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Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Still Far From Being In Compliance With Racial Profiling Order

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is still not in compliance with major parts of a federal court order that came down after a judge found the sheriff’s office had racially profiled Latino motorists.

The order, which U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow first issued in October 2013, requires the sheriff’s office to adopt sweeping changes, including trainings, new technology and protocols to prevent discriminatory policing.

The latest report from Snow’s independent monitoring team found the sheriff’s office is only 61 percent in compliance with the first phase of the order, and 38 percent in compliance with the second phase.

The monitor's report notes the team's experience with court-ordered reform projects is extensive. “We find the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to be unacceptably behind the progress that should have been made by this point in the process,” the report reads.

While the sheriff’s office recently fulfilled the order’s requirement to issue body cameras to its deputies, it is far behind in several other areas, such as a long overdue training for supervisors and an early intervention system to alert supervisors to problematic behavior by their subordinates.

Victoria Lopez of the ACLU of Arizona, which represents plaintiffs who brought the racial profiling lawsuit, said the plaintiffs are frustrated that it will take many more years for the sheriff’s office to reach full compliance at this rate.

“If this very slow pace continues, then we have the prerogative to go to court and ask the court to enforce some kind of a plan or a timeline or some other type of remedy to push the compliance process along in a much faster and effective pace,” Lopez said. 

Lawyers for the sheriff did not respond to a request to comment.

It has been exactly one year since Snow initiated civil contempt of court proceedings against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and four others for violating court orders in this case. Snow could rule on the matter at any time.

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.