PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has outlined the steps it will take to restore posse members after a review uncovered more than 200 posse members had not met the requirements for membership.
On January 25, Sheriff Paul Penzone announced that 235 posse members had been temporarily suspended from their duties. Penzone blamed poor record-keeping for the lapse in ensuring all members meet certain requirements, such as background checks and drug tests.
The posse provides support for a wide range of activities, including welfare checks, traffic control and crime scene security. Those designated as qualified armed posse (QAP) members are allowed to carry firearms while in uniform.
The review also uncovered some posse members had histories which should have prevented their involvement, such as arrests or convictions for domestic violence, drug or sex offenses, or other criminal activity. Those members have been removed from the posse, the sheriff's office said.
Posse members are required to undergo similar background processes as deputies, detention officers, and civilian employees, though the requirements differ depending on the different areas of the posse.
Qualified armed posse members are required to undergo a background interview, polygraph test, psychological exam and a drug test.
Posse members at the basic and intermediate levels who are not involved in QAP enforcement must complete a background interview and a polygraph. Search and rescue and non-enforcement posse members must complete a background interview.
The backgrounds of all posse members are supposed to be re-checked every two years.
Penzone said the efforts to re-certify the posse members will prioritize those in roles "important to public safety and those who have demonstrated a committment to service their community."