MCSO says audit revealed drug and sex offenders serving on posse
PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that drug and sex offenders were found to be serving on the agency’s posse.
Individuals who’d been arrested or convicted for domestic violence, drug crimes, sex crimes and other offenses have been removed from the volunteer force, according to an MCSO press release.
An audit found that poor record keeping allowed the unqualified members to slip through the cracks, the release said.
The agency did not respond to a request for further comment.
The posse is made up of unpaid citizens who provide support in a variety of areas, including search and rescue, crime scene security, disaster relief and emergency details.
Armed members will now be required to undergo background interviews, polygraphs, psychological exams and drug screenings, and their background must be rechecked every two years, the release said.
The certification is less rigorous for other parts of the posse, but all members must go through background checks every two years.
Last month, Sheriff Paul Penzone said he was temporarily suspending the volunteers who take part in enforcement activities after finding out that only four of the posse’s 235 members had completed the entire certification process.
The suspension impacted members who participate in duties such as welfare checks, crime scene security and traffic control while displaying the MCSO insignia.
Penzone said they will be given the opportunity to complete their certification within 60 days.
He didn’t blame the volunteers, pointing to “the disorganization, the lack of standards and commitment to excellence by the organization historically.”
Penzone took office in 2017 after defeating Joe Arpaio in the 2016 election. Arpaio was in office for 24 years.