Arpaio told KTVK-TV in Phoenix that he will use a volunteer posse to guard schools in towns in Maricopa County where the sheriff's office is the police force. He said Thursday he hasn't discussed the plan with school officials but says he will work with them.
"I have the authority to mobilize private citizens and fight crime in this county," Arpaio said.
After the killing of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, recommended posting at least one armed guard in every school. In Arizona, state Attorney General Tom Horne and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu have called for allowing principals and teachers to carry guns.
Arpaio has taken no position on armed teachers.
"I support arming cops in the schools," Arpaio said. "If you have a cop that's armed you don't need a teacher that's armed."