01/09/2013 02:35 pm ET

Joe Arpaio On Posse Critics: It's 'Ridiculous' To Focus On Members' Pasts

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addressed his controversial armed posses Wednesday, insisting the groups are safe for schools.

"They're well-trained," Arpaio said during an interview with CNN. "[They've had] 100 hours in training on guns."

The armed posses officially started patrolling dozens of Maricopa County schools Wednesday. Arpaio said the group of volunteers has "proved" its record after patrolling several Arizona malls over the holidays.

Arpaio also dismissed those who have expressed concern over the criminal pasts of several members of the posse.

"We have people in law enforcement, including my agency, that have problems," Arpaio said. "That's just a copout. That's ridiculous. [Critics] don't really understand what they're talking about. This posse is well-trained. They're covered liability-wise. They have the authority to enforce the law once I mobilize them. and that's what we're going to do."



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