Pinal County posse patrolling for bad guys

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Do you know where the word "posse" comes from? Back in the day, sheriffs would round up their posse to catch the bad guys. Today, those posse members might look a little different, but they still have a very important job.

"I'm 70. I feel like I'm 45," posse member Dennis Hixon said.

Hixon said he's young at heart and wasn't quite ready for full-blown retirement.

"Being retired is great, but being retired really isn't all that great after you do it for awhile," Hixon said.

He wanted something to do, something active and adventurous.

"Something real exciting so your adrenaline really gets to flowing at that point," Hixon said.

So he joined the Pinal County Posse. He doesn't get paid, but he does get to carry a gun. Posse members spend at least 16 hours a month scanning the Pinal County desert for bad guys.

"I get a lot of calls after hours to go someplace and maybe sit on a crime scene for the department," Hixon said.

You might call him an overachiever.

"Right now I'm about 128 hours. I usually do between 125 and 200, depends a little bit on what's going on," he said.

As far as who he's helped arrest, Hixon said illegal immigrants make up a decent number of his backseat guests.

"In this area of the county, that's always a real likelihood that you're going to run across those people. Whether it's a normal traffic stop or someone you see walking down the road or walking through a field someplace," he said.

That excitement of never knowing what you might find is exactly why Hixon signed up - that and showing the bad guys why they might want to stay away from the slammer.

"You know, I never understood why people thought it was more exciting to live on the inside of the prison walls. I always found it was more fun on the outside," Hixon said.

Right now, there are about 20 posse members. Pinal County would like to double that.

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