At home, Sheriff Arpaio faces his own diet discipline
[Maricopa County, AZ]

At home, Sheriff Arpaio faces his own diet discipline
[Maricopa County, AZ]

By Bonnie Law, The Arizona Republic
March 21, 2001 Wednesday, Final Chaser
Copyright 2001 Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.
The Arizona Republic
March 21, 2001 Wednesday, Final Chaser

(MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.) -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the man behind the pink underwear for inmates, Tent City and chain gangs, and the man reputed to be "America's Toughest Sheriff" admits he always wanted to be a police officer.

By age 21, after a three-year stint in the Army, he realized his goal. He worked as a police officer in Washington, D.C., and in Las Vegas -- "long enough to lock up Elvis Presley," Arpaio boasts. He says he stopped Presley in 1957 for driving 100 mph.

Arpaio, serving his third elected term as sheriff, said he's "proud that the people believe in me."

Before his first election as sheriff in 1993, Arpaio was with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for 27 years.

A film about Arpaio's career is in the works. "They hope to have it on the silver screen within two years," he said.

Arpaio and his wife, Ava, have been married for 44 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.

The Arpaios, who have lived in the Valley since 1978, have done extensive remodeling to their Scottsdale home and property, including adding a barbecue pit in their back yard. However, the sheriff concedes that he knows nothing about cooking and has never so much as boiled water in his life.

Because he gives a lot of speeches, averaging one a day, he and Ava rarely eat dinner at home. On occasion, you might spy him at Luby's. However, Arpaio said he's watching his weight and is careful about what and where he eats. The sheriff said he's lost 40 pounds in the past year and a half.

Arpaio says he doesn't have any hobbies because he's always working.

However, after some mild interrogation, he confessed that he likes going to movies. The last film he saw was Traffic, about drug trafficking.

He also enjoys watching news shows on MSNBC.

What three things do you always have in your refrigerator?

Water, milk, and fruits and vegetables.

What's your favorite comfort food?

I love calamari and linguine. That's my favorite dish, but I'm not supposed to eat it.

What was your most memorable meal?

Probably in the jail when I ate the ostrich casserole surprise. A lady with an emu farm gave me all these ostriches. I had the posse lassoing the ostriches. We processed the meat and fed it to the inmates. Really, though, the most memorable meal was when I slept in the tents with a thousand inmates and got up at 4 a.m. with the inmates and ate the food.

What food can't you live without?

I am living without it -- that's why I'm living. What I miss the most are macaroni, meatballs, that type of thing.

Where do you go in your home to feel completely relaxed and just think?

I have about a 3,000-square-foot house so I have one room in the back that I use as my office. I go back there.

If money and time were no object, what dream project would you do to your home?

Probably nothing. I've done everything I can to the house.

What was the last thing you bought for your home?

I expanded the house with a new garage.

What was the most unusual thing you've ever decorated your home with?

Probably me. I've received some metal sculptures of me that some friends had made. They're in my office at home -- which is torture, because I have to look at myself.

What tool have you purchased that you've never used?

Rakes. I'm never home, so I hire somebody to do my yardwork.

What have you lost in your home that you never found and would love to get back?

I've lost my keys now and then.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you?

If I move into another house, which is always a possibility, I think the new owners will say, "Boy, this family really took care of this house. Look at all they've done." It is an unusual custom house with a sunken living room surrounded by a walk. It has lots of amenities. That's probably what they'd say.

Full story: ...

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