August is Child Support Awareness Month and, according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “is an appropriate time to arrest those who have not paid their child support.” The Sheriff’s office this past Saturday arrested 49 men on suspicion of being deadbeat parents in a sweep called “Operation Don’t Be a Deadbeat.” After exiting a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office bus, these men who were hiding their faces, were paraded in front of news cameras in an attempt to shame them for failure to pay child support.
Sheriff Arpaio stated it was the department’s goal to serve 600 arrest warrants on Saturday, and the sweeps are made to send a “message to everybody else that they should be paying their child support.” Arpaio conducted a brief news conference in the parking lot of the Park Central mall on Central Avenue. “We have economic bad times,” he said. “Usually, it’s the mother that has to work two, three jobs to get enough money to pay for food. And yet you have these dads (who assume) no responsibility and do not pay their child support.”
These roundups are conducted annually by the Sheriff’s department and usually 100 volunteer posse members and deputies participate. The program began in 2002, and, according to Sheriff Arpaio, since that time, 1,700 deadbeat parents have been arrested and $14 million have been give back to families.
An admonishment was given to parents who are not paying their child-support payments. “I’m asking all those that have not paid their child support to surrender,” said Arpaio. He then added, “Call our office. Be man enough or woman enough to turn yourselves in and work something out to pay the child support.”