Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., has chimed in with an idea to prevent school shootings like the recent attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
The controversial sheriff, who’s raised his national profile by aggressively enforcing immigration laws and embracing tough-on-prisoners measures like chain gangs, wants to organize groups of armed volunteers to patrol the perimeters of schools in his county, which includes the city of Phoenix, the Associated Press reported.
More from GlobalPost: Sheriff Joe Arpaio probe ended with no charges filed
"No cost to taxpayers, they furnish their own equipment, they do not receive any salary," Arpaio explained in an interview with KTVK-TV on Thursday, Fox News reported.
Arpaio told KTVK-TV that he has the power to mobilize private citizens to fight crime, the AP reported.
He’s already assembled a posse of gun-toting volunteers who’ve been patrolling shopping malls during the holiday season, Fox News reported.
“The posse has the same training regarding guns as our regular deputy sheriffs, over 100 hours of training, plus refresher courses,” he explained, according to Fox News. “We should never have a defeatist attitude. Look to the future and take whatever precautions we can do. I don't just want to talk, I like action."
In recent weeks, other Arizona officials have suggested taking up arms against gun violence.
According to the AP:
Attorney General Tom Horne proposed firearms training for one person in each school, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu proposed training multiple educators per school to carry guns.
A spokesperson for Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal told Fox News that the superintendent’s office is considering several ideas for post-Newtown safety upgrades. In a statement, the office said: "In addition to potentially adopting one of these approaches, we would want to ensure all schools and districts complete the necessary intensive threat assessment and violence prevention training that create a comprehensive solution to create the safest possible environment for our students."
More from GlobalPost: Arizona’s prickly-pear politics