Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
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The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) is a local law enforcement agency that serves Maricopa County, Arizona. It has its headquarters in Suite 1900 of the Wells Fargo Plaza in Phoenix. It is the largest sheriff's office in Arizona and provides general-service and specialized law enforcement to unincorporated areas of Maricopa County, serving as the primary law enforcement for unincorporated areas of the county as well as incorporated cities within the county who have contracted with the agency for law-enforcement services (known as "contract cities"). It also operates the county jail system. Joe Arpaio is the current Sheriff of Maricopa County. Its ongoing practices are highly controversial, to which it has received national and international media coverage, along with a number of federal investigations and other controversies.
The MCSO does not possess a legal identity separate from Maricopa County. Deputy Sheriffs of the MCSO are delegated their law enforcement authority by the Maricopa County Sheriff.
Maricopa County is the fourth largest county in the United States, and has a total area of 9,224 square miles (23,900 km2). The county is currently divided into six geographical areas, referred to as Districts, and consist of District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 6, and District 7. Districts are generally staffed by a District Commander (Captain), Deputy Commander (Lieutenant), uniformed sergeants and patrol deputies, detectives, and administrative staff. Districts overlap city agencies, as the Sheriff's Office has concurrent jurisdiction in these areas.
District 1 - District One covers an area of approximately 1,053 square miles (2,730 km2) in the southeast quadrant of the county. District One encompasses the cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe, along with the Town of Guadalupe and CDP of Sun Lakes. District One also includes portions of the Town of Queen Creek, and the cities of Apache Junction, Scottsdale, and Phoenix, including the Ahwatukee Foothills. While District One is not the largest district in size, it is historically the busiest, averaging approximately 40% more calls for service than any of the other districts.
District 2 - District Two covers an area of approximately 5,200 square miles (13,000 km2) in the southwest quadrant of the county. District Two provides service to the rural areas of Buckeye, Laveen, Mobile, Rainbow Valley, and Tonopah, as well as to the contract cities of Gila Bend and Litchfield Park. District Two also includes portions of Avondale, Glendale, Goodyear, and Phoenix.
District 3 - District Three covers an area of approximately 1,600 square miles (4,100 km2), bordered by Northern Avenue on the south and I-17 on the east, extending to the northern and western borders of the county. District Three includes the areas of Sun City and Sun City West, the communities of Wittmann, Waddell, Circle City, Morristown, Whispering Ranch, Aguila, Gladden, and the unincorporated neighborhoods surrounding Peoria, Surprise, and Wickenburg.
District 4 - District 4 provides law enforcement services to the unincorporated areas of Anthem, Desert Foothills, New River, Cave Creek, Carefree and Tonto Hills. District Four also provides law enforcement to the contract Towns of Cave Creek and Carefree.
District 6 - District Six provides law enforcement services on a contract basis to the Town of Queen Creek. The Town of Queen Creek was previously a part of District One, but was officially designated as its own district in 2008, with its own complement of deputies and command staff. There continues to be, however, several unincorporated neighborhoods in and around Queen Creek that are still serviced by District One. Portions of the corporate town limits of Queen Creek fall within the jurisdictional boundaries of Pinal County, but are provided law enforcement services by Maricopa County.
District 7 - District Seven provides police services to the unincorporated areas of Fountain Hills, Tonto Verde and Rio Verde. It also provides contract law enforcement services on a contract basis to the Town of Fountain Hills.
Lake Patrol -
In addition to patrolling the unincorporated areas, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is responsible for patrolling the lakes and waterways in the recreational areas within the county. The Lake Patrol Division is responsible for law enforcement services in the recreational areas of Tonto National Forest and Lake Pleasant Regional Park. This area includes Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, Bartlett and Horseshoe Lakes as well as the Lower Salt and Verde River recreational areas, Four Peaks, Superstition, Mazatzals, Camp Creek and Seven Springs recreational and wilderness areas. The total area of responsibility is over 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2), which are visited by an estimated 1.5 million people every year.
The Lake Patrol Division is composed of highly trained deputy sheriffs who operate four-wheel-drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, patrol boats, jet skis and an air boat to perform their duties. All Lake Patrol deputies are certified Emergency Medical Technicians and several are Paramedics. The division also has a detective section which investigates crimes, deaths and boating accidents on the lakes and rivers.
Trails Division -
The Trails Division has the responsibility for law enforcement services in the recreational and wilderness areas of the Maricopa County Parks. The total area of responsibility consists of over 120,000 acres (490 km2) that are visited by approximately 1.8 million persons each year. The Maricopa County parks system is the largest regional parks system in the nation, and includes the areas of Buckeye Hills Recreation area, Cave Creek Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, San Tan Mountain Regional Park, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, The Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant, Usery Mountain Regional Park, and White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
The Trails Division is also composed of highly trained deputies who operate four-wheel drive vehicles and all-terrain vehicles, and also uses bicycles, mounted, and foot patrol to perform their duties.
Aviation Division -
The Aviation Division provides airborne law enforcement support to uniformed patrol, Lake Patrol, Search and Rescue operations, narcotics enforcement, extraditions and SWAT operations.
The Aviation Division is staffed with a Commander, Helicopter Flight Operation Supervisor, Fixed Wing Supervisor, Director of Maintenance, fourteen sworn Deputies, five Civilians, two instructor pilots and an Administrative Coordinator. The Division is a 24 hour a day 7 days a week operation and employs four helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft.
The flagship of the division is a Bell 407 helicopter with a call sign of "FOX 1." This helicopter is equipped with FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red), stabilized binoculars, Ultichart moving map and an SX-5 night sun spotlight. This helicopter performs direct patrol, search and rescue operations, narcotics surveillance and photo missions.
In addition "FOX-1", the Aviation Division operates "FOX 4," a Bell Military OH-58 helicopter acquired in 1996 from the Defense Reutilization Program. It was completely rebuilt and placed into service in July, 1998, and is also used for direct patrol, search and rescue operations, narcotics surveillance and photo missions.
"FOX 5" is a Schweitzer TH-55 helicopter acquired from the Defense Reutilization Program. "FOX-5" has been fully restored and is the primary training aircraft for MCSO Aviation personnel. This is the same type of aircraft used by the military to train pilots since the 1960s.
For fixed wing, the division utilizes a single engine Cessna 206 and a twin engine PA-31 Piper Navajo. Both aircraft are housed at Glendale Airport and are used primarily for extraditing fugitives from other states. Fixed wing aircraft are also used for narcotics and smuggling surveillance missions.
K9 Unit -
The Sheriff's Canine Unit includes 25 canines with various specialties, including narcotics, explosive ordnance, cadaver, and patrol. The unit's staff consists of one Sergeant, ten Deputies, five Detectives and four Detention Officers.
All canines trained in narcotic detection are capable of finding and aggressively alerting on cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin, and their derivatives. Collectively, they have assisted in the seizure of over 5.3 million dollars in narcotic tainted monies. All canines trained in explosive ordnance detection are trained to detect and passively alert on 13 different odors. The tobacco canine is trained to find and aggressively alert on all forms of tobacco.
Patrol dogs are trained in building searches, area searches, officer protection, crowd control, trailing, and provide a strong psychological deterrent to certain types of criminal misconduct. Our cadaver canine is trained to find and passively alert on decaying human tissues, bones, and fluids. Our bloodhounds are utilized to track down suspects and locate missing or lost individuals.
Canine team members typically work patrol operations during peak activity hours, usually from about 6 PM to 4 AM. They also augment SWAT operations; provide contractual services for narcotic detection at several local schools; provide narcotic and explosive ordnance detection for not only our office, but for other local, state, and federal agencies; they are on call 7 days a week 24 hours a day, and conduct over 100 public relations demonstrations annually.
The utilization of police canines provides law enforcement with a non-lethal means of apprehending dangerous criminal offenders; detecting intruders and alerting handlers to their presence; pursuing, attacking and holding criminal offenders who resist apprehension; searching and clearing buildings and large open areas for criminals; tracking lost children or other persons; detecting the presence of certain narcotics, explosives, and tobacco products; locating deceased subjects, crime scenes, and minute physical evidence; and provide a strong psychological deterrent to certain types of criminal misconduct.
There is a permanent, organized Sheriff's Posse that provides civilian volunteer support to the sworn deputies of the Sheriff's Office. Dozens of individual posse units can be called upon for various needs, such as a Jeep posse, equine mounted units in various cities, a ham radio operator posse, a diver's posse, and an air posse of licensed pilots.
|Officer||End of Watch||Details|
|Deputy Almon W. Dana||
|Deputy Sheriff Lee Wright||
|Special Deputy Edward J. Roberts||
|Deputy Sheriff Burtice W. Wickstrum||
|Deputy Gerald Barnes||
|Lieutenant Robert L. Dorn||
|Deputy Warren LaRue||
|Deputy Rex Stone||
|Deputy Ralph K. Butler||
|Reserve Deputy James L. Epp||
|Corporal Darrell Dean McCloud||
|Deputy Vernon P. Marconnet||
|Sergeant Patrick Joseph Riley||
||Struck by vehicle|
|Deputy Edwardo M. Gonzales||
|Deputy II Kenneth Ray Blair||
|Deputy Sheriff Gary Frederick Labenz||
|Deputy Sheriff William Coleman||
Controversies and criticism
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has been involved in many controversial acts, lawsuits, and other operations that have been called into question, from alleged racial profiling to jail conditions. The Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, has also been criticized over a number of incidents and policies.
The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is investigating the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in relation to alleged racism and abuse of power, as well as refusing to cooperate with a federal Justice Department investigation.
- "Contact Us." Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on November 22, 2012.. "100 West Washington Suite 1900 Phoenix, AZ 85003"
- Markon, Jerry; McCrummen, Stephanie (2010-08-18). "U.S. may sue Arizona's Sheriff Arpaio for not cooperating in investigation". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- "Police Women of Maricopa County". Discovery Communications, LLC. 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2010-04-17.