My View

By Don Sorchych | August 27, 2008 Don Sorchych

• Crime suppression/traffic enforcement
• Publisher's picks

On deep deadline day, Tuesday, Aug. 19, I joined a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office crime suppression/traffic enforcement operation as an observer. I had received a call from MCSO Deputy Chief Brian Sands a few days earlier asking if I would like to join in the operation. The answer, of course, was, “Hell yes,” followed by a groan about the 5 A.M. start time.

Arriving at the Cave Creek substation, I was greeted with glances, followed by zero eye contact until a posse member greeted me. Then Sgt. Manny Madrid introduced himself and said he was in charge of the operation and I would be riding with him.

I didn’t expect a warm welcome since Sonoran News has been critical of Joe Arpaio in the past. Of late, however, we have praised Joe for his aggressive enforcement of the law, especially dealing with the illegal alien issue.

Instructions were given to the crowded room of deputies, all wearing body armor. The team was told it would be a “zero tolerance” operation and Madrid told me later that meant handcuffs, arrests and vehicle towing. Those arrested would be transported downtown after booking.

Madrid and his men are part of the Human Smuggling Unit, stationed on Durango Street. He said all of the unit members speak Spanish.

edit cartoonThere were 16 members of the HSU, and two posse members for support. As the operation developed, I saw a couple of familiar faces of locally assigned deputies.

The only restriction placed on me was to avoid taking pictures of the faces of the HSU team since they are undercover.

Madrid and I were in an unmarked car as were several other deputies. Most were in standard patrol cars or SUVs. Traffic stops ranged from Carefree Highway and 33rd Street to Cave Creek Road and Lone Mountain Road and as far east as Desert Mountain.

Often by the time we got to a stop, deputies already had handcuffs on people with criminal violations and had called a tow truck. Then posse members, or local deputies, came to take the prisoners to a holding cell at the Cave Creek Station. Others had already been given a citation and were driving away.

Madrid remarked his men weren’t making it easy for him since we were miles away from the stop in most cases. The efficiency of the team was remarkable and from everything I saw, professional.

In the four-hour period, there were 46 traffic stops and 16 arrests. Four were U.S. citizens arrested on warrants for felony larceny, driving with license suspended and drug possession. Twelve of those arrested were illegal aliens subject to deportation. Three of the twelve had state charges pending against them.

At one stop the deputy said the driver showed a social security card. When asked if it was his, he said, “That is what I use for my work.” “But is it yours,” he was asked. He replied, “It is what I use for work.” It wasn’t his. Maybe it is yours.

It is well known that this type of enforcement looks for violations of Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, titled “Transportation.”

Madrid showed me his laminated “cheat sheet,” which listed dozens of infractions under Title 28.

Although critics of Arpaio’s traffic stops most often list cracked windshields, defective tail lights or headlights and such as being chicken and an excuse to target illegals, Arpaio has a ready answer. It is violations of law; if you don’t like it, change the laws.

It is instructive to go online and take a look at Title 28. If you don’t want to be stopped, it is necessary to do pre-drive inspections after seeing how many ways you can be in violation.
In my limited exposure I saw no evidence whatsoever of profiling. And questions along those lines of Sgt. Madrid were met with a forceful, “We don’t profile!”

I believe him.

The letters we have received, and have seen in other media, from people who assert MCSO is profiling, have seen a traffic stop involving Mexicans and are quick to allege profiling.
I wish law enforcement could profile; the efficiency of being able to do that would improve identification and deportation of illegals by orders of magnitude.

In fact, the FBI is considering profiling to identify potential terrorists. And the illegal alien threat to our sovereignty, culture and rule of law is as important to the future of this country as is the defeat of terrorism.

Anyway, thanks to Deputy Chief Brian Sands and Sgt. Manny Madrid for an enlightening experience. And thanks to Joe too.

Publisher’s picks

Local primary elections have mostly unopposed candidates. But the Arizona Corporations Commission has eight candidates and you can vote for three. My choice would be Rick Fowlkes, Joseph Hobbs and Keith Swapp. These three candidates share a skepticism about alternative forms of energy, while current members are gung ho about expensive wind and solar power. They need to slow down the process before the fad driven commission gets carried away and prices our energy beyond our means.

For the Desert Ridge Justice of the Peace the answer is anybody but Clancy Jane. Of the remaining two I give Paul Henderson the edge.

In Scottsdale isn’t it time to retire Mary Manross? Not only has she done a lousy job but she is a Democrat to boot. If you think municipal elections aren’t partisan, I have a bridge to sell you.

Vote for Jim Lane and down the road you will be glad you did.

For council, I’m partial to Tom Giller and Nan Nesvig. These two will give Tony Nelssen and Bob Littlefield a hand in reclaiming Scottsdale from the Manrossian years of pie in the sky and institutionalizing “diversity,” in plain English, affirmative action.