In January, 2013, shortly after the Connecticut school shooting which left 26 people dead and the discovery here in Phoenix by Sheriff’s deputies of a high school student’s plans to kill fellow classmates in a local high school, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched a new program using his all-volunteer posse to patrol areas surrounding schools within his jurisdiction.
Several qualified armed posse volunteers are participating in the program and more are needed. Arpaio plans to announce he wants 1000 more citizens to volunteer and train as members of his posse, already the nation’s largest at 3450 members. Those new members are needed to augment and/or expand this program as it is likely it will be reinstituted in the fall, Arpaio says. Interested persons are urged to call 602 876 1895 during work week business hours for information on how to join or visit the Sheriff’s website at www.mcso.org.
While his qualified armed posse volunteers are already well trained to handle emergency situations, Arpaio says that school shootings pose unique circumstances which require more mission specific training modalities.
On Saturday, February 9, 2013, armed qualified posse members will undergo their first ever simulated school shooting. Using instructors from the sheriff’s SWAT division to include actor/posseman/certified teacher Steven Segal, volunteers will learn operating procedures on how to handle one, two and three shooter scenarios as well as room entry tactics and hand to hand combat.
At 2:30 PM, the posse and instructors will begin the scenario training portion of the day. About 25 youngsters, ages 14 to 18, have volunteered to act as students and SWAT deputies will pose as the shooters.
Semi automatic rifles and handguns called simunitions (guns which use marking rounds rather than bullets) will be used by the posse volunteers throughout the training. Four scenes will be offered simultaneously and each will be in separate parts of the school.