In recognition of National Police Week and the upcoming 2024 election cycle, we sat down with Sheriff Paul Penzone, CSSE member and Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, to recognize the work of law enforcement officers and the sacrifices they make, including their contribution to keeping our elections safe and secure.
Can you describe your current or past role in law enforcement?
I have served for nearly three decades in law enforcement in municipal, county, and federal task force roles. Additionally, I have considerable experience in investigations, drug trafficking, and conspiracy task force work, and I led a team focused on solving cold cases and apprehending wanted fugitives.
With respect to your law enforcement experience and role as a member of CSSE, why do you think it is important that our elections are free, fair, and secure?
Our judicial, legislative, and executive branches are all dependent on a fundamentally sound, transparent, and free democracy. Furthermore, elections are the foundation of a free society.
What value have you observed in partnerships between law enforcement and election officials? Feel free to share an example of how you have worked with election officials in your role in law enforcement.
In Arizona, the elections have been under attack. The bipartisan efforts and healthy relationship between the elected officials – Sheriff, Recorder, and Board of Supervisors – was the glue that kept the election process together while under duress.
Can you share some of your proudest accomplishments in your law enforcement experience where you feel you supported and advanced democracy?
Providing counsel, intelligence, staff, and resources to combat the threat of those intent on destroying the integrity and infrastructure of the election system. We were the local, national, and international focus of the last two elections, and we led by example through our planning, teamwork, and execution.
Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to share about National Police Week?
Law enforcement represents the greatest attributes of sacrifice and selfless service for a free nation. Those who empower us must know there is no place for politics in policing. We must stay true to our oath of office and the Constitution with respect to the very laws we enforce. That commitment will always stand the test of time.
Learn more about the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections here.