SUN CITY WEST, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It was standing room only as more than 1,000 Sun City West retirees packed a room to listen to Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone explain why the posse program has been temporarily suspended.

Most were upset and worried about their safety.

Penzone announced Jan. 25 he's suspending the volunteer program after an audit only four of the 200-plus armed posse members passed required background checks.

Penzone said it's his goal to get the program back up and running in 60 days, which is roughly March 25, but says it could take longer to vet all volunteers.

"Ethically, this organization is going to have a consistent standard whether you're are a full-time employee or a volunteer who represents the organization," said Sheriff Penzone.

However, that time frame is no sitting well with some Sun City West residents. The 11-square mile 55+ retirement community sits about 45 minutes west of Phoenix.

"If he's stopping the posse, he's not looking out for us," said one senior. "I'm very upset with what he's doing."

The community doesn't have its own police department, so it relies on the MSCO Sheriff's Posse to respond to traffic accidents, vacation watch, prevent crime and conduct welfare checks.

The posse fills in the gaps while MSCO responds to more urgent calls.

According to the MCSO Posse website, volunteers provide law enforcement support services to the sheriff.

Penzone said he will reallocate resources to keep people safe, but didn't specify what those resources would be.

"We can't have people out there that we don't know are deserving and take the risk they do something inappropriate or unlawful," explained Penzone.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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(3) comments

Azbest

He does not want this old gooses driving around in county owned vehicle cause they are a potential liability to the county , if they get hurt or what not the county picks up the tab . Not only that but if you go to the sun city sheriffs yard you can see all the old posses cars that being in wrecks . This cars where never repair cause they were to old just like the voluntary goons .

JustinP

You realize this is a COUNTY posse, not a city one. I happen to know a member who is at least 10 years away from retirement. Always gets trained on firearms and the laws. He is one of the ones being forced out by Penzone. Sure, they are allowing them to stay but making them feel very unwelcome. Look for a LARGE request for more money for policing by Penzone. The Supervisors should respond with a "you got rid of free trained labor so get lost" memo.

JustinP

First, Sun City West is not 45 minutes west of Phoenix (unless you are taking Grand and leaving from downtown during rush hour and there are accidents on the street).
Next, Penzone has CHANGED the requirements and not given time to change. Also, how about rolling it out over time. This guy is trying to change one of the good things Arpaio had going. Not smart. Free, trained, labor to assist your paid staff and he doesn't like it. Not smart. Hope another candidate runs who is more capable next time around.

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