Sheriff Joe's Newtown Response Will Terrorize Kids
Armed posses won't make students feel safe: Terry Greene Sterling
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2013 12:58 PM CST
In this May 10, 2012 file photo, a defiant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pounds his fist on the podium as he answers questions during a news conference in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(Newser) – Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-described "Toughest Sheriff in America," responded to the Connecticut school shooting with a new plan: Send volunteer "posses" with guns to patrol the areas around 50 schools in the Phoenix area. But this is an awful idea that will only result in lower school attendance and additional stress on students, writes Terry Greene Sterling in the Daily Beast. "Arpaio is seen by children as ‘El Cucuy’—the Boogey Man," explains a community group organizer, because he frequently uses these same "posses" to raid Latino neighborhoods and round up illegal immigrants.

Other advocates echo that idea, and say they fear the impact these new posses will have on Latino children—even those who are American citizens fear Arpaio "will take away their parents." One professor calls Arpaio's plan "a backdoor way to terrorize a community." Writes Greene Sterling, "Latching his posse onto a national controversy ... is a tried-and-true Arpaio technique that appears to have a clear purpose: generate worldwide press, secure more donations from loyal fans, and distract journalists and the public from ongoing allegations of civil-rights violations, wrongful deaths, mismanagement, and misspending." Click for Greene Sterling's full column.

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Jan 10, 2013 1:36 PM CST
I have lived in the Phoenix Metro area for over thirty years and I will admit he does get re-elected. However, Sheriff Joe brags every year that he can turn "his" possie out at Christmas to partrol the malls with a membership of 500. Each member has a uniform, at county expense, share a patrol car with another possie member and some are allowed to take the car home, gas paid for by the county. Everythng else comes out of the possie members pocket.
Jan 10, 2013 12:56 PM CST
First, Sheriff Joe's possie is not from the 1800's. A modern possie is a select and trained group of citizens responding quickly to an overwhelming need. Most western States are poor and have needed possies all my life to patrol and to search for people. Possie members have always had concealed weapons. The new thing is to use them on a semi-daily basis. I guess the analogy is like an armed marshal on an airplane. A marshal is rarely onboard, but the criminals know they might be. Possies are not optimal, but they are what we can afford and we do trust them. On a scale of concern from 1 to 100, most westerners would put possies at under 20 but illegal aliens at over 80.
Jan 10, 2013 10:45 AM CST
It says an awful lot about our society that people can look at this guy and see "electable" instead of "lunatic".