Goldwater Institute study looks at effectiveness of Maricopa County Sheriffs Office

Posted on December 02, 2008 | Type: Press Release
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The Maricopa County Sheriffs Office prides itself on being an agency that provides professional quality law enforcement, detention and support services. But a close look at the office by the Goldwater Institute shows MCSO falls short in these three core areas.

A new policy report, Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office, takes a candid look at what the Sheriffs Office is doing and provides recommendations on how MCSO and other police agencies can provide more effective and efficient law enforcement services.

The Maricopa County Sheriffs Office is tasked with the important job of keeping crime rates low, said Clint Bolick, author of the report and Goldwater Institute litigation director. Judged by its own statistics, MCSO appears to be falling seriously short of fulfilling its core law enforcement duties.

Among the areas Mission Unaccomplished analyzes is MCSOs record keeping and reporting. The study finds MCSO record keeping inadequate and inaccurate. For example, each year when the Sheriffs Office provides crime clearance statistics to the county, the figures are accompanied by the disclaimer that the data is not considered accurate.

The paper also examines the 166-percent increase in homicide rates between 2004 and 2007, the same period that MCSO began diverting resources to other priorities, such as trips by high-level employees to Honduras for ambiguous law enforcement activities.

Mission Unaccomplished also looks at MCSOs closing of satellite booking facilities, immigration sweeps, and lack of transparency.

The paper recommends practical ways the Sheriffs Office can better achieve its goals of quality law enforcement, support services, and detention, including:

 Regular audits by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
 The legislature formally clearing up blurry jurisdictional lines
 The legislature adopting uniform standards for clearance of criminal investigations and requiring prompt, accurate reporting of clearance rates

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

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