Penzone continues holiday posse patrols and malls

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MCSO posse members will once again this holiday season patrol malls throughout the Phoenix metro area. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) MCSO posse members will once again this holiday season patrol malls throughout the Phoenix metro area. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Over the course of the holiday season, Acritelli estimates between 200 and 250 posse members will take part in the patrols. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Over the course of the holiday season, Acritelli estimates between 200 and 250 posse members will take part in the patrols. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
All posse members will be in uniform, some will be carrying a firearm. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) All posse members will be in uniform, some will be carrying a firearm. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Posse members do not have arrest powers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Posse members do not have arrest powers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone will carry on a long-standing tradition started by his predecessor, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

MCSO posse members will once again this holiday season patrol malls throughout the Phoenix metro area to offer shoppers an added level of security.

Lt. Buddy Acritelli, with MCSO, said the program has been very successful and that is something Penzone recognized and wants to continue.

“We’ll be very mobile, very approachable. Our posse members and our deputies love to intermingle with the community. So, I would say anybody that has a question or a concern don’t be afraid to approach us. We’ll be more than happy to help you any way we can,” said Acritelli.

[RELATED: Arpaio to launch his final Holiday Posse Mall Patrol Monday afternoon]

Over the course of the holiday season, Acritelli estimates between 200 and 250 posse members will take part in the patrols. Their focus will be on the outside of the malls and the parking areas.

“We primarily like to stay to the exteriors of the malls. That is generally where individuals become victims, members of the public become victims, of thefts or burglaries or even sometimes assaults. Our presence out there can go ahead and deter some of those criminals from even making the attempt,” said Acritelli.

[RELATED: Sheriff-elect Paul Penzone promises decisions that serve community best]

The game plan for the posse patrol will follow the same three-pronged approach they have for years, show presence, deter crime and educate shoppers on how they can better protect themselves.

“We’ll have marked units at all the malls that we service and our primary responsibility is the exterior of the malls on the property. We’ll be out there during certain hours and you’ll see us moving around mingling with the public,” said Acritelli.  

All posse members will be in uniform, some will be carrying a firearm. They will all be working under the direction of a sworn sheriff’s deputy.

Posse members do not have arrest powers. They will act as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement, good witnesses and assist shoppers in any way they can.

MCSO says there are many things shoppers can do to help protect themselves during this busy shopping season:

  • Be mindful of where you park and what entrance you use in the mall.
  • Do not leave any valuables in a visible area of your vehicle (put your purchases in your trunk if possible).
  • Remember to lock your vehicle doors.
  • Take a moment before getting out of your vehicle to observe the area for any suspicious bystanders.
  • When exiting the mall, scan your surroundings for any suspicious behavior. If something seems out of place, contact our posse members so they can escort you to your vehicle.

Here is a list of malls the posse members will patrol:

  • Arrowhead Mall: 7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center
  • Biltmore Fashion Park: 2502 E. Camelback Road
  • Chandler Mall: 3111 W. Chandler Blvd
  • Desert Sky Mall: 7611 W. Thomas Road
  • Paradise Valley Mall: 4568 E. Cactus Road
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square: 7014 E. Camelback Road
  • Superstition Springs Mall: 6555 E. Southern Avenue

  

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Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

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Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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