FILE -- In this July 17, 2012, file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a press conference in Phoenix. The tough-talking sheriff is the last man standing of the three Phoenix politicians who made Arizona a leader in the crackdown against illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona sheriff has launched a plan to have as many as 500 armed volunteers patrol areas just outside schools in an effort to guard against school shootings.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office said Wednesday that the patrols were launched earlier this week at 59 schools in unincorporated areas of metro Phoenix and communities that pay his agency for police services.
Arpaio hopes to have as many as 400 posse volunteers and another 100 volunteers known as reserve deputies take part in the patrols, though they won't all be patrolling at the same time.
The sheriff says school shootings in Connecticut and elsewhere and last month's arrest of an Arizona student accused of planning an attack at her high school led to his decision to launch the patrols.