Short Take: Cool Gig In Maricopa County

Some people believe that consent decrees are a crucial mechanism for ending police impropriety. I’m not one of them. Granted, federal investigations that precede them tend to confirm claims of unconstitutional policing, which makes for good newspaper articles and solid evidence to demand change. But change never seems to happen as a result of them, and the consent decrees that follow make us feel as if we’re accomplishing something, until the next scandal or tragedy, the next investigation and the next consent decree.

But then, it’s not as if consent decrees aren’t good for anybody.

Demoralized law enforcement officers in Arizona’s most populous county are leaving in droves while a controversial police monitor gets millions of taxpayer dollars to scrutinize their agency over allegations of racial discrimination, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. Maricopa County is paying a politically-connected firm called Warshaw and Associates big bucks to reprimand the sheriff’s department for immigration enforcement as permitted by key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. So far, the county has paid Warshaw $10.9 million to oversee the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), a force of about 700 deputies.

Where there’s money to be made, there will be someone to make it.

To keep the taxpayer dollars flowing into its coffers, Warshaw must claim the agencies it monitors have work to do. In MCSO’s case, Warshaw asserts the law enforcement agency is only 40% compliant with the 2013 court order to end racial profiling. The records obtained by Judicial Watch show that Warshaw bills Maricopa County an average of $2.7 million annually, which breaks down to $227,000 per month or $7,000 per day. The documents also state that the county has approved over $5 million for MCSO monitoring in 2018, an increase of more than $2 million allocated for the cause in 2017. The county’s original contract with Warshaw runs for at least three years and can go much longer so the cash will keep flowing as long as Warshaw determines MCSO discriminates against minorities.

Does Maricopa County have a terrible history of its treatment of immigrants, and anybody with darkish skin, a vowel at the end of their name and an accent? Can you say “Crazy Joe”? But when they finally voted in a new sheriff, they elected Paul Penzone, and he’s advocated for the protection of immigrants. So what’s Warshaw doing?

This appears to be a racket that is fleecing taxpayers nationwide under the auspice of police discrimination. Warshaw has also made large sums monitoring law enforcement agencies in New York, California, Michigan and Louisiana. A local newspaper report in Niagara Falls, New York wrote that hiring Warshaw and Associates to oversee the city police department cost taxpayers more than $400,000 and produced no tangible results whatsoever. A northern California news article published last year disclosed that Oakland paid Warshaw $6.2 million, yet misconduct continues. When Oakland hired Warshaw in 2014 to oversee its police department the former chief called it a “travesty of justice” because Warshaw “rules by fear and intimidation.” The former Oakland Police chief also predicted that there was going to be a mass exodus from the department because of the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that Warshaw creates. This appears to be what’s occurring in Maricopa County.

But why is Warshaw getting the gig, if it’s just a racket creating “problems” that it solves by making everyone miserable and producing no tangible results?

Warshaw and Associates is owned by Robert S. Warshaw, a former chief of police in Rochester New York and Statesville North Carolina who served in the Bill Clinton administration. In 1997 Clinton named Warshaw, who also held government positions in Atlanta and Miami, Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The White House announcement said Warshaw had a national reputation for implementing community policing strategies. Personal connections seem to play a key role in landing the lucrative police monitor contracts. A Niagara Falls news article connects the dots, writing that when Andrew Cuomo got elected New York governor Warshaw was selected to be police monitor. Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor, Robert Duffy, was Warshaw’s deputy chief in Rochester before Warshaw chose him to be chief when Clinton tapped him.

After all, if you want to make those consent decrees count, who better to hire than a guy who has both law enforcement cred and the endorsement of the forces of wokeness. And isn’t Bob Warshaw entitled to make a decent living, even if consent decrees don’t do squat to fix police impropriety?

11 thoughts on “Short Take: Cool Gig In Maricopa County

  1. Skink

    No one should come away from this post thinking the Maricopa situation or the manner of oversight are singular, or even rare. I’ve been involved with about a dozen consent decrees, mostly needing to poke my briefcase in-and-out, and every one of them was a bad idea from start to what never seems to be a finish. I know of at least one that has been ongoing for more than 20 years. The issue? Jail overcrowding, where a new jail was built and has been under capacity for at least 10 years.

    The decrees are really just settlement agreements. To no surprise, they are usually the result of lawsuits brought by “special interest” law firms masquerading as the voice of the downtrodden. They pull huge piles of cash by billing hourly while monitoring nothing but their own success.

    The only way I would advise a client to enter into one of these dopey things is if I get to be the monitor. Then again, there’s that ethics thing.

    1. SHG Post author

      And yet, my dear (and, for the most part, quite smart) friends keep telling me about the virtues of consent decrees, and that I just don’t get it. By the way, I’m available as monitor for your next decree, usually vig applies.

  2. Ross

    Cuomo et al are supposed to be “progressives” who believe government action is the solution to most problems. I find it shocking, in the Captain Renault sense, that they would find it acceptable to enrich their buddies in this manner, rather than putting some heartless bureaucrat in an office to oversee compliance.

  3. Pedantic Grammar Police

    Just another example of the fact that government is a scam. It is designed to take money from people who work and give it to those who don’t, and it does so very effectively. Some of that money goes to people who really need help; this is a side effect.

      1. Pedantic Grammar Police

        It depends on how you define work. Getting into a feeding position at the public trough is difficult, but is it work? If Warshaw is a worker, then so was Al Capone.

  4. JimEd

    This government wont run itself
    Police must have experts top shelf
    All the dollars we spend
    On fictitious back end
    Helps banish the sense of our self

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