premier instrumentality enforcer.
The man—the American fable himself—however, appears older these days, and thinner. Today, it’s Monday, Oct. 18, and he’s wearing a bluish blazer and a airy bluish casual garment and slacks. He sits backmost astatine a large table with the brass sanction sheet “Sheriff Joe Arpaio” displayed prominently successful front.
As Maricopa County’s erstwhile apical cop, Arpaio says helium feels helium inactive has a occupation to do—something vital, and personal.
That thing is simply a basal request to springiness backmost to his adopted hometown of Fountain Hills, colonisation 25,000, aft living, and serving, successful the assemblage arsenic sheriff for truthful galore years.
Arpaio, however, says helium has nary qualms astir his governmental future—he wants to go America’s toughest politician successful Fountain Hills.
He says it with specified conviction, it astir sounds similar a done deal.
Fountain Hills municipality clerk Elizabeth Klein said that arsenic of Oct. 19 lone 2 candidates person filed papers of involvement successful the Aug. 2 non-partisan mayoral race—Arpaio, and his opponent, Kelly Smith. Mayor Ginny Dickey has not filed papers yet.
Each campaigner needs 324 signatures connected a petition to go a viable candidate, Klein said.
As mayor, Arpaio says he’ll beryllium each business.
He’ll stoke the section system done question and tourism, and to bash this he’ll enactment toward gathering a viable concern with the adjacent casino.
“I’m a large advocator of tiny business,” says Arpaio, who ran a palmy question concern with Ava, his woman and champion person of 62 years. She passed distant successful August.
Arpaio says he’s assured helium has the enactment of blimpish voters successful Fountain Hills, who backmost the Blue and enactment ineligible immigration. He’s got plentifulness of sanction designation to triumph successful adjacent year’s election, helium says.
During his 38-year vocation arsenic a apical national cause successful the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Arpaio enforced borderline laws arsenic the pb authoritative successful Texas, Arizona, Central and South America, and Mexico.
He spent 24 years astatine the borderline arsenic sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona’s astir populous. He besides was a thoroughfare bull successful Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas.
While connected the occupation successful Vegas Arpaio had the uncommon favoritism of apprehending Elvis Presley, caught speeding connected a Harley Davidson motorcycle with an unidentified blonde riding successful the saddle.
Regarding amerciable immigration, Arpaio says helium plans to bash a publication signing astatine the U.S./Mexican borderline successful Nogales, Arizona, truthful that radical tin “learn the information astir immigration.”
“I don’t person a badge and weapon anymore. I’ve got this,” Arpaio says, holding up his publication similar a curate down his pulpit.
“I’ve been precise arguable adjacent earlier amerciable immigration,” Arpaio adds, yet he’s arrogant of that fact.
As an “equal-opportunity sheriff,” Arpaio has arrested radical from each governmental parties and of each governmental persuasions.
“I’ll archer you what truly bugs me. I’m not going to accidental I’m sorry,” Arpaio says. “Now, we’ve got a president of the United States who gets a pass. Obama gets a pass.”
“I inactive speech astir the commencement certificate. I deliberation they were disquieted astir the commencement certificate.”
Arpaio says astir apt it was the commencement certificate probe that ruined his bid for re-election arsenic sheriff. It astir surely prompted billionaire globalist George Soros to footwear successful $3 cardinal to assistance seal Arpaio’s electoral decision successful 2016, helium argues.
In 2018, Arpaio was defeated successful a bid for U.S. Senate. He past mislaid the August 2020 superior for Maricopa County sheriff successful the superior election, hoping to reclaim his erstwhile position.
But everything moves afloat ellipse successful politics. It’s nary antithetic with America’s Toughest Sheriff.
Arpaio views his arguable past arsenic a governmental curse, and a blessing.
“It’s strange. I’m getting radical coming up to maine present (to connection their support) much than erstwhile I was sheriff. I can’t fig it out.”
One happening helium knows for certain, is that he’s “probably the champion person successful history.”
“You cognize why? Everybody says I’m not a politician,” Arpaio says, smiling.
His governmental opponents “fear me,” helium says, “because I accidental I’m going to bash thing and I’m going to bash it.’
“There is simply a remainder of the communicative with my life,” Arpaio says with certainty that tells you helium is inactive penning it.
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times newsman who covers the authorities of Arizona.