Phoenix Councilman Quarrels With Maricopa Sheriff Over “Privileged” NFL Convoy

Phoenix Councilman Quarrels With Maricopa Sheriff Over “Privileged” NFL Convoy

By Corinne Murdock |

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO) responded to criticisms from Phoenix City Council member Sal DiCiccio over their practice of stopping traffic to allow an NFL convoy through. DiCiccio submitted a letter to law enforcement on Tuesday, along with a series of posts on Facebook and Twitter to express his grievances with the practice. DiCiccio noted that he would assure this doesn’t happen again in his district in the future.

“This type of action is at the very least an inconvenience to our hard-working taxpayers. Granting special privileges to a select few is unacceptable in my district,” wrote DiCiccio. “This action also creates a great danger for our first responders during emergency calls as they are responding to critical life and death situations. Phoenix residents are already experiencing an increase in response times, worsened by this unnecessary action of special privilege that only hinders the ability for our first responders to answer calls, perhaps to save lives.”

MSCO was escorting a convoy of four or five buses carrying the Houston Texans football team. The councilmember called it a “special privilege for some really special people.”

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone wasted no time issuing a response. Several hours after DiCiccio published his letter, Penzone sent back a letter of his own.

Penzone noted that their method of escorting professional athletic teams has been a regular practice for a little over a decade, one to two years before DiCiccio was elected. He asked DiCiccio why he hadn’t questioned the practice in years past, and whether the councilman actually had the authority to single-handedly stop this practice. Penzone also explained that the practice was necessary to protect visiting teams from hostility, as well as fines from the NFL due to tardiness. The sheriff estimated that the entire procession delayed regular traffic by about one to two minutes.

“In my estimation, the time allotted to your inconvenience was similar to, or less than the time you spent complaining on your social network platforms. When I calculate that time spent and the time I am now spending to respond to your petty complaint, I recognize the taxpayers deserve more from our time,” wrote Penzone.

Less than an hour later, DiCiccio shot back a response claiming that the sheriff’s remarks were dismissive of citizen concerns. “Crazy, now you know why there are two sets of rules, one for normal hard-working citizens and then the other for the elites,” wrote DiCiccio. “Sheriff Penzone came back saying he doesn’t care about the citizens of the district. He will continue stopping traffic so that his privileged players can skip through all the lights and hold up citizens in traffic.”

Penzone didn’t reply to DiCiccio’s response by press time.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to