SUN CITY WEST – In the span of one week, the Sheriff’s Posse of Sun City West gained four new sworn members and lost five.
“The numbers are staying about the same right now until we get them turned around,” said Dan Fife, Posse commander in Sun City West.
Mr. Fife noted that after a little more than two years, the Posse now has eight new members, including four who were sworn in Tuesday, Sept. 20, but they lost 60 to 70 during the same time period.
“Finally the process started to work again where we can get new members, but unfortunately we live in an age-restricted community where a lot of them have been around for 10, 15, 20 to 30 years and they’re getting a little older now, and many of them are retiring,” Mr. Fife added.
The Sun City West Posse currently has about 100 Posse members that can patrol the streets and about 80 associates who help with the data processing, reception work and dispatch.
But, Mr. Fife said, “We were up over 300 at one time.”
In Sun City, Commander Danny Moore said that out of the 100 they have, 60 Posse can patrol while 40 are associates.
They swore in seven new and two returning members the beginning of September.
He pointed to the two-year period where they could not get new recruits as hurting them. Mr. Moore added: “We lost people because of the training, but there was almost a two-year period we weren’t able to hire anybody.”
In addition, he noted they lose members all the time due to aging and health reasons.
“We’re probably half of what we used to be,” said Mr. Moore.
The problem was, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was not processing applications because of the court proceedings involving Sheriff Joe Arpaio according to Mr. Fife. “They tied everything up two years before they would put on new hires,” he said.
The upside is that the sheriff’s office is starting to process applications.
Angelo Mogavero is one of the newly sworn Posse members in Sun City West.
A people person, who likes to serve, Mr. Mogavero said the role fits him.
“I can help people around Sun City West and be of service to them and help keep them safe,” said Mr. Mogavero who moved into the community nine months ago.
He learned about the Posse from a neighbor who was a member and set up Mr. Mogavero on a couple of ride-alongs. “I really enjoyed it,” he added.
Mr. Mogavero started training in March and it took six months before he was sworn in.
“There’s a lot of extra training that we’re doing, that we used to didn’t do years ago, that has just come into play the last two years,” said Mr. Fife. “It’s all court mandated stuff.”
He pointed out the court mandates certain classes that even sworn members who have been here there a long time have to take.
New recruits have a 20-hour class on the 4th and 14th amendments and current members need to take a 10-hour refresher class each year.
Some of the sworn members that dropped out in Sun City West do not want to deal with classes.
There are currently eight recruits in Sun City West, four ready to complete their training in Sun City with six looking to start training.
“We’re recruiting right now,” said Mr. Fife. “We’ve got a good batch coming through, but they take so long to process – background checks, fingerprinting.”
Mr. Moore noted the Sun City Posse would need 10 to 15 new applicants to get them to where they’re comfortable.
“We ideally need to be around 200 to function properly,” Mr. Fife added in reference to Posse members who can patrol.
The Sun City West Posse is actively seeking volunteers from the Boomer Generation.
“We have several people in the Posse that are part of the Boomers and very active in the Posse and very much used and needed and appreciated,” said Mr. Fife.
A 64-year-old Boomer, Mr. Mogavero added: “I think I’m really going to enjoy the posse, serving that community – being the eyes and ears of the MCSO.”
For more information on the Sheriff’s Posse of Sun City West, call 623-584-5808 or visit https://scwposse.com/, and for the Sheriff’s Posse of Sun City, call 623-972-2555 or visit http://www.suncityposse.org/
Tina Gamez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.