Sheriff: Armed posse members to guard schools - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff: Armed posse members to guard schools

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LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -

Everything from arming teachers and principals, to putting more resource officers on campus, has been suggested to make schools safer.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is launching his own idea this week: utilizing his armed posse members near schools. 

The sheriff came up with the controversial plan right after the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Litchfield Park is just one of the schools where a posse member would be close by.

The sheriff stresses the armed posse member will not be in the school, or on the campus. Instead, the posse member would be patrolling the perimeter in marked cars.

Posse members are volunteers who have their own guns and they are insured by MCSO.

"We're going to do everything we can to deter anybody who feels they can come into the school and cause havoc," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio is going to start with schools in county islands, where he already has jurisdiction. He'll start with about 50 schools in areas like Cave Creek, Anthem, Fountain Hills, Sun City, Litchfield Park, Gila Bend, Carefree, Queen Creek and Guadalupe.

He needs no permission from the schools because they are not going to be in the schools. The posse members also are not paid. They underwent training for the new idea.

"Usually there are some warning signs that a person is in a place they don't need to be or are not supposed to be, there are warning signs they don't fit in," said posse volunteer Dave Vickers.

It's similar to what Arpaio does during the holidays at the malls, using posse members to patrol the areas. It's been successful in the past.

Arizona House Rep. Chad Campbell says he will propose a bill that will double the amount of money in the program that funds school resource officers -- and he opposes the Sheriff's plan.

"For all the people that are talking about arming volunteers and putting them on or near school campuses. I want them to ask themselves one question. What happens the first time a volunteer or teacher shoots a student on accident?" said Campbell.

The sheriff says until a decision is reached, he wants the posse to patrol until the end of the school year.

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