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Sheriff creates 'Mugshot of the Day' online voting

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona institutes a "Mugshot of the Day" on his office's Web site, so that anyone can mock those who have been arrested.

You know they do things differently in Arizona.

They like to be forward-thinking, proactive, and pure in their motivations.

So who could not be impressed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has decided to add a new, public-spirited, and entertaining element to Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Web site?

Arpaio, whose county covers Phoenix and a number of suburbs, decided it would be amusing to have anyone who visits the site and eyeballs the gallery of mug shots to choose a "Mug Shot of the Day."

In a nation in which "Dancing with the Stars" and "American Idol" define our very being and culture, one should surely commend Sheriff Arpaio for having such a keen sensitivity towards public mores.

The Arizona Republic, clearly in awe of Arpaio's initiative, asked him whether he might have sensed a certain incongruence between this frivolity and the fact that mug shots are of people who haven't been found guilty of anything.

Arpaio's reported reply: "What's that word? In congress?"

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office mugshot page Screenshot by CNET

He reportedly continued: "I'll make a deal with you. The minute your newspaper doesn't put the mug shots of all these 'innocent' people in the paper every day I will cut out all the mug shots."

The Republic pressed him by suggesting that at least in the newspaper, there might be some news value, but on this site, the shots, though public information, are there for pure giggly entertainment.

I am sure that many of you will wish to hotfinger it to this gallery of amusement. You will see that one of the current leaders is someone who appears to have had his face smeared with suntan lotion or, perhaps, Nivea face cream.

Is this mug shot in some way amusing? Some would, no doubt, think so. But should it be subject to an "American Idol" style vote?

In any case, what are these refined citizens of Arizona (and elsewhere) voting for? The mug shot they think is funniest? The one they think is goofiest? I only ask because there is nothing funny, goofy or otherwise extraordinary about many of the shots on the site.

Arpaio, in case his goofy, little face had escaped your cornea, is rumored to be contemplating a Senate run in 2012. He is also the chap who put prisoners in tents, gave them pink underwear and fed them green baloney.

So his creativity and advertising skills know few bounds.

Arpaio told ABC15 that he believes this jollity will drive more people to the Web site. Hey, perhaps they might see that a neighbor's been arrested and be able to vote their mug shot up to the top of the class. What fun.

I feel sure that there will be some Web-oriented artists who might be mulling the creation of a similar site-- perhaps featuring some of Sheriff Arpaio's more unguarded moments.

However, who could not agree that, given the thousands of people who have flocked to cast their votes and aspersions, Arpaio has his finger (and his wily, dextrous brain) in full concert with more than a few of his fellow citizens?