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Federal Court Ruling Approved Against Arpaio

Maricopa County will spend tens of millions of dollars over the next several years to meet a federal court ruling against county Sheriff Joe Arpaio. County supervisors approved more than $7.5 million dollars on Wednesday, and the total is projected to keep climbing.

The federal judge ordered the sheriff’s department last year to change its policies and protocols that had led to racial profiling. Those changes include new staffing requirements, reporting procedures, video cameras in patrol vehicles and other measures.

On Wednesday, the supervisors approved the first of what is expected to be many millions over the next several  years to meet the federal court. County leaders are already projecting $14.2 million will have to be spent next fiscal year. New board Chairman Denny Barney said they will have more time next year but finding the $7.7 million in this year’s budget will be a challenge.

"We'll have the time to budget those in, but for now we are really low on contingency and limited reserves, so we are going to have to scramble to find those resources," Barney said.

Barney said the county estimates it will have to spend an additional $10 million a year after fiscal year 2015 to make sure the sheriff’s office meets the court order. Barney said he does not expect the order to last forever, but until it is lifted or the county wins its appeal, Maricopa County will be paying to meet the court’s directive. Barney acknowledged those dollars may have to come out of other county program and services down the road.

Al Macias, former KJZZ news director, is part of an elite class of trusted, veteran journalists who have covered Arizona news for more than 30 years.