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. 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. Clickclack

    OK, post the mug shots online, but turning it into a contest is just plain sick.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jj

    we always see mug shots of people in the paper that are amusing as hell! whats the difference if they make a contest of it? quit defending law breakers you whiners!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Clickclack

    Don't put words in my mouth. I did not say nor did I suggest defending lawbreakers. You judged me unjustly and believed yourself to be correct. There will always be people like you,bully!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kim

    It sounds like he very unstable and treating his position as a time to be a tyrant and mistreat people even if your not a danger to anyone. If its not in the job discription why are you doing these thíng. I believe in punishment but not strange and unusual cruélty. Thats just as wrong as the crime there being punished for and that is not right!!!!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    ...And yet he keeps getting elected. Whatever the rest of the world thinks, the residents of Maricopa County must like him.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • eyeforgot

      That's correct.

      April 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kim

    If the law start too enjoy cruel and preverse ways you have crossed the line of being a law enforcer and have given over to criminal behavior you cannot serve and protect the people if you grossly abuse prisoners!

    April 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 1608

    Welcome to Libya, Az.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. i rule

    I have a mugshot of joe and ol boy preacher from kansas doing the hippity dippity in joes cruuuzzzzer

    April 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jj

    banansy you seem to know AZ. are you from here too?

    April 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jj

    banansy you seem to know AZ. are you from here 2?

    April 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nur amabo nur

    Go Joe !!! I wish there were 1000 more like him. Check his stats, this guy does NOT throw money at his problems, he's saving his county tons of dough. Unfortunately all that excess cash goes to feed, cloth and buy swimming pools for illegal migrants. Keep up the good work Joe !

    April 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nur amabo nur

    How about a welfare recipient photo of the day too!!! Is it really to much to ask for say 30 hours a week community service. Your already getting paid and not working so go clean a park or something.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dim Mak

    CNN is blocking my comments for some reason or it's a glitch. @Tae: My point was that when you throw guns, drugs, bad parents and bad entertainment at people there will be problems that arise. Sheriff Joe and/or the government is not curing anyone, nor are they stopping the reason crime exists. Legalize pot, and eliminate narco-plantations, then you will see many crimes disappear. I think this guy is sick, but since he treats sick people like dogs I think he should get the same treatment.

    April 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CJ

    Repeat after me: Innocent until proven guilty! Innocent until proven guilty! Innocent until proven guilty!

    April 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm


      April 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barfy Spewsalot

      I say deport him to Mexico where they can put him on public trial & give him what he deserves... A cell of Big GAY Beefy Mexicans where he will get plenty of Meat & cheese.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Planet X


    April 21, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
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