Electing law enforcement officers is a terrible idea, but like most of the country, we do it here in Arizona. We shouldn't be surprised, then, when Sheriff's try to pump up their image by portraying themselves as the last bastion against an invading horde.
When it was over, Sheriff Paul Babeu issued a news release declaring that Pinal County is "the No. 1 pass-through county in all of America for drug and human trafficking."
It's a line the sheriff has used countless times - most recently on Thursday in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security - as he criticizes the federal government for failing to secure the border.
There's just one problem: There is no data to support the assertion.
In fact, an Arizona Republic analysis of statistics from local, state and federal sources found that, while sheriff's officials do bust smugglers and seize pot, Pinal County accounts for only a fraction of overall trafficking.
The newspaper also found that other headline-grabbing claims by Babeu are contradicted by statistical evidence or greatly exaggerated.
Babeu's County, for example, does not even touch the border. And crime rates in AZ have fallen faster over the last 10 years than the national average, right during the period of high illegal immigration.