State Capitol News
8:11 am
Wed May 14, 2008

Governor creates felon task force

Phoenix, AZ – Governor Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday she is creating a special task force to find wanted felons. But as Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer reports, that isn't the whole story.

The governor directed the Department of Public Safety to help
find nearly 60,000 people who have been charged with or convicted
of felonies. But she is funding the effort with $1.6 million
taken from a grant previously given to Maricopa County Sheriff
Joe Arpaio to help arrest those involved in smuggling illegal
immigrants. The sheriff said he sees a conspiracy.

(Your governor, your mayor of Phoenix, your board of supervisors,
a member, Mary Rose Wilcox, and activists who want this to be an
open border state are trying to stop us dead in our tracks in the
fight against illegal immigration.)

Arpaio has made a name for himself with high profile crime
suppression sweeps, flooding an area with deputies who stop
people for minor violations and then checking if they are in this
country legally. Gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer said
those sweeps played some role in the decision to divert the
money.

(It's part of the whole situation that we're looking at. To try
to say it's 15 percent or 2 percent, I don't know how to do that.
I wouldn't rule it out as a factor. You can't be that oblivious
to what's going on in the world.)

House Speaker Jim Weiers said Napolitano's decision may not be
legal and could result in a lawsuit.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.