Totally upstaged by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio went ahead late Thursday with an announcement for his own anti-Newtown idea: armed posse members at schools.
The posse will "safeguard schools from violent predators," Arpaio claims.
He's not asking for permission, of course -- he plans to deploy the volunteer deputies to schools whether you like it or not.
It's unclear whether the possemen will be under orders to round up illegal immigrants at the same time. Arpaio is fighting the federal's government's attempts in court to tame what the Department of Justice called one of the worst cases in U.S. history of racial profiling.
Armed possemen (and possewomen, we presume) have been used successfully for 19 years at Valley malls, the sheriff boasts in a recent news release. One way he's measured their success is their effectiveness in helping catch shoplifters running out of the malls.
"Qualified Armed Possemen," the sheriff's office web sites says, must be 21 and take 101 hours of advanced training classes, which includes 60 hours of firearm training, following basic posse training. They can wear the uniform and a gun, but aren't sworn officers. They have to submit to drug testing.
Arpaio claims the posse costs taxpayers nothing. Then again, he claimed his investigation into President Obama's birthplace would cost taxpayers nothing, and that wasn't true.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
On the plus side, the mere presence of a uniformed, armed guard at a school could prevent another massacre. But since massacres are exceedingly rare, we wonder what these volunteers would really be doing with their time, and whether Hispanic students would be safe from the discrimination alleged by the federal government.
Here is your morning poll: