Sheriff Joe Arpaio holiday mall posse celebrates 24 years protecting Valley

Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 20:40:39-05

It's officially the holidays -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio has dispatched his annual posse.

Arpaio started the program when he first took office, after a number of violent incidents that occurred during the holiday shopping season.

This is Arpaio's 24th year running the program, and his last.

"With every major event and holiday in our country, inevitably a terror threat is heard," said Sheriff Arpaio. "We can help silence those threats by letting the potential perpetrators and the public know we are ready."

Arpaio credits the large presence of uniformed law enforcement, marked vehicles, helicopters, horses and canines on patrol as deterrents to those who might target holiday shoppers for any number of crimes.

During the past year, there have been a series of mall shootings in cities throughout the country. Arpaio said he was concerned about mass attacks and terrorism this year, especially after hearing about large-scale shootings and knife attacks taking place in other parts of the country.

Posse members have been trained to look for anything suspicious and how to act in those situations.

Bill Crawford has spent his own money, and volunteered countless hours with the Maricopa County Sheriff's posse for the last 10 years. He looks at the posse as a way to serve his community, helping to nab car thieves and purse snatchers.

Arpaio said in the 23 years he has run the program, they had not have any major violent incidents at any of the malls.

"This is my farewell in overseeing this long-standing posse program," concluded Arpaio. "I am very proud of the posse and their outstanding work."