Sheriff Joe Arpaio's school posse program confuses school staff, parents

PHOENIX - A new program aimed at keeping Valley children safe in school has parents and faculty torn on what's best for students.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched a program on Monday that has armed volunteer posses patrolling Valley elementary schools.

Stevenson and Taft Elementary staff were supportive of the new program, but no one had any information as to where these people would be or even who they were.

"I was a little confused when I was in parking lot with those two gentlemen in the marked car. It sure seemed like from the uniforms they might have been regular deputies, but I'm not sure I've seen uniforms for the posse members," said Taft elementary principal Russ Heath. 

"We received a phone call this morning saying they would be patrolling, but that's it. I don't know if we will get our own posse officer, or if they will be going back and forth between campuses," said Stevenson Elementary School principal Kathy Ray.

Despite the lack of information, Stevenson Elementary staff welcome the increased security. In this school year alone, the campus has been put on lockdown four times for incidents in surrounding neighborhoods.

While some parents are happy about the the posse presence, others still feel it's not enough.

"It does make me feel a little bit safer with all the stuff that goes on around here. My son is constantly on lockdown. However, I feel like they should be on foot doing something inside the school like a security guard or something," said parent Lea Block.

School principals will be meeting with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday to clear up any questions they have about the program.

ABC15 tried reaching out to the Sheriff's Office for their response to the confusion surrounding the program, but they have not gotten back to us.

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