ARIZONA NEWS

MCSO: suspended posse members expected back March 15

Mar 1, 2019, 7:13 PM | Updated: 7:15 pm
(Twitter Photo/@mcsoaz)...
(Twitter Photo/@mcsoaz)
(Twitter Photo/@mcsoaz)

PHOENIX — Members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office suspended posse are expected to start returning to duty March 15, Russ Skinner, Chief Deputy of the MCSO said Friday.

“We’re anticipating completing (certifications and background processes for) the rest of the Sun City West posse, the active members, by (March) 15th where they will be reinstated and back in full effect,” he said.

In January, Sheriff Paul Penzone said he was temporarily suspending the volunteer force after an audit revealed that most members weren’t properly certified.

“This is a very important mechanism to make sure our volunteers are in a position to serve and serve the community up to the standard required of any law enforcement agency, especially the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” Skinner said.

Penzone gave a 60-day window for members to complete their certification and background checks.

“They should be back before the 60 days that the sheriff original stated which would’ve been the 25th of March but we’re actually on track to hopefully have that sooner,” Skinner said.

In February it was revealed that people who’d been arrested or convicted for domestic violence, drug crimes, sex crimes and other offenses had been removed from the posse.

“We’re committed to making sure that we get them back on the road to help supplement the areas within the office,” Skinner said.

“The posse program is a phenomenal program from a resource perspective. It helps supplement or augment our deputies in the patrol field as well as when we have missions for a search and rescue mission out in the wilderness area, our technical rescue area. They’re basically a multiplying force to be able to get the mission under control.”

According to Friday’s release, 350 members have indicated that they want to go through the process to resume serving.

More than 60 Sun City West members have completed their background checks, Skinner said, and are expected to be among the first to return to the posse.

“Sixty-two have been verified,” he said.

“There are a few more Sun City West posse that are in process right now, so we’re going out to them, we’re scheduling them on the weekends, going out to Sun City West to make sure that we get it completed and making sure their entire posse will be back in tact, as long as they’ve successfully completed the background process.”

While the posse has been on hiatus, the release said deputies from other areas have been providing additional support to patrol Sun City West.

“We do appreciate what they do for our office and the community that they serve at large,” Skinner said.

“They’re a multiplying factor for our agency and help us with resources each and every day; everything from a missing child out in the wilderness, helping hold a crime scene, helping us running jail transport if our deputies make an arrest out there.

“So they do a lot for our community and I just want to thank them for their patience through this and looking forward to having them serve and work beside them again.”

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MCSO: suspended posse members expected back March 15