/ Modified feb 25, 2013 5:45 p.m.

Counties Take Different Paths to School Safety

Pima, Maricopa have own approaches deal with threats

The school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December reignited discussions about how to keep schools and the children in them safe.

On a recent Saturday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a training session at a closed school with members of the sheriff’s posse. Arpaio is using the all-volunteer group to patrol outside schools and be first responders if there is a security incident.

The training put the volunteers in three scenarios in which deputies acted as shooters, and it was up to posse members to take them down. Everyone involved used guns that fired blanks or paint bullets. The halls and classrooms were filled with volunteer students to add to the realism.

Watch Scenario 1


Watch Scenario 2


Watch Scenario 3

(VIDEO: azpm)

Arpaio said he is using posse volunteers to save money because he said he isn’t getting federal money for specialized training and response.

At a news conference before the training, Arpaio introduced posse member and Hollywood action star Steven Seagal, saying Seagal was there to help train other posse members.

In Pima County, the sheriff’s office is taking a different approach. Deputies train for specific scenarios, and they offer training to the public. Pima County Sheriff’s SWAT team member Lt. John Stuckey says deputies train people in how to respond if there is shooting at their work or school.

First he says, run. If you don’t have to be there, try to escape. Next, Stuckey says, if you can’t escape, hide. Finally, he says, fight back. Stuckey says shooters have one thing on their minds - hurting people. So if you can distract them you may save a life.

He also cautions: “Don’t be an action hero.”

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said in his State of the City address last week that he hopes to get police officers back in schools. He says he hopes the president and Congress will come up with money for the program.

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