Even before Arizona was granted statehood, counties were being established. Such was the case for Maricopa County, established in 1871.

Arizona was still a “territory” back then and, as such, had a territorial legislature which oversaw the creation of counties and their governments.

In the mid-1880s, the legislature put into statute the positions of sheriff, a tax collector and a treasurer.

As the years went by, of course, more governmental positions were added, more counties came into being and eventually on February 14, 1912, Arizona was named the 48th state in the United States.

The state constitution then and now maintains that certain governmental positions are to be elected by the people rather than appointed by a governing board. One of those elected positions is the Office of Sheriff. There are 15 county Sheriffs in Arizona today.

Each is elected to a four year term and has a salary set by the state legislature. Sheriffs in Arizona, no matter the size, population figures or complexity of services of their respective counties, earn $100,824 annually.

To date, there have been 37 persons who have served as Sheriff of Maricopa County, including Sheriff Paul Penzone.