The race represents Arpaio’s third big political defeat and Sheridan, who was chief deputy under Arpaio’s run of the department, said he believes that his general election opponent, a Democrat who also beat Arpaio back in 2016 to take the sheriff’s spot, is “very beatable,” according to the Central.
According to the Fountain Hills Times, Sheridan was the son of a police officer and spent nearly 40 years at the sheriff’s office before retiring in 2016. Now, after winning the primary spot, he has a chance to take on his former boss’ role.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sheridan’s Family Has A History Law Enforcement
According to Sheridan’s website, Sheridan was the son of a New York City police officer and a stay-at-home mother named Betty Ann. After growing up with an older sister and younger brother in Queens, New York, an 18-year-old Sheridan followed his parents when his father retired as a lieutenant in 1976 and the family moved to Fountain Hills.
A year later, Sheridan signed up to join the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Reserve Deputy Academy, graduating and starting out at District 1. On the website, Sheridan said he, “worked construction during the day and rode at night with legendary deputies like John Schattenburg and Nate Jackson, who had a profound inﬂuence on the rest of his career.”
He rose through the ranks, starting as a detention officer in 1978 and then a deputy sheriff, which was a title he held while attending the Phoenix Police Academy. He continued to work patrol even after making sergeant and then lieutenant, which he said he loved because it was where he could most help the public. He was eventually promoted to chief of patrol and chief of custody, the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board and was asked to become chief deputy by Arpaio in 2010.
Sheridan met his wife, the daughter of another deputy named Stacie, at a “barricade subject incident”; the two have been married 30 years and have two children and two grandchildren. He served 38 years at the office, 24 of which were with former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to Arizona Central. When Arpaio left, Sheridan did too, but he told the Fountain Hills Times that he was unhappy with how the office has been managed since, so he decided to run for sheriff in 2020.
2. As Chief Deputy, Sheridan Introduced the ‘Blue Courage’ Training Program To Officers
Sheridan told the Fountain Hills Times that in 2014, he started an educational program for officers who were part of the MCSO called, “Blue Courage.” The website encourages police officers to implement more of a “guardian” policing style, with documents titled “The Heart & Mind of the Guardian,” versus doing their job in more of a “warrior” policing style.
As Sue Rahr and Stephen K. Rice wrote in a paper commissioned by the Harvard Kennedy School and National Institute of Justice:
One of the key distinguishing characteristics between cops with a guardian mindset and cops who operate with a warrior
The guardian operates as part of the community, demonstrating empathy and employing procedural justice principles during interactions. The behavior of the warrior cop, on the other hand, leads to the perception of an occupying force, detached and separated from the
community, missing opportunities to build trust and confidence based on positive interactions.
The “Blue Courage” program also offers racial bias and sensitivity training to people of other cultures and sexual orientations, mindfulness practice to prevent burnout and unhealthy mental patterns and coaching/mentoring opportunities.
Sheridan told the Times that the program worked because “It is a format deputies will listen to and understand,” he said, adding that calling it “reform” would make officers less likely to participate. According to the Times, he was unable to fully implement the program but said that he would do it if he were elected sheriff.
“It is important for (deputies) to know that leadership has their back,” Sheridan said. “The most important thing is to do the right thing when no one is watching.”
3. Sheridan Was Found In Civil Contempt Of Court
Arpaio and Sheridan, were charged with civil contempt of court relating to an 8-year-long racial profiling lawsuit and Sheridan was alleged to have lied to court monitors as part of a judge’s order stemming from that lawsuit; according to what the ACLU told Arizona Central, the sheriff’s office was told by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow to discreetly collect video evidence, but Sheridan told a subordinate to e-mail all commanders and request their recordings; those recordings were ultimately withheld, the Associated Press reported.
The ACLU’s lawyer alleged that the email was deliberately indiscreet and gave officers time to manipulate video evidence. The lawyer further alleged that Sheridan had lied to a court monitor, telling the monitor that he had forgotten telling his subordinate to send that email.
In 2019, external investigators also accused Sheridan of making “a knowing misrepresentation to the public” when he said he did not find out about a 2011 legal injunction which barred immigrant-targeting-traffic patrols until 2014. The order stemmed from the racial profiling case that ultimately led to Arpaio’s criminal conviction.
Investigators, according to the Associated Press, said they found it unlikely that Sheridan failed to open any emails from Arpaio’s lawyers on the matter: “Chief Deputy Sheridan’s testimony and statements regarding unopened emails, meetings he does not recall attending, ignorance of an issue that garnered front page press reporting and public interest, and his unawareness of the preliminary injunction, is implausible.”
Sheridan told the Associated Press that taking the job as Arpaio’s chief deputy was a mistake: “I should have told him no. I should have been happy running the jail system,” he said, adding that doing so could have protected his reputation.
4. Sheridan Came Out Of Retirement To Run For Sheriff
Sheridan, on his website, said that he believes he will be able to give back to Maricopa as the county’s sheriff
Sheridan said he was also motivated by unrest, calls to defund the police and what he described as “a severe lack of leadership in law enforcement today,” the Fountain Hills Times reported.
Without them there would be complete chaos. The problem is they are the most visible part of government and the frustrations of people are taken out on them. It has never been this bad and they take it very personally, they got into (law enforcement) to help people, they never started out with the idea to harm anyone. No one wants to shoot and kill someone; it is a very emotional thing.
On issues, Sheridan said he supports people’s right to protest, but draws the line at rock-throwing or other means of causing damage; without getting specific, he told the paper that he would give crowds an opportunity to dispand on their own before using a method of crowd dispersion used in other countries. He also said he would not enforce laws that violate the constitution and considers mask laws enacted by mayors to be unconstitutional orders.
According to his website, Sheridan said his mission is “To enforce state law and provide the finest public safety services to the great citizens of Maricopa County while protecting the judiciary, executing orders of the courts, supporting our law enforcement partners and providing for the care, custody and control to all incarcerated inmates.”
5. Sheridan Beat Controversial Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio In A Republican Primary
With more than 6,000 votes, Sheridan was declared the victor of the Republican primary by the Associated Press, marking the third political defeat in recent history. An unofficial tally shows that Sheridan just eeked by the former sheriff with 156,396 votes to Arpaio’s 150,116.
Unlike Arpaio, who raised $12 million mainly from out-of-state donors in 2016 and raised about $656,000 at the beginning of the 2020 cycle in his bid for sheriff, Sheridan had raised only about $45,000 for his sheriff campaign by February 2020, according to the Phoenix New Times.
Sheridan, however, touted his diplomacy and lack of showmanship as assets, telling the Phoenix New Times, “I am not Joe Arpaio. I am not in this for the media attention. I don’t enjoy getting in front of a camera like Arpaio did. He lived for that. I don’t,” he said. “I am a consensus builder.Arpaio tended to alienate others in law enforcement in the Valley.”
Arpaio had a long and troubled history as sheriff, instituting chain gangs and forcing inmates to sleep in tents when the heat was in triple digits, according to the Associated Press. Other activities that led him into hot water, include allegations of immigration crackdowns which a judge ruled were operated through racial profiling Latinos in traffic stops. The Associated Press also reported that Arpaio also cost taxpayers $147 million in legal bills and “botched the investigations of more than 400 sex-crime complaints made to his office.”
The series of missteps led Arpaio to lose his sheriff’s seat to Democrat and retired Phoenix police sergeant, Paul Penzone, in 2016. Then in 2017, Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt relating to the 2011 court order requiring him to halt immigration patrols, which he refused to stop doing; Trump, of whom Arpaio had express unwavering support, pardoned Arpaio in 2017.
Sheridan, according to the Associated Press, said he wants to do things his own way and not Arpaio’s: “I am a veteran of the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I can run the sheriff’s office as Jerry Sheridan, not in the way another sheriff wants to work.”
Arpaio, who also came in third in a 2018 senate primary, has said he is done with politics: “I’m a little shocked losing,” Arpaio said, according to Arizona Central. “This will be the last time I run for office.