Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone has ordered an analysis of all the volunteer posses associated with the department, MCSO announced Friday.
Sheriff Penzone's Executive Advisory Review committee, which recommended the closure of Tent City, has been assigned to analyze the Posse's roles and accountability.
“We could not deliver top notch service without the commitment of our hundreds of volunteer Posse members and their leaders,” said Sheriff Penzone in a news release. “They provide expertise, services, and assistance to MCSO every day. Our commitment is to provide heightened support, coordination, and oversight, to ensure the highest quality of service to our community.”
Posses and Tent City were significant in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's legacy at MCSO.
There are 36 posses acting in Maricopa County Sheriff Offices' name. Posse members fill public safety roles like search and rescue, patrolling and traffic control. Many of the volunteer posses list "law enforcement" as one of their missions.
• Arpaio set up a holiday patrol posse in 1993 to provide added security to busy shopping areas. In 2015, Arpaio also called on people who legally carry guns to monitor for mass shooting and terrorist situations.
• The Jeep Posse is made up of owners of 4X4 off road vehicles who can help in search and rescue missions. The Jeep Posse's website features a quote from former sheriff Joe Arpaio, "With the dedicated efforts of our posse volunteers, I was able to provide the best level of service to the citizens of Maricopa County without an increase in staffing or budget. The use of trained volunteer citizens has proved very successful."
• There are posses designed to patrol and provide support for different communities like Litchfield Park, the North Valley, Sun City, Fountain Hills, Sun Lakes and Queen Creek.
• Under Arpaio, one posse was dedicated to the "birther investigation." Posse leader Mike Zullo presented "new revelations" regarding former President Barack Obama's birth certificate as recently as December 2016.
• The Advisory Posse raises and manages for a Memorial Fund that provides financial support for fallen or injured law enforcement officers across Arizona.
• Mounted posses help in search and rescues and do community outreach at equestrian events or parades.
• The description of the Emergency Response Posse reads, "Assisting MCSO with coordination and evacuation of emergency events to include Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station."
“The Posse has a history of service to the people of Maricopa County that we value greatly,” said SPEAR Chairman Grant Woods in a news release. “They’ve been extremely successful and expanded significantly over the years. We need to get a better understanding of how the Posse can thrive in the mission and fit into a sophisticated Sheriff’s office.”
Woods is the former Arizona Attorney General.
The SPEAR committee is composed of business, government and advocacy leaders.
SPEAR committee members:
Chairman Grant Woods – SPEAR Chairperson and former Arizona Attorney General
Linda Elliott – Executive Director, One n Ten
Dr. Ann Hart – President, NAACP
Will Humble – Division Director for Health Policy and Evaluation, Arizona Health Science Center, University of Arizona
Jonathan Koppell – Dean and Professor, ASU, College of Public Service & Community Solutions
Pat McGroder – Attorney, Gallagher and Kennedy
Mary Kim Titla – Executive Director, UNITY
David K. Udall – Attorney and Founder, Udall Shumway
Lisa Urias – President and CEO, Urias Communications|
Mike Watts – Founder and Executive Chairman, Sunstate Equipment
Jason Wong – Financial Consultant