Hundreds attend forum to meet court-appointed MCSO monitor - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Hundreds attend forum to meet court-appointed MCSO monitor

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More than 200 people attended a community meeting at ASU Preparatory Academy on Thursday night to hear from the man appointed by a federal judge in January to monitor the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The meeting was one of as many as 21 that will be held in MCSO districts during the next year to help build public confidence and inform the community about policy changes made by the agency.

Robert Warshaw, a retired police chief from New York, assured the crowd he answers to the federal court system and the people of Maricopa County.

He said he and his monitoring team, which consists of about a dozen members, will be collecting information from MCSO and the public to make sure Arpaio's office is in compliance with the judge's orders and isn't trampling on anyone's civil rights.

The team will issue four reports a year, the first one in August, assessing how well Arpaio's office is cooperating.

"We have total and unfettered access to all files," Warshaw explained. "And, the mandates of the order are very,very clear in terms of the requirement of the sheriff's office to be cooperative with us, because ultimately being cooperative with us means being compliant with the directive of the court."

If MCSO is found to not be in compliance, it will face court sanctions.

But, Warshaw stressed he wants to work with MCSO to improve the quality of its policing services.

The judge overseeing the case ruled more than a year ago that Arpaio's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its regular traffic and immigration patrols.

Arpaio vigorously denies his deputies have racially profiled people and has appealed the ruling.

Several members of the Hispanic community, who spoke during the meeting, expressed distrust of MCSO and law enforcement in general.

They said Arpaio's immigration sweeps have destroyed lives and made them feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.

"He hasn't learned his lesson," said one man about Arpaio. "The people have been suffering for years already."

Another man echoed those sentiments.

"When are the citizens finally going to come down on the sheriff's office?" he asked. "Because as long as Joe is there, nothing is going to change."

Arpaio did not attend Thursday night's meeting, however several representatives from his office were there.

They declined to comment "out of respect for the process."

Warshaw said his monitoring team is in the process of setting up a website where residents can file complaints, or compliments, about their interactions with MCSO.

Warshaw said his team will investigate every complaint.

In the meantime, concerned residents can email Warshaw directly at or call the team's office at 602-812-7513.

Their downtown Phoenix office is located at 45 West Jefferson St., Suite 600.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.