AUGUST 14, 2013

Arpaio’s School Posse Patrol Program begins its second school year

Marked cars with armed posse volunteers aim to discourage potential violence
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PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addressed his volunteer posse members who are participating in providing additional security to elementary, middle and high schools in the Sheriff’s jurisdiction on Monday. The program’s kickoff was at the Country Gardens Charter School, 5613 W. Southern Avenue in Laveen.

After the briefing, marked Sheriff’s vehicles with armed posse members officially began the 2013 school year posse patrol program.

In January, Sheriff Arpaio launched this new posse program after the Connecticut/Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy where 26 children and teachers were slaughtered by a teenage gunman. The incident caused a national debate about school safety.

After that horrible shooting, Sheriff’s deputies here arrested three school aged children all of whom, in separate incidences, threatened to kill fellow students. Two of the three were teenage boys who were caught carrying weapons onto school grounds, one in Guadalupe and the other in Youngtown. The third incident involved a female student arrested by Arpaio’s deputies in December of 2012 for threatening to gun down her fellow students at Mesa’s Red Mountain High School.

So many threats and no real action taken by government agencies to prevent violence in schools prompted Sheriff Arpaio to launch this posse patrol program in order to provide some measure of security to children and students who attend and teach in the 62 schools in the Sheriff’s jurisdiction.

“This program apparently has its opponents, including some elected officials who have made comments against it,” Arpaio says. “But I know sending the posse back to our schools is the right thing to do and that discontinuing this program would be a mistake.”

Arpaio says his posse patrols will provide security to the school grounds and areas which surround the schools. His directives to posse volunteers are to be watchful of any suspicious activity including suspicious packages or people.

“These posse volunteers are well trained, including in the use of assault weapons, well equipped and ready for action,” Arpaio says. “I have full confidence in their abilities, judgment and their willingness to do whatever is necessary to keep students and teachers safe.”

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