PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched his annual holiday mall patrol on Monday, continuing a tradition that has been 22 years in the making.
Since its launch in 1993, Arpaio’s mall patrol, composed of all-volunteer posse members, aims to combat violence and protect shoppers during the busiest shopping period of the year.
Originally launched to combat carjackings, this year’s patrol will focus on preventing deadly events such as terror attacks, Arpaio said during a press conference.
“However, this year’s a little different with the terrorism, shootings in crowded areas in our country,” Arpaio said during the press conference, using last week’s shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic as a recent example.
At the press conference, Arpaio was flanked by his officers, including two mobile command centers, a boat, 4-wheel scooters, a helicopter and horse-mounted patrols. One mounted officer was injured when his horse bucked him in front of a news car.
As the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio said he is “concerned” about terrorist attacks and will do whatever it takes to make sure the public is safe and secure while out shopping this holiday season. He said he wanted to get the point across that whoever will commit crime this holiday season will get caught.
“We wanna make sure that the public enjoys themselves, comes to the malls, feels safe, spends money, have a good time and we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure they’re safe and secure and can enjoy themselves this holiday season,” Arpaio said during the press conference.
KTAR News’ Brian Rackham contributed to this report.
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