Arizona sheriff pulling town's protection

April 19, 2008 at 7:28 PM
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GUADALUPE, Ariz., April 19 (UPI) -- The Arizona town of Guadalupe is going from intense attention from the Maricopa County sheriff's office to no attention at all, officials say.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio had sent a dozen deputies into Guadalupe two weeks ago in a move he called crime suppression -- but that his detractors say was meant to draw media attention to his campaign against illegal immigrants. Arpaio has now announced the town of 2,500 has 180 days to find another law enforcement provider, The Arizona Republic reported Saturday.

"I am disappointed that Sheriff Arpaio chose to issue this letter of cancellation to the media immediately after delivering the letter to town officials," Mayor Rebecca Jimenez said. "This is yet another attempt by Sheriff Arpaio to garner more media attention for himself and his office."

Guadalupe pays about $1.2 million annually for police protection. The Maricopa sheriff's office has provided it for most of the last three decades, the Republic reported.

"I'm sure they're not going to hire a guy like me to come in there and lock up illegals," Arpaio said. "This isn't personal. (Jimenez) just made the comment that she doesn't want us. If they don't want us, why should we stay there?"

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