Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has announced plans to deploy an armed volunteer posse to protect Phoenix-area students in the wake of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
“I have the authority to mobilize private citizens and fight crime in this county,” said Arpaio, according to KTVK-TV.
He says he doesn’t plan to put posse members inside schools but will have them posted around the perimeters.
“I don’t know if they agree [to my plan] or not. I’ll coordinate with them,” the Maricopa County sheriff said, referring to the various school districts. “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.”
The sheriff also explained that the thinks the idea of armed professionals is better than arming teachers and school staff.
“I support arming cops in the schools,” Arpaio said. “If you have a cop that’s armed you don’t need a teacher that’s armed.”
He continued, explaining that now is the time for action.
“[Politicians] are going to be talking about the guns now for years. But I have certain resources at my disposal and I’m not going to talk about it. I’m going to do it,” Arpaio said.
The Arizona sheriff is known as one of the nation’s most high-profile supporters of strict U.S.-Mexico border policy. His plan announced Thursday comes after two other Arizona officials released ideas for boosting school security.
Attorney General Tom Horne proposed firearms training for one person in each school. And Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu proposed training multiple educators per school to carry guns.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story. Featured image courtesy Getty Images.