The man Fox network promotes as America’s toughest Sheriff, Arizona’s Joe Arpaio finds himself in the media dog house over the handling of a police dogs death. The scandal began August 11th when Chandler Arizona K9 Sgt. Tom Lovejoy’s police dog Bandit died in the officers patrol unit during the blistering summer heat.

Initial Fox news reports depicted the canines death was a result of neglect by Sgt. Lovejoy and local hate radio hosts were quick to light the torches of outrage and a media feeding frenzy was unleashed.

Sheriff Arpaio promptly called a news conference to say he would take charge and the people of Maricopa county could rest assured justice would be swift for the rouge cop.

Problem was when the facts started to come out. The “Bad” cop our beloved sheriff was going to take down in one of his famous perp walks, Turned out to be a much decorated veteran with an unblemished service record who had during the course of duties that very day saved a lost wandering child.

The death of the officers K9 partner while a tragic accident con-sequenced by a perfect series of unrelated events caused Sgt. Lovejoy so much initial grief fellow officers advised his wife to hide his gun.

The Sheriff much like our President, Does not cut and run when he has made a decision. He called Fox news and the rest of the local lapdog media to announce the Sgt. was being arrested and booked into his jail on charges related to animal cruelty.

But in this case unlike the poor and homeless or occasional democratic politician who becomes a target of the sheriffs media exploits. Fellow officers on the Chandler police force became vocal about what a good cop the Sgt. was and how they felt the Sheriff went way off the reservation on this one. 

Then the police unions began speaking out on Lovejoys behalf, followed by the states association of Police chiefs who took time to condemn the sheriff for the publicity whore that he is.

As the news cycle flipped and the sheriff began to face negative publicity for the first time in his political life.

He found it convenient to head back east for a few days and let department media flaks issue terse statements defending the decision to perp walk the Sgt. for a misdemeanor offense that could have been resolved with a citation to appear.

While few Arizona political pundits doubt the scandal will dent the sheriffs stratospheric popularity rating too much.

Some point out that of late the undisputed Boss of all things political in Phoenix and much of the state is spending lots of his capitol on losing ventures.

The recent attempt by the Sheriff and his anointed political son district Attorney Andrew Thomas to frame the democratic State Attorney General Terry Goddard in a bribe scandal fell apart during the press conference. Despite considerable efforts on the part of the Sheriff and D.A the case is going south on a daily basis.

The affair is also beginning to seriously darken the reputation of the young D.A. amongst Judges and fellow members of Arizona’s legal community. 

A recent announcement by congressman Rick Renzi that he will retire after the present term in the face of multiple corruption investigations signals the end of the sheriffs influence over Arizona’s congressional delegation.

His other loyalist former Rep. J.D. Hayworth was literaly thrown out of office last November, He refused to concede even while the winner was preparing for freshmen orientation and is now relegated to a gig spewing racial slurs during drive time on local hate radio K.F.Y.I.

The Sheriff did prevail in a libel suite brought by a rival in his last election who accused him of slander for leaking false information alleging the opponent raped a women in his teens.

The Opponent who coincidently also happens to be a highly decorated veteran police officer now heading another department. Unfortunately brought his slander case before a Judge loyal to Arpaio who all but ordered the Jury find in the sheriffs favor, Which left most legal analyst speculating on possible ethics violations for the Judge or the Sheriff risking retrial in a court he does not control.

Still for a man near eighty years old the Boss shows remarkable stamina, and in my opinion is in the same league with the late J.Edgar Hoover when it comes to black bagging political opposition. 

He also retains the ardent support of his mouth breathing base of evangelical neoconservative voters who dominate the Phoenix electorate.

I speculate the “charges” against Sgt.Lovejoy will fade while he makes nice with other rank and file cops across the State.

Then continues forward with rumored plans for a FOX reality show where fans can observe first hand how America’s toughest Sheriff protects them from the legions of riffraff, homeless and undocumented migrants swarming the mean streets of Phoenix. 

P.S Burton

You can e-mail burton@phoenixsentinel.com     

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