Maricopa County Officials Select Russ Skinner To Serve As Interim Sheriff

Russ Skinner

The Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County in Phoenix has selected Deputy Sheriff Russ Skinner to serve as interim sheriff effective Thursday.

After Paul Penzone’s resignation took effect on Jan. 12, Skinner was appointed as the acting sheriff. He was among the three candidates considered for the position. With almost a year remaining in his second term, Penzone resigned from his position to accept a community relations position at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The selection of Skinner was confirmed by a vote of 4-1, with the exception of Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat on the board, who opposed the decision.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Skinner expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve the community and support his colleagues at the agency in his new role. He reaffirmed his dedication to upholding the mission of protecting lives and property in Maricopa County, and working alongside the exceptional detention officers, deputies, employees, and volunteers at MCSO.

Skinner joined the MCSO in 1990 and has held the position of chief deputy, responsible for managing all administrative responsibilities and operations, since 2018.

According to Skinner, MCSO will build upon Sheriff Penzone’s groundwork to deliver expert law enforcement assistance and improve their approach to addressing the various safety concerns of the public. Skinner is confident that with the support of the community and collaborating agencies, MCSO can effectively handle the constantly evolving landscape of Maricopa County and ensure a safe and prosperous environment for everyone.

The upcoming general election in November 2024 will allow voters to elect the next sheriff for a full term.

As of Thursday, six individuals had submitted their statements of interest for the upcoming election to run for sheriff. These candidates include Frank Crawford, Jerry Sheridan, Joel Paul Franklin Ellis, and Joe Melone from the Republican party, and Tyler Kamp and Kirkham from the Democratic party. Kirkham, who was among the interim finalists, is also included in this list.