“That’s unacceptable”: Maricopa County Sheriff cracking down on threats against officials

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone says there were threats against several officials throughout the election process.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 2:54 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2022 at 3:34 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone held a presser on Monday afternoon, discussing threats made to election officials, including one that forced Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates to be temporarily moved to a safe location. Penzone says there were threats against several officials throughout the election process. “Have there been threats? Absolutely. Has it been against any one singular individual? No, those threats were cast broad and wide. They were irresponsible, arrogant. They were selfish, and they were criminal,” said Penzone. “Our investigators are hard at work to determine who’s responsible for these types of threats and what the capability is for them to carry out the potential threats.”

Penzone added many of the threats against Arizona election officials came from people out of state. “We do not need people from out of state to tell us how to run an election or what elected officials are deserving to be in their positions,” he said. “You don’t get to threaten the people that run this state. That’s unacceptable, and we’re not going to tolerate it.”

No arrests have been made regarding the threats. However, a threat was made against Gates on social media, which had deputies move him to an unknown location on Election Day. “Chairman Gates was relocated for one night. I told him I thought it was in his best interest for one reason: I’m always going to err on the side of overreacting to keep people safe,” said Penzone. “Until I felt that our detectives had a chance to get their arms around any potential threats that may do harm to him or his family, I was not going to allow for them to be in harm’s way.”

Penzone previously said his department increased security at the election’s office as ballots continued being counted. He said the added security was just in case any issues arose. Last week, a small group gathered outside the election’s office, but everyone was peaceful.

Election officials say all the ballots have been counted in Maricopa County, and the attorney general race is going to an automatic recount.