Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's School-Patrolling Posse Not POST Certified; I.E., They Ain't Cops

Kudos to Sheriff Joe Arpaio for successfully monopolizing the paranoia surrounding the mass killings in Sandy Hook by sending his army of Depends-wearin', gun-totin' grumpy geezers out to patrol the perimeters of some schools in the Valley.

See also: -Would You Want One of Joe Arpaio's Armed Posse-People at Your Child's School? -Joe Arpaio's Posse People Starting Armed School Patrols; Which Schools Yet Unknown

Of course, the first day didn't turn out too well, with various local news agencies reporting confusion among school officials and parents as to what the heck the posse will be doing.

A solid question to ask, given the posse's less-than-stellar record.

This record includes posse members' involvement in a big 2003 prostitution sting, where some posse dudes availed themselves of handjobs and other services of alleged hos. As a result, then Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley refused to prosecute 60 persons nabbed in the process.

Add to that, past controversies over where proceeds from the pink underwear sales go, the criminal backgrounds of some posse members themselves, and the posse's recent participation in Arpaio's infamous immigration sweeps.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you'd have to be seriously uninformed, and just plain stupid to be reassured by the latest MCSO public relations stunt.

Hello, posse members are not cops, and do not possess the authority of police officers.

Basically, they're just old farts with badges and uniforms that look just like sheriff's deputies uniforms. Sometimes they have guns.

Arpaio does as much as possible to blur the line between a posse member and an actual peace officer. The latter being trained at an academy certified by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

A successful recruit completes "a minimum of 585 hours of mandated training", according to POST's website, "successfully [completes] all of the academy requirements," and finally, passes "a Comprehensive Final Examination to become AZPOST certified."

But Arpaio would have you believe that all he has to do is wave his wrinkled palm, and say the magic words to allow any doofus to sidestep all of that POST hooey and, essentially, become a part-time cop.

"They have full law enforcement authority, once I mobilize them," Arpaio told Channel 12 news anchor Mark Curtis during a recent interview.

Um, not really, Joe. Not according to AZ POST Executive Director Lyle Mann.

"They are not law enforcement officers," Mann told me of the posse members when I called, asking for his comment.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons