At 70, PCSO posse member proves age is only a number

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PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- Dennis Hixon, 70, doesn’t need spurs.  The lawman’s horse has cruise control.

Hixon patrols his own patch of the Pinal County desert as a posse member for the sheriff’s office.

“I don't think I’m 70.  I feel like I’m 45. I’m going to keep on doing it till I can't do it anymore,” Hixon said.

The volunteer posse member proves it's never too late to pursue a passion.

“I’ve got great passion for the job," he said. "I love patrolling. I like working with the deputies, making sure they're not out there by themselves."

Part of posse patrol is backing up the deputies and helping transport accused criminals to the jail.

Hixon knows the deputies always have his back, too.

The volunteer has seen a lot in two years and sometimes the job is scary.

“The scariest thing I’ve seen was when an individual was requesting he would like the deputies to shoot him,” Hixon recalled

This part-time passion is now a full-time gig, logging close to 200 hours monthly.

Posse members are encouraged to put in at least 16 hours each month.

“Dennis has raised the bar, no doubt about it,” PCSO spokesperson Elias Johnson said.

The sheriff's office is ramping up their posse with volunteers like Hixon.

The posse started back up four years ago as an added layer of crime fighting in Pinal County.

“We trust him.  We know he does a good job for us and we're looking for people like him to join our family and to really help PCSO and take us to the next level,” Johnson said.

The hope, according to Johnson, is to boost the posse from 24 members to at least 50.

Volunteers must pass a background check, not have any prior felonies, pass the academy and carry a gun.

“You have to be very careful with anybody you put in the back seat. You check them for weapons before you put them in the back seat,” said the volunteer.

When Hixon is done patrolling for the day he tinkers with a piece of the past.

“Even though my heart's in the military vehicles. especially WWII vehicles, I really like working with the deputies on the road,” he said.

PCSO is holding a volunteer meeting on Feb. 8 at 4:30 pm at The Views At Superstition, 6900 E.Highway 60, Suite 204, in Gold Canyon.

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