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United States' Investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office

General Material
Published Date
December, 2011

The Department of Justice opened an investigation of the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office (MCSCO) in March 2008. This letter highlights factual and legal findings, broadly describes the investigation of MCSO's practices, provides an outline of the factual findings in sufficient detail to give fair notice of the violations committed, briefly discusses how those factual findings relate to MCSO's violations of federal law, and outlines the remedial measures MCSO must undertake to comply with the law. The investigation found use of excessive force against Latinos, reduction of policing services to the Latino community, and gender and/or national origin bias by failing to adequately investigate sex crimes.

Following a description of the investigation into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. DOJ outlines remedial measures that should be taken to ensure sustained commitment to long-term structural, cultural, and institutional change. These include: (1) training for deputies on constitutional policing; (2) Special Operations and Specialized Units;  (3) data collection and risk management to enable MCSO to supervise, manage, and intervene, when appropriate; (4) a comprehensive complaint, investigation, and disciplinary system to enable it to hold officers accountable when they violate policy and/or the law; (5) comprehensive language access program for its deputies and officers who encounter low-English proficiency individuals; and (6) community outreach, specifically with Maricopa County's Latino residents.