Sheriff Arpaio Gets His Own TV Show And An Online Revolt Ensues

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Sheriff Joe Arpaio in his new reality show.

Arpaio, coming soon, on the Fox Reality Channel.

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has become famous for his made-for-TV antics, like forcing inmates to use pink underwear, and his immigration enforcement fervor, which has drawn heavy criticism from civil rights advocates. Now, he’s getting his own FOX reality show and pro-immigrant organizations are not happy.

In response to the FOX Reality Channel’s announced launch of Smile, You’re Under Arrest!, America’s Voice is gathering support for a petition which asks the Department of Justice to investigate Arpaio “for gross civil rights violations in the name of immigration enforcement.”

Arpaio is a controversial figure in his home of Maricopa County (which encompasses Phoenix) and way beyond.

Just last Wednesday, a meeting of the county’s Board of Supervisors featured the arrests of four of his critics for being disruptive — they were detained by sheriff’s deputies. Those arrested are apparently linked to groups that have campaigned against the sheriff. According to The New York Times, they want the board “to have greater oversight of Sheriff Arpaio, whose get-tough tactics have gained him nationwide attention but who has been accused by critics of racial profiling and maintaining deplorable conditions at the county jails, among other things.” (The tally of anti-Arpaio arrestees has reached nine in recent months.)

His new TV show is scheduled to launch after Christmas. The channel’s website says “Smile…creates elaborate comical stings to bring real runaway fugitives to justice.

Armed with a troupe of improvisational actors, comedy writers and of course, the police, the show masterminds some of the most hysterical and outrageous stings ever caught on tape.

Actual wanted criminals are lured in using various scenarios such as a job as an extra on a movie set with the promise of good pay; or a fake fashion shoot where the subject thinks he is about to become a supermodel. In the end all the participants are revealed as officers of the law, and the criminal is apprehended. It’s a prank show that takes the entire genre to a whole new level – who knew comedy could be this dangerous?

“It’s Punk’d meets Cops,” Scott Satin, the show’s producer, told The Arizona Republic. Lisa Allen, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said, “A lot of thought and a lot of meetings went into it. It was a unique marriage between law enforcement and entertainment, and we had to make sure it was right.”

But so much of what Arpaio has done is wrong, according to pro-immigration advocates.

America’s Voice compiled a fact sheet [here in pdf] which notes that 2,700 lawsuits have been filed against the sheriff between 2004 and 2007. The document says a study showed Latinos are targeted in his office’s high-profile sweeps and in traffic stops. It also notes that the Phoenix mayor and members of the Arizona state legislature have called for a federal investigation of Arpaio’s practices. (And that the sheriff staged a “phony murder plot against himself.”)

Another organization, the Immigration Policy Center, released its own fact sheet [click for pdf] saying,

Over the past year and a half, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining international publicity in the process. Yet a growing number of elected officials, media outlets, and religious and civic leaders have criticized Sheriff Arpaio’s tactics and their impact on his community.

To round out its campaign, America’s Voice released this video on Arpaio:


  1. Laura

    The sheriff is just enforcing the law and gets a lot if flack about it. It is a crime to enter this country illegally, yet most of law enforcement just looks the other way. We pay law enforcement to enforce ALL the laws, but the pro-immigration groups want a free ride on all the laws they are breaking. If they weren’t breaking the law they would have nothing to fear from Joe Arpio. The laws effecting them in Arizona were passed by ballot measures which the people of Arizona overwhelmingly approved. We are sick and tired of the crime that comes with illegal immigration. If you want to see who is commiting these crimes just go look through the mugshots on the sherrif’s web site.

    What is really needed is to start putting the employers who hire them in jail.

  2. Stacy Paratore

    This sheriff is nothing more than a media whore. A couple of months ago when he received public criticism for not doing real police work like serving the more than 40,000 warrants out there, Apraio indicated that it was not his job.

    And now months later it seems that if a camera is put in front of his face it suddenly is his job.

    Arpaio is Maricopa County’s version of Roscoe P. Cole Train. from Dukes of Hazzard.

    Corrupt, full of himself, a liability on the taxpayers of Maricopa County. I won’t be surprised if sooner or later he is led off in handcuffs for abuse of authority or for corruption. There is no transparency in that office and when ever any one requests an audit, that elected official suddenly is investigated. THIS MAN IS A BULLY and must be stopped.

  3. Actually, even those who AREN’T breaking the law have a lot to fear when it comes to Sheriff Arpaio. He’s been accused of everything from racial profiling to downright discrimination. Legal immigrants and nativeborn citizens are getting caught up in his “crime fighting” shenanigans. Meanwhile, as Sheriff Arpaio has diverted resources to immigration enforcement, response times to 911 calls have increased, arrest rates have dropped, and thousands of felony warrants have not been served.

    What is really needed is immigration reform and a DOJ investigation into the Sheriff’s tactics.

  4. Marcia

    Oh, PLEASE tell me this is a prank by the Onion or something.

    I’m appalled. Utterly, shockingly, devastatingly appalled.

    When are we going to get this tyrannical, megalomaniacal clown out of power?

  5. In Arizona everyday the economic situation has worsened. As an individual who assists clients with their legal problems, I hear daily from those currently losing their homes or having vehicles repossessed. After much analysis I have come to a very clear conclusion as to why we are in this economic dilemma and in particular in Arizona. I have been screaming this every day and very few listen. After all, I am simply an insignificant citizen of this great country. Perhaps being of Hispanic descent may not help based on my theory and final conclusion.

    You see here in Arizona that attack on the Immigrant and the undocumented Immigrant is horrendous. This attack started a few years ago and spread throughout the United States like a vicious cancer. Elected officials created anti-Immigrant laws which included employer sanction laws. The elected Maricopa County Sheriff who was previously interested in dressing prisoners in pink underwear and black and white striped jail uniforms found a new way to get media attention and started and has continued to have road blocks set up in primarily Latino neighborhoods which essentially allows him and his deputies to stop individuals they suspect of minor traffic violations (i.e., broken tail lights, broken windshields, etc.). In executing these stops those individual who are stopped are asked what their legal status is in the United States. It is important to note that those asked are 99% Latinos and many that have been detained and released have been U.S. Citizens or Legal Residents. This is tantamount to racial profiling. All this while there is 45,000 plus outstanding felony warrants to be executed in Maricopa County, Arizona alone. This activity has caused those undocumented individuals to go further underground in their communities. In essence hiding from further persecution. They have left their jobs or have been terminated based on the employer sanction laws. This means individuals who had several family members contributing to the payment of a mortgage have essentially been forced out of a job, which means that mortgages were not paid and foreclosure proceedings were commenced. Many have returned to Mexico or their country of origin, yet others have taken cash jobs and are not earning what they were previously earning. Essentially less money spent by the cash spending undocumented Immigrant interprets into less sales for retail stores. Even those who were not servicing the Latino Community are affected based on the fact that those who were servicing the Latino Community no longer have the incoming revenue and cannot purchase or trade with the Non-Latino servicing businesses. This means that those mainstream U.S. Citizens are no longer able to pay their bills and they have defaulted on their mortgages based on layoffs etc.. Cause and effect. This is a no brainer!!! Now, multiply that throughout the United States as the Anti-Immigrant movement gained velocity and the cancer spread throughout many key states. It is obvious that we have a domino effect occurring here. Recently I saw an article in an Arizona newspaper which quotes an Economist as saying that the lack of money spent by the Undocumented Immigrant has greatly impacted the economy in Arizona. That any burden on the system by the Undocumented Immigrant was far outweighed by their contribution both in the form of a stimulus by spending cash and by paying sales taxes which obviously helps the state of Arizona.

    The question here is…..When will the U.S. Economists come to the same realization and come out publicly to explain this cause and effect that has so greatly affected this great nation of ours? Will we have to wait four, maybe five years for statistics to be gathered and conclusions to be drawn? The question is, where will we be then? In a full blown depression? When by a simple act of congress we would have been able to pass an Immigration Reform Bill that would allow these millions of contributors to come out of the shadows, pay taxes and assimilate into these great United States.

    Of course I’m not an Economist I’m just another U.S. Citizen with an analytical mind and eyes and ears, oh, and of course, an opinion.

  6. Melissa Ventura

    In repoonse to what Stacey Paratore said on 12/22/08 about Sherriff Joe having more than 40,000 warrents to searve is incorrect- Yes there was 40,000 warrents but that was for the entire state not just the sherriffs office – The Sheriffs office of maricopa county’s portion was only 2,700. Its too bad so many people just look at the bad & negative that is protraied by the media. Does any one consider what good he has done for the valley & the state so to speak. Yes Sheriff Joe Arpiro is an elected offical, so what, he has to campigan to keep his job, to get the funding he needs to keep the jails running & to pay his staff. Do any one of you who bashes Joe have a way to take care of the grossley overcrowed jail system in the valley?? How whould you handle a jail that was filled over capicity when it was completed. I know people who have been in tent city & think it a great idea, but than I dont do stupid stuff that would put me in jail. Its quite simple really- you dont screw up & Joe wont be comig after you, nor will you be a guest in his facility.

    If you end up in jail, IT”S YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT!!! Dont Complain, you did the crime you do the time!! Period, I am tired of all the people who bash on Sheriff Joe for the way he does his job, what do you expect for a man whose county numbers in the millions of residents.

    As for his illegal immigrant problems, how do you propses we handle this issue. People who come here illegaly deserve to be sent back to where they came from no matter if you are mexician or european or asian. If you want to be here in the USA than make the effort to come here leagally!! I work for a small company I dont have medical insurance, yet if I have a heart attack I will be left with a medical bill over 300K at the miminum. Yet if an illegal has to go to the hospital that person will get coverage & wont have to pay a dime.

    I was born in this country as were my parents & grand parents, My great- grandparents came here from eupoe & scandavia with their papers. They assimilated with the cultures that are here & brouhgt their customs, yet most all people who come here from other parts of the county & world expect everyone here to bend to their ways of life. They dont change their way of thinking or acting. I can;’t stand people who come here from new york & jersey as they in my personal opinion & experience dont change their attitude or actions. You come to this country you come here legally, you learn the language, you keep your customes but learn about this country.

    I dont in any way have a problem with people coming here from other countries, but do it legally, MAKE AN EFFORT FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!! I understand that conditions are not like what we have here but like with most things in life you have to work for them, I know I do.

    I moved here 11 years from WA state & saw sheriff joe on a news show up there & thought about my dad work worked for a sheriffs office there & he worked in the jail as well. I have been to the jail there visiting my dad at work, it was not overcrowed but he pointed out that every jail also goes though spells of crowding, here its always crowed because people are stupid-I always hear people complain about the jails but ya know its only the people who have served time or their kids/spouses…. You do the crime do the time & quite your complaining. I have no symphy for you whether you are legal or illegal.

  7. Joe

    Unfortunately, Carlos chose to gloss over the CRIMES being committed by the “undocumented” immigrants. That’s liberalese for IN THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY. They broke the law, they get deported. And regarding the fact that 99% of those stopped are of Latino heritage — let’s do a quick geography lesson; Phoenix is in Arizona. Arizona is in the southernmost part of the United States. Arizona borders a different country — Mexico. Mexico’s residents are predominantly Hispanic/Latino. Many of these people (especially in border downs) live in squalor and horror each day; they choose to leave that (understandably) and make their way to the land of opportunity. Unfortunately, they choose to do so ILLEGALLY. Until the rules change (which they should), these people need to be sent home and allowed to apply to come back. The Statue of Liberty says “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free.” — we should allow anyone who wants to come in to find their fortune to do so; we just need to do this where we can have them enter as productive citizens.

    SO — yes, 99% of the people stopped are Latino; but unless Arizona is having a significant influx of illegal immigrants from Canada, what else makes sense??

  8. John Falkenstine

    I had an opportunity to meet this Sheriff at a book signing event some time ago. I found him unpleasant and seriously full of himself. There are many other Sheriffs in the state of Arizona, both liberal and conservative, who do their jobs with limited resources, are fair and honest to all people and have respect for the working person, not bothering or intimidating them and are still fully able to fullfill their duty. Arpaio’s behavior reminds me of a little man made big through his office, strongly reminiscent of Hitler’s SA which used the same psychology. In Maricopa county Arpaio was re-elected this year, so the pettiness and small-mindedness in the richest county in Arizona bleeds through. This is what people wanted, and they deserve this loser 100%.

  9. mlavers

    Give ’em hell Joe. You’re an American Hero! We AMERICANS LOVE YOU!!!!!
    Illegal have no right in America. He’s doing the job we want him to do.

  10. when will this mister enforcement go to maryvale and take on the massive gangs and drug dealers ….. also, this whimp only cracks down on illegals who have no weapons or other ordanance ……………… if you want to be the big man in town…. (NY TIMES) you would do the ritht thing…………. all the old farts in sun city are the only people that think he is the MAN ……. what the hell….. give up and let him become the next HITLER or CASTRO …………. TAKE OVER AND LET ALLTHESHEEPS FOLLOW

    tom durkin
    phx az

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  12. Ron

    I grew up in Mesa a nice quite life, got married moved to Glendale had children, moved to Camp Verde, then to Maryvale for 19 years when we moved from Maryvale thank GOD we had Joe Arpaio for our area was getting so rough I was even afraid to get gas on my way to work when it was dark!! If school was out on my way home I would not stop then either!

    When he open tent city I would take my children by there so they could see where they would end up if they chose not to obey the laws! So why should ILLEGALS be any different – have any of you law abiding hard working individuals noticed most of them do not marry their women so they can have their children on access, collect wick, food stamps and what ever other assistance is avilable to them??? How much more can we stand to have taken out of our checks to provide for them??
    Thankfully I can say all of my children are all grown and work and provide for their families.
    I feel we need to support Mr. Arpaio and be glad he has the fortitude to take all the flax and bashing you people give him.

  13. Eric

    All these people that support Arpaio are the same people that supported McCarthyism. All he is doing is diverting the ignorant attention away from the crimes he won’t confront. Not many people talk about the gang shoot out around the same night 50 of our sheriffs raided a library to arrest 3 undocumented workers.
    Feet In 2 Worlds edited this comment for proper language.

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  15. DaleS

    The man is doing what few other elected officials have been doing…HIS JOB! He’s arresting ILLEGAL immigrants simple. I salute him and it’s time common sense and sensible values took the forefront again in this country. Go JOE!

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