News Column

Calif. Sheriff Distances Himself From 'Sheriff Joe'

Aug. 22, 2012

Glenda Anderson, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman on Tuesday said he agrees with some of controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration policies and disagrees with others.

"There're a lot of differences between Joe Arpaio and I," he said.

He sought to clarify his stand following a flurry of criticism for comments he made in support of Arpaio's views on immigration at a Support Rural America forum held in Ukiah Saturday. Allman hosted the forum of five rural Northern California and Oregon sheriffs. It was sponsored by the Constitutional Sheriffs Association, of which Allman and other forum participants are members. Arpaio also is involved with the organization.

Allman said the views he shares with Arpaio are limited. Arpaio has been sued by the federal government over alleged racial profiling, something Allman said he would never tolerate in his department.

He said he also finds unacceptable Arpaio's treatment of inmates, which includes forced labor, installing them in tent cities and making them wear pink underwear, according to news reports.

Allman does agree that the federal government should pay for all of the costs of incarcerating those in the country illegally. Currently, the funding it provides covers only a fraction of the costs, Allman said.

He also believes that immigration officials should be stricter about issuing holds on illegal immigrants who are arrested on criminal charges. Immigration holds prevent suspects from making bail and disappearing before their cases are resolved, Allman said.

He said he is supportive of immigrants who are trying to become citizens through legal channels and who stay out of trouble.

But those convicted of crimes do not have his sympathy.

Allman said illegal immigrants run many of the larger commercial marijuana operations and others have been involved in robberies and homicides.

"They are not the ones trying to become legal citizens," Allman said.

Source: (c)2012 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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