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Following the killing of a West Virginia sheriff last week, Arpaio said elected law enforcement officials across the nation seem to be targeted.

Numerous threats against Arpaio, a hero to many conservatives on immigration, prompted the need for a security detail for the lawman also known for dressing jail inmates in pink underwear and making them sleep in tents in the heat of the Arizona desert.

A campaign to recall Arpaio began just weeks after he started his sixth term in January.

Critics contend that Arpaio should be ousted because his office failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crimes cases, allegedly racially profiled Latinos in its trademark immigration patrols and has cost the county $25 million in legal settlements over treatment in county jails.

Arpaio has denied that his deputies racially profiled Latinos in traffic patrols targeting illegal immigration. His office has moved to clear up the sex-crime cases and moved to prevent the problem from happening again, he said.

Fonseca reported from Flagstaff, Ariz. Associated Press writer Paul Davenport in Phoenix also contributed to this report.