Controversial Arizona sheriff starts 'Mugshot of the Day' contest
Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, says the photos could drum up leads for investigations.
April 20th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Controversial Arizona sheriff starts 'Mugshot of the Day' contest

The Arizona law enforcement official known as "America's toughest sheriff" has come up with a new way to demonstrate his authority.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has begun posting online mug shots of people who are arrested, asking people to vote for the photo they find most amusing. He says that putting the mug shots online and inviting a mass audience to view them is a way to drum up leads for investigations. "I want people to turn to see if their neighbor's been arrested," he said.

Some people have said it's unfair, arguing that not everyone arrested is guilty and that putting the images online in that forum, to exist forever in cyberspace, could result in unfair discrimination for innocent people pictured for years to come.

Arpaio is not the first to come up with the concept of posting mug shots online. Thesmokinggun.com and newspaper Web sites have been doing it for years, and the public is responding with clicks.

Arpaio is used to a great amount of attention. He's famous for his tough treatment of those convicted in his Arizona jurisdiction. He has fed inmates green bologna and made them wear pink underwear. His unconventional approach to law enforcement has drummed up many headlines over the years.

Last week, an investigation into alleged misconduct by Arpaio's subordinates ended with a 1,022-page report delivered to the sheriff. The investigation was led by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, and a letter to him from Arpaio said privacy limits prevent disclosure of the report until those named can appeal its findings.

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Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Triumph

    I will give you a mugshot now that I have read your article...which is very good....
    FOR ME TO POOP ON!

    April 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Professor Farnsworth

      Incidentally, you have a dime up your nose.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIG Texan

      Old Joe is doing a bang up job of putting the slugs and trash to work for his state, I applaud his efforts. If your a tree hugging liberal who can't see the value in what he is doing, then you are part of the problem and the reason Sheriff Joe must think outside the box. Do something or SHUT YOU MOUTH!!!

      April 29, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. mcmurdo

    The ugliness of all things from Az. just keep on coming. The only state that beats us for truly hateful is Florida with it's rash of teen on teen torture and killings.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bender

      Ah, yes! John Quincy Adding Machine. He struck a chord with the voters when he pledged not to go on a killing spree.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carrie

    I love this guy. He should come to NY and work on our inmates

    April 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bender

      Is the Space Pope reptilian!?

      April 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      No kidding! Someone who actually treats convicts as "GASP" convicts! Unlike other facilities who mamby pamby to these felons, "I don't like my food, I can't practice my religious freedom here" He shut's them up. He was the one who threw them outside doing road work in pink jumpsuits. We need wardens who are going to do more than allow them to file grievances and appeals.

      April 21, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. FRANK BURKS

    Joe Arpaio is a mentally sick person that seeks publicity. I would love to see his mug shot posted someday. I am sure he has committed a crime in his lifetime, if uncovered, that would justify a mug shot. Sick Person-Sick State.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hyperchicken

      Son, as your lawyer, I declare y'all are in a 12-piece bucket o' trouble. But I done struck you a deal: Five hours of community service cleanin' up that ol' mess you caused. I'da done better, but it's plum hard pleading a case while awaiting trial for that there incompetence.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • termlimits

      Nobody wants to go back to his jail, a public mugshot might bring another witness forward, illegals are leaving the area, and the chain gangs are picking up trash. ALL positive seems to me!

      April 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jt

      GO JOE!!!!!

      April 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tim

    I realize we are talking about convicted people. They are still people! I agree with Frank above, Joe Arpaio is sick and twisted.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Arpaio

      Actually that is not correct. You get your mugshot taken when arrested, you don't have to be convicted of anything. In fact a good percentage of these mugshots could be of people that are 100% innocent.

      But I'm Joe, none of that matters as long as I get my name in the papers.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jt

      Idiots, morons, delinquents, thieves, abusers. They are CRIMINALS. They made their choice. GO JOE!!!!

      April 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    He's been in the news for years with his unorthodox methods. Are there any stats that crime has actually gone down in Maricopa County? I'd be interested to know.

    I remember the pink panties hoo-hah. I must admit, it made me laugh.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hermes

      With a warning label this big, you know they gotta be fun!

      April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bender

    You know, I was God once.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      Yes, I saw. You were doing well, until everyone died.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LIV2JAM

    This is wrong on so many levels. A person is innocent until proven guilty. This is a violation of rights and I think could warrent litigation. Post conviction mugshots would be acceptable. People who are aquitted or have charges dismissed have the right to expunge their records. This infringes on that right and furthermore dilutes the ability for a fair trial.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reverand Lionel Preacherbot

      The only lies worth believing are the ones in the Bible.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • disgusted

      Re: post conviction mug shots, you are probably a tiny bit naive, often the police harrass uneducated or low income people into plea bargaining TO CRIMES THEY DID NOT COMMIT, because the courts are overcrowded. Seriously. Sad, but true. And look at the convictions of people on DEATH ROW where the DNA PROVES THEY ARE INNOCENT.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Les

    Has anyone seen Joe Arpaio's birth certificate? Now wouldn't that be a hoot if he were an illegal?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dim Mak

    I have a major problem with treating possibly innocent people as comedic fodder, so this sociopath sheriff can make up for his tiny member. It's clear he gets turned on by men in pink underwear. Men like him commit crimes too. It's in their DNA. He drinks and drives or frequents red light districts. He just happens to be the top dog in his neck of the woods, so his little puppet deputies don't ever arrest him. He will pay for it in the end.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tae

      Are you scared that your face will end up online? Is that your problem with him? Or maybe your problem with him is that you're scared to go to his "neck of the woods" because people might find out that you yourself enjoy men in pink underwear?

      Like the story said, he isn't the first to do this. I have looked at and laughed at mugshots on news sites many times over the years. There is nothing new about what he is doing and there is nothing illegal about it.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joe arapaho

    Look at the head on that one.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hermes

      A true inspiration for the children.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scrooge

    We need that sheriff in los angeles he does such a great job because california has become what arizona is avoiding and thats a third world country great job arizona remind everybody that this is still the U.S. of A its seems we have forgot that

    April 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard Nixon's Head

      Good man. Nixon's pro-war and pro-family.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dim Mak

    I'm sure sheriff Joe thinks his feces don't stink. He will call them dope dealers or ra-pists without the benefit of a trial. Many criminals come from broken families, but the US government loves broken families as does sheriff Joe. It gives them bad guys to chase. Heaven forbid the US destroy the heroin plantations we are now protecting in Afghanistan and the cocaine plantations we are giving Colombia billions of dollars to destroy. How transparent this world is when we start opening our eyes.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tae

      So because LAW ENFORCEMENT catches the "bad guys", if you will, that means they love broken homes? If that's your thinking, then what about social workers? Do they love broken homes also because those broken homes that contain children give them "something to do"? What about all of the abuse shelters that are around? Do they love broken homes too because those homes give them people to take in?

      Are your thought seriously THAT twisted? I think you need to think about your logic before you start writing/talking.

      April 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. VIC

    Newspapers have been posting mugshots online for a while, and have been running arrest reports in print for decades - all of people who have been arrest, not convicted. It's all on public record. Sheriff Joe, like the America's Most Wanted TV program, just puts these issues and images in our faces more effectively.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ratt

    Good Job Sheriff, please come to N. Louisiana the illegal mexicans have take over a whole town down here, Bernice, Louisi-yana. I am not kidding. Has to be close to 3,000 – 4,000. You can't take the family camping to Lake Caney anymore they steal anything that is not tied down, that, or they come by your camp and ask for a coke, or beer, or a cigarette, anything, what they are really doing is checking out your stuff, and you can't cruise around at night because to many illegals are out drinking and driving, and if you get hit they just run off. We need to empty this shanty town.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Louisiana sportman's paradise???They'll put their Buckshot Cheney patch on their hunterjackets and use sheriff's a-zzz for target practice...then holler they thought it was a deer.

      April 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
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