Paul Penzone spent 21 years as a Phoenix police officer, earning national and international recognition for his leadership in crime prevention, capture of dangerous criminals, and dismantling of drug trafficking organizations. Since his retirement, Paul has served as a top law-enforcement and security expert, and has dedicated his time to various community organizations.
Paul was known as a tough, smart and fair cop with the unique ability to manage and defuse the worst of situations resulting in successful outcomes. Paul prides himself on the ability to select and lead strong teams through complex and difficult challenges. During his career he was consistently recognized for exceptional police work.
Partnerships & Accomplishments
While on assignment with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Paul was selected as the national “Task Force Agent of the Year” when he led the federal wiretap investigation that ultimately dismantled a large-scale Methamphetamine manufacturing and distributing network in Arizona. He led the Silent Witness Program for 7 years, most notably during the “Baseline Killer” and “Serial Shooter” investigations, which paralyzed parts of the community with fear. For his leadership in the successful apprehension of all suspects, he received international recognition as “Crime Stoppers International Program Coordinator of the Year.” Paul received numerous commendations during his career, including two Distinguished Service Awards and “Supervisor of the Year” from the Phoenix Police Department. He established a sound reputation for his leadership, investigative abilities, tactical knowledge and sound judgment.
Paul believes there must be a strong partnership between the community and its law enforcement professionals. This commitment inspired Paul to develop programs that connected Valleywide public safety agencies, media, local businesses and community leaders. Following his police career, Paul became the Vice President of Childhelp, a national non-profit organization that provides prevention education and services for child victims of abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. He was a critical asset in the development of their newest prevention program, “Speak Up, Be Safe”, a program designed to protect children from abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.
In addition to his work in the community, Paul served as a subject matter expert for the Town of Paradise Valley to address a spike in crime. He also provides leadership and consultation on programs to raise awareness on critical issues and acts as a security expert at a number of the Valley’s mega events, to include the highly successful Waste Management Phoenix Open. During the 2012 election cycle, Paul’s pursuit for the Office of Sheriff was believed to be the most competitive and intriguing race in the current Sheriff’s tenure.
Paul continues to speak out on issues affecting the safety and well being of children and families. He frequently appears on multiple news outlets and radio shows to address issues such as solving crimes, delivering safety tips, education for families, child advocacy, safety and community service. He believes children are our most precious assets and they must be a priority of the community.
Paul’s interest in law enforcement began at an early age. As a student at Phoenix’s Cortez High School, Paul volunteered at the Justice Courts as a bailiff, where he watched the criminal justice system firsthand. He studied Criminal Justice at Glendale Community College and Northern Arizona University before joining the Phoenix Police Department in 1988. Paul went on to serve a decorated 21-year career, beginning as a patrol officer and rising through the ranks to manage the highly successful Silent Witness program, which saw a considerable increase in cases solved and criminals apprehended during his tenure.
Paul was born in Trenton, N.J., the youngest of three siblings. His parents Rose and Charlie are of Italian descent and recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Charlie was a laborer who installed floors, Rose worked for the Justice Courts as a clerk.
Paul’s family moved to Arizona in the late 70’s. He spent the latter part of his childhood in the West Valley, attending Cortez High School, Glendale Community College, then Northern Arizona University. Paul is married, he and his wife Veronica have two sons. Veronica is a highly successful small-business owner who supports organizations focused on child safety, women’s advocacy and a variety of local faith-based organizations. Paul and Veronica also have three dogs and enjoy an active lifestyle.
The Penzones are a proud, hardworking family who believe Arizona is a state filled with opportunity and our sense of pride must be restored through selfless leadership.
As Sheriff, Paul’s success will continue. He will work to make Maricopa County the safest community in America. He’ll demand accountability at the top, practice results-based policing, and eliminate wasteful spending so we can put more deputies on the streets. He will develop and grow community based programs, such as the Sheriff’s Posse to promote the critical community/law enforcement partnership.