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Russ Skinner appointed as new Maricopa County sheriff

By Greg Hahne
Published: Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 2:55pm
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 2:56pm

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Thursday morning appointed Chief Deputy Russ Skinner to replace Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone, who resigned in January.

The decision was not unanimous. 

Skinner has worked in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for over 33 years and served as interim sheriff since Penzone’s departure. He says he sought the job to keep some stability in the office. 

“Especially with an election cycle coming up, major events coming up and keep continuity with the agency and put the employees minds at ease as well as the communities minds at ease," he said. 

Sheriff Russ Skinner
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Russ Skinner

Board chair Jack Sellers, a Republican, said supervisors were looking for someone to provide stability during what could be a contentious year. 

“We're going to be running three elections this year. We need someone who has the respect of the people in the county Sheriff's Office and also the respect of the other law enforcement agencies in Maricopa County," Sellers said. 

Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat on the board, voted against appointing Skinner, who until recently was a registered Republican.

State law required the board to pick a Democrat to replace Penzone.

Skinner changed political parties last year, a day after Penzone announced his intent to resign.

"I am bipartisan in the sense that I'm a law enforcement professional and I will do what it needs to be done to uphold the law, uphold the Constitution, and make sure that we keep Maricopa County safe and moving forward," Skinner said. 

Skinner did not say whether he will run for the office in November. 

Law Enforcement