Sheriff brings sweep back to Mesa - East Valley Tribune: News

Sheriff brings sweep back to Mesa

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Posted: Monday, July 14, 2008 5:09 pm | Updated: 11:47 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent dozens of his deputies and volunteer posse members into Mesa on Monday for an “unannounced” immigration sweep through the city.

Slideshow: Immigration sweeps

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent dozens of his deputies and volunteer posse members into Mesa on Monday for an “unannounced” immigration sweep through the city.

Slideshow: Immigration sweeps

SPECIAL REPORT: 'Reasonable Doubt' examines Sheriff Joe Arpaio's human smuggling unit and its hidden costs

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office staging area, immigration sweeps, Scottsdale Rd., Curry Rd., Tempe Town Lake, McKellips Rd., McDowell Rd., 202, 101, Pima Rd., Hayden Rd., Map by Gabriel Utasi/TRIBUNE

The operation resulted in 14 arrests, including 10 illegal immigrants, Arpaio announced during a late-afternoon news conference.

During sweeps, deputies use minor traffic offenses as probable cause to make stops and question vehicle occupants about their legal status.

The sheriff’s office conducted its sweep in Mesa from a county island inside Tempe, near Loop 202 and Scottsdale Road.

As deputies processed the suspects they had arrested, on the other side of a dusty lot, Arpaio told the assembled reporters and television crews that he wanted to thank his critics for raising the profile of the illegal-immigration operations.

“I’m not angry. I’m just commending all these officials for helping me get the message out,” Arpaio said.

Among others, the sheriff mentioned Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether Arpaio’s deputies use racial profiling to make arrests. Arpaio also specifically brought up Mesa police Chief George Gascón, who has traded barbs with the sheriff in the past.

Monday’s sweep was far different from the last operation in Mesa on June 26 and 27, during which deputies apprehended 28 illegal immigrants.

During that sweep, hundreds of protesters showed up at the command post near the city’s downtown, along with more than 100 Mesa police officers assigned to keep the demonstrations peaceful.

Arpaio complained about the huge number of Mesa police officers who responded to the previous operation.

The sheriff’s office notified Mesa police of the sweep at 2 p.m. Monday. In a news release, Mesa police announced only that they “will continue to monitor this situation in compliance with our express goal to ensure public order and public safety.”

Neither Mesa nor Tempe police departments planned to send officers to monitor demonstrators.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said he wasn’t surprised to hear that the sheriff’s office had returned for another sweep, and had no problem with Arpaio doing so.

“I’m not going to get into a Sheriff Joe-versus-us deal,”

Smith said. “We have determined what we can do best. We stated that through our immigration policy. We won’t tell other agencies how to conduct their business.”

Arpaio refused to provide details regarding how long the sweep will continue, or when and where the next such operation might take place.

“This is a big county,” Arpaio said. “We’re going to move around a little bit.”

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