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Latino Daily News

Tuesday January 11, 2011

Move Over Arpaio, Arizona has New Sheriff in the Spotlight

Move Over Arpaio, Arizona has New Sheriff in the Spotlight

Photo: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

For some time now, one of Arizona’s most notable lawmen has been Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but after Saturday’s shooting in Tucson, another sheriff has stepped into the spotlight.

In his first press conference after the shooting that left 20 injured or dead, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was blunt in his comments when he stated that right-wing rhetoric, full of anger, bigotry, and hate has made Arizona the “mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

AOL News has already dubbed Dupnik the “anti-Joe Arpaio,” and it’s not the first time the two have been compared. Last year, Dupnik refused to enforce Arizona’s new immigration laws Arpaio had pretty much become the poster boy for.

What makes Dupnik so different from Arpaio isn’t so much his stance on the issues, it’s his honesty and bluntness on the issues. In fact, in 1981, Dupnik, understaffed and overworked, flat out told the people of Pima County to arm themselves, because the police has failed to adequately protect their residents, saying, “Not only are things not good, they are going to get worse. For those who are so inclined, it’s time to start protecting yourselves.”

However, the “rivalry” the media has created between Arpaio and Dupnik is really not there between the two men, partially because neither of them ever speaks ill of the other – at least not publicly. Dupnik says he disagrees with Arpaio in terms of resources, not ideology.

Dupnik’s recent anger during that press conference on Sunday has seemingly caused the media to polarize the two sheriffs, though, and calling Arizona the “Tombstone of the United States” has likely ruffled the feathers of Arpaio and his advocates.

“He’s not bashful, but I’ve always found him to be totally professional and well informed,” said Republican Grant Woods, the former state attorney general. “He’s not just making comments haphazardly, these are deeply felt and well-reasoned, I’m sure.”

“Given that he’s been doing this all of this life, he’s not afraid to say what he thinks. He doesn’t view himself as a politician,” said Woods. “He views himself as a law enforcement officer. On matters ranging from use of local police to the availability of guns, he’s certainly voiced his views.”