Joe Arpaio: The War on Cops Needs To End


Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio had a long and decorated career in law enforcement before being elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1992. He is now a Special Contributor to The Western Journal.

I began my law enforcement career as a bright-eyed 21-year-old in 1957. I worked a tough D.C. beat back then.

Suffice to say, it was a tough job. I never shot anyone during my time in Washington, but I had to be very aggressive in my job. When dealing with criminals, aggression was often a necessity.

The job was difficult in 1957.

In 2018? It’s almost impossible.

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The primary culprit for making cops’ lives so miserable today is a familiar one. Leftists and the mainstream media are waging a war on cops, and it needs to stop. The left’s passion for anti-cop sentiments has reached a zealous level.

But, in turn, I cannot possibly feel any more passionate about my crusade to defend police officers.

Back in 1957, race was never an issue when it came to police officers. Cops were good men and women looking to protect us. Criminals were bad people looking to harm us. It was so simple.

Today, you can’t find a story involving a police officer that doesn’t inject race into it. Thanks to the media, race has become inextricably linked to law enforcement.

Case in point, look at the amount of coverage that Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke has received versus the terrible story of seven police officers being shot, one of them fatally, in Florence, South Carolina.

Van Dyke’s case involves a white cop shooting a black person. It’s gotten endless coverage from the media. The seven officers shot in South Carolina have gotten a pittance of coverage in comparison to Van Dyke.

It’s this brazen manipulation by the media that makes organizations like the National Center for Police Defense so important in today’s political landscape. Political hitjobs against police officers have no end in sight. Nonprofit, pro-cop groups are more important than they’ve ever been with the mainstream narrative being so decidedly against the police.

Full disclosure: The National Center for Police Defense helped me when I was charged with contempt of court.

Perhaps the worst part of the narrative that the media are crafting is how it affects children.

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It wasn’t that long ago that children were raised to treat authority with respect and reverence.

Today, I can’t even attend a rally or give a speech without demonstrators coming out against me. Among those demonstrators, sadly, there are often a number of children. These are children who are being taught to hate police and told police are bad.

How sad is that?

Whether it’s former President Barack Obama or former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, it’s sad and disturbing to see how many children look up to their anti-police rhetoric.

Do you agree that the war on cops needs to end?

Obama set the tempo of bringing race into police interactions when he infamously quibbled over a white Massachusetts cop arresting a black professor in 2009. Kaepernick exacerbated it with his anthem kneeling and the time he wore socks depicting police officers as pigs. It’s disgusting, and I can’t condemn those types of actions harshly enough.

What have we come to when sports stars and presidents are telling the youths who look up to them that police are bad?

When those youths grow up, they might have the same mentality as the despicable person in South Carolina who shot seven police officers.

That type of nonsense is why President Donald Trump has been such a revelation. I’ve met the man, and I can honestly say that Trump’s pro-cop attitudes come from his heart.

Being a police officer has never been an easy job, but until recently, it’s never been an impossible job either. When you have the media vitriol, widespread cameras and cowardly police chiefs who refuse to support some of their officers, why would anyone want to be a cop?

The answer is because it is an honorable and important profession in keeping America safe. Children need to be taught this, and not whatever the media are peddling.

I’ve lived the police life. It’s high time that the media and leftists let other police officers live theirs.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio had a long and decorated career in law enforcement before being elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1992. He is now a Special Contributor to The Western Journal.
Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio had a long and decorated career in law enforcement before being elected to Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992.

After serving in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1953, and as a Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, NV, police officer, Arpaio went on to build a law enforcement career as a federal narcotics agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For almost a decade, Arpaio was stationed in foreign countries where he headed the DEA combatting the drug trade in which, even by today’s standards, are highly volatile and dangerous in Turkey, the Middle East, Mexico and Central and South America. He was also a diplomatic attaché. In his last years with the DEA, Arpaio also gained invaluable expertise on border issues and enforcement as the head of the DEA in the border states of Arizona and Texas. He concluded his remarkable federal career as head of the DEA for Arizona.

In 1992, Arpaio successfully campaigned to become the Sheriff of Maricopa County, becoming the head of the nation’s third largest Sheriff’s Office which employs over 3,400 people. He served an unprecedented six 4-year terms. During his tenure as Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio consistently earned high public approval ratings.

In August, 1993, he started the nation’s largest Tent City for convicted inmates. Two thousand convicted men and women serve their sentences in a canvas incarceration compound. It was here that Arpaio launched his get-tough policies for inmates. He banned smoking, coffee, movies, pornographic magazines, and unrestricted TV in all jails. It is a remarkable success story that has attracted the attention of government officials, presidential candidates, and media worldwide.

Of equal success and notoriety were his chain gangs, which contributed thousands of dollars of free labor to the community by picking up litter, painting over graffiti and burying the indigent in the county cemetery.

Another program Arpaio was very well known for is the pink underwear he made all inmates wear. Years ago, when the Sheriff learned that inmates were stealing jailhouse white boxers, Arpaio had all inmate underwear dyed pink for better inventory control.

As chief law enforcement officer for the county, Arpaio continued to reduce crime with hard-hitting enforcement methods. He began an all-volunteer posse of 3,000 members, making it the nation’s largest volunteer posse. Posse men and women help in search and rescue and other traditional police work as well as in special operations like rounding up deadbeat parents, fighting prostitution, patrolling malls during holidays, and investigating animal cruelty complaints. The posse’s contributions are invaluable and essentially free to taxpayers.

In addition to these tough measures, the Sheriff launched rehabilitative programs like “Hard Knocks High,” the only accredited high school under a Sheriff in an American jail, and ALPHA, an anti-substance-abuse program that has greatly reduced recidivism.

He is now a Special Contributor to The Western Journal.

On a personal note, Sheriff Arpaio and his wife Ava have been married for over 56 years and have two children, both residing in the Phoenix area. The Arpaios have four grandchildren.
Topics of Expertise
Drug Enforcement, Law Enforcement, Politics