Sheriff Joe Arpaio criticized over handling of sex-crime cases


Sheriff Joe Arpaio criticized over handling of sex-crime cases


PHOENIX — A report examining more than 400 sex-crime cases that were inadequately investigated or not looked into at all by an Arizona sheriff's office attributes the failures to understaffing and mismanagement, including hundreds of pieces of evidence intended for storage that were instead left in offices or taken home by detectives.

The internal affairs report released Monday blamed officers on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's sex-crimes squad for some failures and noted the squad was "overworked and understaffed." But the report said officials were rescinding earlier letters that threatened to discipline the officers in question.

"This systematic problem could not then, and cannot now, be properly addressed or corrected by disciplining a few individuals," Arpaio aide Brian Sands wrote in a new letter Monday to one of the squad members.

Sands wrote that officers fell short in their duties because they were assigned an overwhelming volume of complex, time-consuming cases to investigate.

The squad had too few detectives, and budget restrictions limited overtime hours.

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