As Barack Obama and his gun control supplicant Joe Biden move to use the school murders in Newtown, CT’s “gun-free zone” as an excuse to grab the guns of law-abiding Americans, a new poll shows that most Americans actually want more of an armed presence in our schools to protect students from madmen. And Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn’t waiting for Washington to act.
Sheriff Joe today deployed 500 armed volunteers to patrol outside 59 schools in metropolitan Phoenix. 400 of these volunteers are part of 3,000-strong Joe’s “Posse” and another 100 volunteers known as reserve deputies are taking part in the patrols. Sheriff Joe’s Posse have participated in the many “immigration sweeps” the Sheriff has conducted over the past decade – resulting in the arrests of hundreds of illegal aliens, drug and human smugglers and gang members.
Arpaio said no taxpayer money would be spent on the patrols and volunteers will be supervised by radio or phone by deputies. The Sheriff said he wanted the public to be aware of his plan for maximum deterrence value:
“I want everybody to know we’re there. Our posse is trained to take action. We’ve got some [volunteers] with automatic weapons; I’m not afraid to say that,” Sheriff Arpaio said.
“I think it’s a great idea to have the posse visible,” said Abby Simpkins, who has children who go to Anthem Elementary.
Joselyn Wells, the mother of three children at a school where Arpaio’s posse members have begun patrolling, said she was excited to hear about the initiative.
“A lot of people sit around and watch these things happen, watch key signs and no one wants to do anything about it,” she said. “Nobody wants conflict, nobody wants to be out in the limelight. And he doesn’t care. He wants to do the right thing.”
Members wear uniforms and can get authorized to carry a gun after training, though only 400 can actually carry guns. They can make arrests only at the direction of a deputy sheriff. Posse operations generally don’t receive taxpayer money and instead are funded through contributions and dues paid by posse members.
The reserve deputies who will join posse members in the school patrols have all the training and powers of a regular law enforcement officer but aren’t paid for their police work.
Sixty-four percent of Americans support increasing a police presence in schools, while 29 percent oppose it, according to a Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll conducted Jan. 2-7. The NRA proposed a similar plan in response to the Sandy Hook murders. Conservative and Libertarian groups have proposed expanding this plan to include licensed concealed carry gun owners who are teachers, parents and school administrators.
For a list of Phoenix-area schools where the posse members are being deployed, click here.