Listen to sheriff Hendershott call DPS and ask them to arrest a guy wearing pink underware for impersonating police officer:

Arresting Joe Arizona reveals absurdity of Arpaio and Co.

By Richard Ruelas
Republic columnist
Nov. 22, 2002

The state police hadn't exactly hopped on the report of a man-at-large wearing pink underwear, so David Hendershott, second-in-command at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, dialed his cellular phone again.

"DPS duty office," said the dispatcher with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

"This is Chief Hendershott again. OK, our two detectives have this guy, and they're going to be standing by for you outside the restaurant."

Then there was silence.

Hendershott had just called the special operations unit of the DPS to report this crime. The actor who played Joe Arizona, the spokesman for the racetracks' gambling initiative, was campaigning downtown wearing a DPS shirt and pink underwear.

"Were you the guy I just talked to?" Hendershott asked, according to a tape-recording of the phone call. "No," the dispatcher said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Hendershott apologized, then went through the details of the crime in a very serious tone, as if he had just solved the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

"I'm over here at Tom's Tavern at First Avenue and Washington, and there's a guy in a DPS uniform shirt with DPS patches on, with a gold badge and a campaign hat wearing pink underwear. OK?"

"Oh," the dispatcher said.

"No kidding," Hendershott said. "It's your shirt. He said he bought it at a uniform store. But I'm certain he didn't buy the patches."

At this, the dispatcher began laughing loudly.

Hendershott pressed ahead. "Anyway, we have two Sheriff's Office detectives out with the guy right now, and the last (guy) I talked to said there would be a detective coming down here to take care of it."

The dispatcher composed himself. This was the top brass of a law enforcement agency after all. This had to be taken seriously. He got the location and address again.

"Tom's Tavern," he said. "Right," Hendershott replied. "He's standing there in your uniform shirt with a badge, a campaign hat, wearing pink underwear."

The dispatcher started laughing again. "We forgot to tell you guys," he said, "We just changed our uniform. That's our new attire."

"Oh, I see," Hendershott said, getting the joke. "So it's a little more comfortable uniform you're wearing."

Then Hendershott snapped back into crime-fighter mode.

"You know, I think he deserves a real nice citation."

Two DPS officers ended up going to Tom's Tavern. They quickly decided there was no crime. Probably because it was Halloween. Probably because no one in his right mind would have mistaken actor Nick Tarr for an actual officer of the law.

But Hendershott wasn't satisfied. After the DPS left, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office ended up writing Tarr a nice citation, charging him with a Class 1 misdemeanor for impersonating a DPS officer.

Tarr is supposed to be in court two weeks from today. But so far, the Sheriff's Office hasn't filed a complaint against him.

Strange, since deputies held him for more than an hour trying to find a law he was breaking.

The Sheriff's Office failed in convincing another police agency that Tarr was committing a crime. Maybe it realized it would also fail to convince a prosecutor, much less a judge.

Joe Arizona was trying to get votes by wearing pink underwear. He ended up showing that Emperor Joe Arpaio's top brass has no clothes.

Reach Ruelas at or at (602) 444-8473.