Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn’t waiting for politicians to tell him what he can or can’t do to protect the schools in his county. According to a report at azfamily.com, Sheriff Arpaio said Thursday that he intends to use members of his 3,000-strong armed volunteer posse to protect some 50 schools in his jurisdiction.
“We’re not talking about placing the posse in the schools right now but in the outlying — the perimeters of the school — to detect any criminal activity,” he said.
“The sheriff didn’t talk logistics but said he’ll use members of his 3,000 strong posse to patrol schools in towns that fall under sole jurisdiction of the sheriff’s office – places like Cave Creek, Anthem, Fountain Hills, Sun City, Litchfield Park, Gila Bend, Carefree, Queen Creek, Guadalupe – which he said amounts to about 50 grade, middle and high schools,” Jason Volentine wrote.
According to Volentine, Arpaio believes that the presence of armed police in the area would deter potential criminals from perpetrating violent acts like the tragic Newtown shootings.
Arpaio said he has not yet discussed the plan with the schools in the area.
“I don’t know if they agree [to my plan] or not. I’ll coordinate with them,” he said.
He also told azfamily.com that he supports armed cops in schools.
“If you have a cop that’s armed you don’t need a teacher that’s armed,” he said.
“[Politicians] are going to be talking about the guns now for years,” he said. “But I have certain resources at my disposal and I’m not going to talk about it. I’m going to do it.”
“I have the authority to mobilize private citizens and fight crime in this county,” he said.
The posse was first used in 1993 to protect shopping malls during the holiday season.
“Since then,” Voluntine wrote, “he said malls where his posse members are on patrol have had zero violent re-occurrences and patrols by his all-volunteer squad during the 2012 shopping season netted a record 31 arrests.”
A poll at azfamily.com shows that a huge majority — 88 percent — supports Arpaio’s actions and think the plan should be extended to include all schools in Maricopa County.
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