Arpaio still in pain from broken shoulder but 'raring to go'
PHOENIX — The sheriff for metropolitan Phoenix plans to return to work on Monday. He spent more than two weeks recuperating from a broken shoulder suffered when he fell while crossing a street on his way to lunch.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he remains in pain from the Feb. 28 injury but is eager to get back in the saddle. He was in the hospital for about two days and rested two weeks in his Fountain Hills, Ariz., home.
“I am raring to go,” Arpaio said. “I don't like staying home.”
The 80-year-old sheriff said he tripped on a sidewalk near his headquarters on his way to a restaurant to get a quick bowl of soup. He fell on his shoulder, breaking it in two places. He said he came close to hitting his head on a curb but was fortunate to walk away with no other injuries, besides a few scrapes.
“I am angry at myself. When you look at everything I have been through,” he said, laughing, “and I get incapacitated by a sidewalk.”
He said he was on light work duty during his two weeks of recovery at home, taking calls from staff members and dispensing with paperwork. His top aide continued leading the agency's day-to-day operations as he normally does.
Arpaio posted images and video online showing him in the hospital, including one with tubes in his nose. Arpaio said he didn't have to undergo surgery from his spill and that he believes an oxygen tube was a precaution to make sure he was breathing properly while he was being treated with pain medication.
Arpaio is known nationally for his tough stance on immigration enforcement and a no-nonsense approach to jail inmates.
The sheriff said he expected to have to scale back his schedule for some time, wear a sling on his left shoulder for four more weeks and have to undergo physical therapy.
His overall health remains good, he said, acknowledging that his biggest issue is taking medication for high blood pressure. He said he gets his heart checked out by a doctor twice a year.
His shoulder injury occurred even as critics started a petition drive in a bid to prompt a recall election.
Recall organizers said Arpaio should be ousted, in part, for failing to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crimes cases and for jail conditions that have resulted in huge legal settlements.
Arpaio supporters plan to file a lawsuit on Tuesday in an attempt to stop the recall effort.