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Penzone Orders Review Of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Posse Program

Sheriff Paul Penzone
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
stock | staff
Paul Penzone

Sheriff Paul Penzone is looking into the posse program at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Executive Advisory Review committee, known as SPEAR, was first tasked with reviewing the merits of the Tent City Jail. Penzone followed its recommendation by closing the jail. Now the sheriff has asked SPEAR to look into the posse program at MCSO.

There are currently 36 posses working for the Sheriff’s Office. They are volunteer organizations that assist on operations like search and rescue, traffic control and welfare checks.

The posses are authorized by the Arizona Constitution and privately funded by donations.

Former Attorney General Grant Woods chairs the SPEAR board. It will review operations, fundraising, accountability and other aspects of the Posse program. The Sheriff’s Office did not set an end date for the analysis.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.