AZ Sheriff launches school patrol ‘posse’ amid criticism

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is drawing fire again for his policy decisions. This time, it’s for adding as many as 500 volunteer patrols for Maricopa County schools.

Sheriff Arpaio’s office announced Wednesday that patrols began earlier this week at 59 schools in unincorporated areas and communities that are under his agency’s jurisdiction. The patrols are uniformed volunteers driving patrol vehicles, but won’t go onto school grounds unless they see a suspicious situation. They will not be stationary in one spot, and instead will patrol several schools on a driving route, according to an AP report.

“Why would people complain about my posse being in front of schools to act as prevention?” Arpaio asked. Critics say Arpaio’s latest effort was done for publicity and won’t last

The sheriff has the constitutional authority to swear in citizens to help the sheriff’s office fight crime. Arpaio’s volunteer “posse” has been in service at the malls for 19 years.  

“They are well-trained,” said Arpaio. “They have 100 hours of training in guns. We’ve proved our record patrolling the malls. Everyone seemed to like that program, so why not in other areas?”

See the coverage of Arpaio’s animated news conference here:


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