I’ve been following Sheriff Joe Apraio
from Maricopa County in Arizona for some time now. As a writer, I love to find interesting and controversial “real” characters that serve as inspiration for stories. Sheriff Apraio
definitely fits that category as a loved, hated, innovative, and extremely controversial person.
Who is Sheriff Apraio?
Sheriff Joe Apraio
has been a police officer and DEA agent. He is currently serving his 5th term as Sheriff for Maricopa County. He became controversial back in 1993 for being tough on prison inmates, immigration laws, and drug enforcement as a deterrent against crime.
He’s known for the implementation of new jail operations, such as meals twice daily, classical music, banned sexually explicit magazines, and only showing television stations for C-SPAN and Disney.
Most controversial is the setup and extension of the jail with tents where there is no air conditioning for the 100+ degree summer heat in Arizona, which lowered the cost to house inmates.
He’s been quoted as saying, "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents, have to wear full body armor, and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths."
Perhaps his most well known tactic is the pink underwear that is standard for the inmates because it’s psychologically calming and keeps security in check. It also includes pink handcuffs.
Crime is something that won’t go away and prison overpopulation is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in more constructive ways. I find that Sheriff Apraio
is indeed committed to deterring crime and solving problems in his jurisdiction. As I don’t agree with absolutely everything he has implemented, I have to admit he seems to be effective, and innovative if nothing else. It’s refreshing to see someone willing to stand up and make a difference. Many law enforcement officials could take a page from Sheriff Apraio’s
I had a thought… I wonder if Sheriff Apraio
would agree with my heroine Emily Stone
and her tactics on anonymously hunting down pedophiles and serial killers?
I would love to hear your comments about Sheriff Apraio and his law enforcement tactics and deterrents against crime. Do you think they’re effective or not? Would other states benefit from his example?
Author & Criminologist