MCSO's Posse program now under review

- A member of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Posse has been arrested, accused of impersonating an officer.

According to investigators, David Isho allegedly got into an argument with several people that he claims were drag racing and trespassing, near 60th Street and Dixileta. According to deputies, Isho identified himself as part of MCSO, and used a hand gun to hold those people against their will.

Isho was part of the posse, but has since been booted out.

Incidents like the one involving Isho reportedly have members of Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone's review board concerned. Now, the posse program is being analyzed by the Sheriff's Executive Advisory Review Committee, or SPEAR.

SPEAR is the same group that reviewed Tent City, and recommended it be shut down for good.

Currently, those on the posse are issued badges and wear MCSO uniforms. Many also carry guns. The chairman of the SPEAR Committee said those are some of the privileges that may go away.

Their main concern is that citizens may be over-extending their powers as law-enforcement volunteers.

At its height, more than 3,000 citizen volunteers were part of the posse program.  Now, there are more than 800 members, and more than three dozen posses that operate independently.

Grant woods, the Chairman of SPEAR, said he understands specialty groups like the Search and Rescue, and Jeep posses, but said others may be on the chopping block.

"If it enhances public safety, great," said Woods. "If it's for PR, for publicity, it's out. No one's interested in that."

The committee is also looking into training, as not all posse members have the same level and types of training.

All of the posse members, current and former, that FOX 10 Phoenix spoke with did not want to go on camera. One man, who said he was on the posse for 12 years, claims the program is often "misunderstood", and that most have their hearts in the right place. He also said many posse members underwent thorough background and polygraph tests, and must meet stringent qualifications.

"We have heard many, many stories already of people who might be prominent members of the community who would just like to have a badge," said Woods. "That's not acceptable. That's been going on in the community and its gotta stop. Now is a good time, with a new sheriff in town, to take a look at it to make sure everything is done the way it should be in a professional organization in 2017. Its not 1917, It's 2017."

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