Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.
One of the most effective ways to measure a law-enforcement agency’s performance is by the percentage of crimes it solves, known in legal circles as its “clearance rate.” Criminal investigations can be cleared in one of two ways: by arrest or by “exception.” Clearances by exception must meet rigid criteria that the FBI has used for 80 years. Essentially, the perpetrator must be known to the police but cannot be apprehended due to special circumstances such as the suspect’s death. Although the criteria governing exceptional clearance are clear and objective, some law-enforcement agencies skirt the rules of exception to clear cases that do not meet the criteria, essentially declaring unsolved crimes solved to inflate the agency’s clearance rate. Clearing cases that have not been solved deprives crime victims of justice and may compromise public safety.
The Goldwater Institute released a policy brief called Justice Denied which accuses the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office of improperly clearing many of its cases by exception, and calls on the legislature to require law enforcement agencies to post detailed information on clearance rates. Clint Bolick and a rape victim who had her case cleared by exception spoke at a news conference held at the Goldwater Institute.
At the recent two-day hearing at the Arizona State Senate's Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Jonathan Paton, Deputy Chief Paul Chagolla of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office testified repeatedly that there is no felony-warrant crisis in Maricopa County.
The assertion is as disconcerting as it is baffling. Maricopa County has 40,000 outstanding felony warrants - one for every 100 county residents. It has 61 percent of the state's population, but 73 percent of its unserved felony warrants.
Phoenix, Ariz.--Criminal investigations can be cleared in one of two ways: by arrest or by "exception." Clearances by exception must meet clearly defined FBI criteria in place for 80 years. In Maricopa County, Arizona, about three times as many cases that reach the Sheriff's Office are reportedly cleared by exception rather than arrest, which essentially reports unsolved crimes as solved.
Phoenix--Goldwater Institute president and CEO, Darcy Olsen, has been named one of the Phoenix Business Journal's Forty Under 40. The prestigious award honors young leaders in the Phoenix area.
"Arizona is home to many talented young leaders across a spectrum of industries," said Darcy Olsen. "It forecasts a bright future for the Valley and to be named among them is truly an honor."
Phoenix--For the second year in a row, the Goldwater Institute has been named Arizona's "Best Capitol Watchdog" by Arizona Capitol Times readers.
"If this award makes even one shady elected official break out in a cold sweat, we've done our job. Freedom needs a knight, and we're honored to lead the charge," said Darcy Olsen, president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. "There are many extraordinary people working to keep government in check, and we couldn't be happier to be counted among them."
There are reports that the City of Glendale could give the Phoenix Coyotes $15 million a year to help keep them in business. The Goldwater Institute's Carrie Ann Sitren talked with Channel 12 about how far cities can go in helping private businesses.
Over the past week, many have asked why the Goldwater Institute - a policy group that strongly supports effective law-enforcement - would issue a critical report entitled "Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office." The answer: because no government agency, particularly one entrusted with protecting the public, should be immune from public scrutiny.
The Maricopa County Sheriffs Office prides itself on being an agency that provides professional quality law enforcement, detention and support services. But a close look at the office by the Goldwater Institute shows MCSO falls short in these three core areas.
A new policy report, Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office, takes a candid look at what the Sheriffs Office is doing and provides recommendations on how MCSO and other police agencies can provide more effective and efficient law enforcement services.