PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse is hitting Valley malls again for the holiday season.
“I’m doing this to send a message to everybody in this county, feel free, do your shopping,” said Arpaio. “At least we have people out here that will protect you.”
It’s likely Arpaio’s last time as sheriff over the volunteer posse, which he started himself 23 years ago.
“They’re all volunteer, they pay for their own uniforms, their own guns, their own bullets, they pay for everything,” he said. “They do it as a service.”
Arpaio started the posse when he first took office after a series of violent carjackings near malls in the years before.
“With every major event and holiday in our country, inevitably a terror threat is heard,” said Arpaio in a statement. “We can help silence those threats by letting the potential perpetrators and the public know we are ready.”
The posse is a deterrent for those wanting to do crime during the holidays, he said.
“This is my farewell in overseeing this long-standing posse program,” said Arpaio. “I am very proud of the posse and their outstanding work.”
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