Joe Arpaio – biography

photo Joe Arpaio - biography

Biography and facts about Joe Arpaio

Joseph Arpaio is a former politician and an officer of law enforcement. For 24 years Joseph Michael Arpaio served as a 36th Sheriff in Arizona, in Maricopa County, the USA. In 2016 he lost reelection for this post to Paul Penzone.

Joe is considered to be one of the toughest men in law enforcement, and he used to call himself America’s Toughest Sheriff. He is also a controversial politician who was accused many times of power abuse and misconduct.

Joseph Arpaio’s Early Years

Joe was born in a family of Italian immigrants in 1932, on June 14. Unfortunately, his mother died at childbirth, and the boy was brought up by his father. Joe’s father owned an Italian food store in Springfield, Massachusetts. Here Joe spent his childhood. He went to school, like all children of his age, and later on, when in high school, he also helped his father run the store.

At the age of 18 Joseph was enlisted to the US army. He avoided the Korean War, however, as he served in the Medical Detachment Division for 4 years, from 1950 to 1954.

The Career of the “Toughest American Sheriff”

After returning from the army in 1954 Arpaio became a police officer in Washington D.C. He served there till 1957, when he joined the US Bureau of Narcotics. He worked undercover in different parts of the world (Mexico, Turkey, Lebanon and some others). He was of an Italian origin, and this was very convenient for the Bureau, as there were many Italian drug-dealers, who trusted him. His work in the Bureau of Narcotics lasted for over 20 years.

In 1982 he retired from the Bureau and opened a travel agency together with his wife. However, a quiet life of a travel agent wasn’t for him, so ten years later he ran for Maricopa County sheriff and won the elections.

Arpaio was very firm in his convictions and he implemented a few regulations that were rather hard. One of the earlier regulations was banning movies and coffee from the county prison. He wanted to project by his actions that committing crimes was not an option because you would have to serve tough sentence for that. He stated multiple times that he wanted everyone to see that life in jail was hard, so they wouldn’t dare committing crimes.

By 1996 Arpaio became the most prominent politician in the state of Arizona. He was reelected to the post of Maricopa County sheriff several times. In 2000 there was another innovation by Arpaio: he launched a website streaming the life of convicts in prison. This website was extremely popular, and was visited by 3 million people in the first day. There were a lot of people though who were against these jail cameras as this was considered inhuman, especially after videos from cameras of women’s toilet were used by porn websites.

In 2002 Joe Arpaio decided not to run for Arizona’s governor thinking that he would be more useful to the state at his current position. This was surprising for a lot of his supporters, but, he continued his career as a sheriff, and in 2006 he started going after dealers who illegally brought immigrants into their state.

The Controversy around Joe Arpaio

“The toughest sheriff”’s personality is rather controversial. He was loved and admired by people, and at the same time feared by criminals. However, his methods were tough and sometimes questionable.

In 2007 there was a class-action lawsuit against Arpaio by a Mexican citizen who was detained by Arpaio’s officers though he visited the USA legally. This case started a range of lawsuits against the famous and popular sheriff in the upcoming years, most of which dealt with racial profiling of Latin Americans.

In 2008 the conditions in Arpaio’s jails were ruled unconstitutional. In 2012 there was another lawsuit for illegal discrimination against people of Latino origin. In the upcoming years there were several cases when either Arpaio or his deputies were accused of racial profiling.

Over the years there were also accusation in abuse of power, incorrect authorization of cases, incorrect use of finances, not investigating sex crimes, election law violations, etc. There was also a lawsuit that lasted for ten years in which Arpaio was barred from conducting immigration roundups. Nevertheless, it became known that Arpaio’s officers continued detaining people without legitimate suspicion.

In 2016 Arpaio endorsed Trump for president, and Trump publicly expressed his gratitude for that endorsement. When in summer of 2017 Arpaio was convicted of disrespect of court, this crime was pardoned by Trump in just a month.

In 2018 Joe Arpaio ran for the US Senate in primary election for Arizona’s Republican party,  but he didn’t succeed.

Family Life

Joe Arpaio married Ava Arpaio in 1958. Together they had 2 children, and as of now, they already have 4 grandchildren. The family lives in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Joe is rather active on Facebook and Twitter with about 600 thousand followers on Facebook and 100 thousand on Twitter.

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