Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's volunteer armed posse will patrol Valley schools as a deterrent to potential criminals and just another way of protecting the public, he told a national news audience Wednesday morning.
Arpaio has proposed using his armed posse in response to the elementary school shootings in Newtown, CT, in December.
"They are well-trained," he told CNN. "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?"
The posse members will provide security at more than 50 schools in unincorporated Maricopa County under the sheriff's jurisdiction, according to Arpaio's office.
Arpaio will unveil the list of schools and his plans at a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Anthem School, 41020 NE Anthem Way.
Some posse members got their assignments Monday, and the patrols will be around the schools, not actually on their campuses, according to Brandon Jones of the MCSO. Posse members will be in marked cars and will patrol on foot on the perimeter of the campuses.
"You could go into all the different scenarios, but the fact is we're going to try to stop any of the bad guys getting into the school, not when they are already in there," Arpaio told CNN. He added that posse members would not go into a school unless there was a "serious situation."
The posse should be at full force by Wednesday.
The posse has been patrolling Valley malls during the holiday shopping season for 19 years.
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