The self-proclaimed 'America's Toughest Sheriff' has joined forces with action movie star Steven Seagal to train volunteer armed posse members to defend Phoenix-area schools against gunmen.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced the controversial plan in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting in which 20 kids and six adults were killed.
According to the Huffington Post, the exercise took place on Saturday at a closed school site in suburban Fountain Hills, outside Phoenix, where sheriff's SWAT members acted as shooters and teenagers played the part of students during mock scenarios involving up to three gunmen.
Seagal, best known for his roles in movies such as 'Above the Law' and 'Under Siege', has planned to lead training on hand-to-hand defense tactics, according to a sheriff's office news release.
Arizona Democratic House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called the plan to use Seagal as an instructor 'ludicrous'.
He said that 'Steve Seagal is an actor. That's it. Why don't we also have Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris and Bruce Willis come out and train them too while we're at it'?
Campbell has been a vocal critic of Arpaio's school posse protection plan, complaining that using untrained, armed civilians to protect students is a bad idea and likely will only make the facilities more dangerous.
According to the report, the patrols were launched at 59 schools in January throughout unincorporated areas and communities that pay Arpaio's agency for police services.
The sheriff announced this week he needs more members to continue the patrols, calling for 1,000 additional citizens to step up and volunteer, the report said.
Current posse members already are used to bolster the sheriff's office force by providing police protection at malls during the holidays, directing traffic and transporting people to jail.
Arpaio even sent one group of posse members to Hawaii to conduct an examination into the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate, it added. (ANI)