Hat tip to Phoenix videographer Dennis Gilman for letting me know about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's appearance Thursday on the uber-lefty Thom Hartmann radio show, where he howled at the moon, boasted about B-movie has-been Steven Seagal being in his posse, having a .50 caliber gun (for what, no one knows), and how he's planning to have some of his Depends-wearin' posse alter kockers protect the kiddies with automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
See also: -Steven Seagal Resigned Rather Than Face IA Investigation, According to Sheriff Newell Normand -Joe Arpaio's School-Patrolling Posse Not POST Certified; I.E., They Ain't Cops -Joe Arpaio Releases List of Posse-Patrolled Schools, Talks Publicity Stunts
"My theory is, when you have marked cars around the schools," Joe growled at Hartmann, "with my posse having automatic weapons, and semi-automatic weapons, maybe somebody, the bad guy, may say, `I'm not going near that school.' So this is a deterrence or prevention also."
Hartmann, who is for stricter gun laws, natch, noted some statistic about how one shot in five hitting its target is "good shootin" for a cop in an emergency situation. He asked if Joe's posse members, specifically Seagal, whom Joe says carries an automatic weapon, could best that stat.
"Well," said ol' Joe, "I don't know about those circumstances. Why are we picking out some selected situations?"
"The reason I'm asking," replied Hartmann, "is I'm wondering if those other four bullets are going to hit kids. It's like, do we really want firefights going on around our schools?"
Wow, a shot of common sense across the bow. How about that?
Joe then quickly changes the subject, noting that one of his deputies had just been wounded by gunfire and was in the hospital, and he talked about another deputy of his killed while on duty.
"So these guys both had guns, and their guns didn't protect them?" asked Hartmann, cleverly.
But for our semi-senile autocrat, if the deputies involved had more firepower, they (magically) never would have been shot. That's why, he promised, he would be arming "all my deputies with automatic, semi-automatic weapons."
So both the posse members and all of the actual deputies will have automatic and semi-automatic weapons. That's a situation Hartmann compared to Uganda at the end of its civil war, or the current anarchy in Somalia.
Hey, maybe Joe should have his own nuke? I mean, why not? Then he could protect us from enemy attack as well. Better safe than sorry, right?
As for his geriatric posse men and women, each reeking of old-person smell, why, they're the same as deputies, Arpaio contended, a comparison I'm sure his actual deputies love.
"My posse have been through the same requirements as regular deputies," Arpaio prevaricated. "Over 100 hours of training, and refresher courses."
That means they are not peace officers and do not have the power of arrest.
They may wear uniforms nearly-identical to actual MCSO deputies, but they are not trained like deputes are. Far from it. I'm not sure what this posse "training" actually entails, as AZ POST Executive Director Lyle Mann told me that POST provides zero training to Joe's posse.
According to POST's website, law enforcement agencies enroll their trainees in a POST-certified academy, where they will go through "a minimum of 585 hours of mandated training," and "pass a Comprehensive Final Examination."
Which, I reckon, is a good thing. To compare a pear-shaped posse member to a sworn officer is completely ridiculous. As ridiculous as Arpayaso himself.
Sure, some posse members are former LEOs and ex-military. But even if they've been POST certified in the past, or certified in some other state, if that certification has been inactive for three years after separation from a law enforcement agency, they must renew their certification, or they cannot be re-employed as cops.
The AZ POST website spells out the trouble with acting like a cop when you are not POST-certified:
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"A person who has inactive peace officer certification has no law enforcement authority. A person with inactive certification who takes action as a peace officer under certain circumstances may be committing the crime of impersonating a public servant. In order to perform the duties of a peace officer or exercise the authority of a peace officer, a person must have both active peace officer certification and be authorized to exercise that authority or perform those duties by the appointing law enforcement agency."
Arpaio is practically encouraging his posse members to commit "the crime of impersonating a public servant."
I mean, why not identify these posse members as posse members, instead of allowing them to wear uniforms and drive cars that identify them as MCSO deputies, when they are not?
This latest stunt by Joe is a disaster waiting to happen. But hey, this is what 50.7 of the electorate in Maricopa County voted for. And we have four more years of it to endure.