"We Are There When Needed Most" since 1956

About the Posse

About the Sheriff's Office and the Posse

​The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) is a law enforcement organization headed by an elected official: The Sheriff (thus the reason it is an Office, not a department). The MCSO has jurisdiction over the entirety Maricopa County, and is responsible for law enforcement, particularly in non-incorporated areas (areas where the cities do not have their own police department). Even so, they often operate within city limits as well to supplement local police departments 

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as well as do things like serving warrants, participating in task forces and special events, and perform other law enforcement duties. In addition, the MCSO often provides support and assistance to local police departments, as well as state and federal agencies. In addition to law enforcement, the Sheriff's Office maintains the county jail system. 
The MCSO has 9,226 square miles of land to cover, larger than the entire state of Rhode Island, making the MCSO the 4th largest Sheriff's Office in the United States. This means that often times, with such a large area to protect, the Sheriff's Office can find itself needing the support of volunteers and the community to ensure the peace. 

Furthermore, with such a large area of space, a wide expanse of desert and wilderness, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is the agency responsible for all Search and Rescue operations within the county. The MCSO is one of the few agencies equipped and ready to handle Search and Rescue operations, and this major function is fulfilled almost exclusively by the Posse because of the dedication and resources made available by Posse Volunteers. 

A Worthy Proposal?

From the MCSO Posse Pamphlet

We live in a society that increasingly equates isolation with security. We pretend not to see the homeless man as we scurry into our doorman building or gated community. We erect barricades to block off streets and keep out gangbangers and hire private cops to patrol our streets and keep away drug dealers. 

That, of course, assumes people can afford doormen and gates and barricades and private cops. If we can't, then we're on our own. 

Americans fear crime as much as we fear for the future. One anxiety feeds the other, and with good reason, for the cancer of crime imperils all promise and hope for the future. 

"With the dedicated efforts of our posse volunteers, I was able to provide the best level of service to the citizens of Maricopa County without an increase in staffing or budget. The use of trained volunteer citizens has proved very successful." - Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio 

So we fight back by hiring more police, though our tax dollars can never be enough to employ more than a fraction of what is needed. In truth, even if we could afford millions of new officers, we'd only be more isolated, consumed by an occupying army. Yet we shall never be safe and feel safe until we regain control of our lives and our communities. 

As always, worthy proposals abound. There are Neighborhood Block Watches and Communities on Patrol. Now even the President has his Police Corps, a government program which pays for college in exchange for post college police service. Other ideas focus on strengthening the family, rebuilding our schools, and rekindling societal values. And now here's one more idea - a battle-tested one at that - to add to the mix. 

It's called the Posse. 

Origin of the Posse

Posses have existed in the west since territorial days. Often seen in western movies, the posse was rounded up to help the Sheriff capture outlaws. In real life, when Arizona became a state in 1912, the Sheriff's lawful authority to organize and operate (round up) posses was provided in the Arizona State Constitution. 

Maricopa County's earliest organized posse was formed over 60 years ago in 1941. Since then, many posses have been organized, each specialized and trained to perform a critical function for the Sheriff. Examples include the divers posse, helicopter posse, mountain rescue posse, community services posse, and several search and rescue posses. At present, there are over 650 members in the various posses within the office. 

Who participates in a Posse?

Citizens from all walks of life are posse members: from homemakers to attorneys, retired persons to ranchers. Because of the different missions of the many posses, almost all citizens over the age of 18 can volunteer time to serve their fellow citizens regardless of age or physical ability. Each Posse member must pass the same background investigation, interview process, and drug tests as Sheriff's Deputies. 

To learn more about the process of joining the posse, visit the 
How to Join  page. 

Current Day Posses
These days, Posses are formed into independent organizations. They all fall under the auspice and control of the Enforcement Support Division at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Usually as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, these posses maintain their own internal command structure, have their own requirements, policies, and by-laws, although all must conform to the Sheriff's Office policies. There are over 60 posses in active service with the MCSO, and while some come and go, there are many who have been around for many decades.

- To learn about all the things that Posses do, visit the 
What We Do  page.
- To learn about the training that Posse members go through, visit the 
What We Learn page. 

About the Jeep Posse

You probably came across this website because you were looking for information about the Jeep Posse. 

One of the earliest organized non-horse posses was the Maricopa County Sheriff's Jeep Posse, formed in 1956. The Jeep Posse carries on the tradition of the early posses and participates in all phases of law enforcement. The "Jeeps" provide valuable assistance to virtually every division within the Sheriff's Office. 

This assistance includes emergencies of every nature; particularly Search & Rescue missions, maintaining law & order on the lakes and rivers, backing up patrol deputies on dangerous calls; providing traffic control for accidents, special events and other duties as called upon by the Sheriff's Office. 

The Jeep Posse's main expertise is in the area of Search & Rescue. Over the years, because of our offroad capabilities and the fact that all Jeep Posse Members are required to be Qualified Armed Possemen (QAP), we have also consistently provided support to the Lakes and Mountain Patrol divisions as well as the regular districts. 

Much of the county is uninhabited desert and mountain terrain. As a result of the high use of these recreational areas by off-road enthusiasts, hikers, campers and boaters, (most of whom are untrained and unequipped for survival) all have become subjects of Search & Rescue operations. 

Stranded motorists, downed aircraft, and train derailments have also occurred in these remote areas. In response to this situation, Maricopa County has developed one of the most efficient and successful Search & Rescue organizations in the entire nation. 

The Jeep Posse is usually the first responders on the scene because of our training, quick response time, and off-road capability. The Jeep Posse motto is
"We are there when you need us the most"