By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Joe Arpaio is an eighty-year-old Arizona sheriff dedicated to illegal immigration enforcement and lowering the recidivism rate in the state of Arizona. He has been reelected by the citizens of Maricopa County seven times. The controversial sheriff is either loved or hated by most voters because of his extreme stance on illegal immigration and law enforcement. Maricopa County offenders are not inclined to return to Tent City where inmates perform chain-gang style hard-labor and are dressed in pink underwear.

On April 15, 2012, an alert postal worker in Flagstaff, Arizona intercepted an explosive material laden parcel addressed to Arpaio’s Phoenix office.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time high-profile officials have been targeted. March was a busy month for open season hunters of law enforcement officials.

March 19, 2013, El Paso County, Colorado Corrections Chef, Tom Clements was gunned down on his front doorstep. He was killed by an unmonitored, recently paroled suspect, who removed his ankle bracelet. The suspect’s life ended when he fled to Texas where he was hunted by police and shot at the conclusion of a high speed chase.

Also, in March, 2013, Kaufman County, Tex. district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were murdered in their home; two months earlier, assistant district attorney Mark Hasse was killed as well. In April, Kim Williams [46], the wife of former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams, was arrested and charged with capital murder after police investigators found a threatening email on the D.A.’s computer from the suspect when his home was searched.

In West Virginia, Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, known for his pursuit of the drug trade in that state, was murdered by an assailant in broad daylight while he ate lunch in his car. Mingo had only been on the police force for three months when he was killed. In that short time he had already started a campaign to crack down on the illegal prescription drug epidemic in southern Virginia.

Initially, retaliation for Mingo’s drug investigations was suspected as the motivation for his slaying, but 37-year-old Tennis Melvin Maynard was arrested for the murder after a police pursuit that ended in a shoot-out that left him wounded. The investigation confirmed Maynard, who is allegedly mentally ill, purchased a gun without a permit. His mental health history prohibited Maynard from purchasing firearms. No motive was found in the investigation.

At the outset, White supremacy gangs were suspected in the early spring attacks on high authority figures, but it was not proven.

This wasn’t the first time Arpaio’s office received a suspicious package. Suspicious packages have been addressed to the sheriff’s office, but this was the first package containing an explosive device.

“Of course you worry…when you convict people, the victim has to be somewhat concerned. I’m a little concerned about my family,” Arpaio said at a news conference. “I didn’t ask for all these threats.”

Living in an era where mentally ill offenders can purchase weapons and antagonism is rampant is dangerous. As a result, high-profile authorities have begun instituting increased security measures.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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