By Roger Ball
It’s 10 a.m. on a recent Monday and Jan Vejraska, Sheriff’s Posse of Sun City West captain, is getting ready to serve a few hours as a duty officer, supervising and coordinating the work of three other Posse member and a dispatcher.
On this shift Ms. Vejraska and her colleagues are wearing the tan uniforms of the Sheriff’s Posse and drive cars identical with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office vehicles, including the MCSO star.
One of the Posse members patrolling the shift that day is John Quinn, who is a qualified armed posse member who has undergone considerable additional training. In addition to what the other Posse members are wearing, Mr. Quinn is equipped with a gun, ammunition, bulletproof vest, handcuffs, pepper spray and a baton.
Ms. Vejraska and the other Posse members that shift are unarmed, though wearing the MCSO uniform.
On some shifts, the posse members are wearing the light blue of the Sun City West Posse, a complimentary agency that was formed when Sheriff Paul Penzone abruptly stopped the activities of all posses in January. The training for the two groups is the same, except members of the Sheriff’s Posse must undergo extra court ordered instruction as a result of alleged activities committed by deputies while Joe Arpaio was sheriff.
The duty officer divided the community into three geographical areas, one for each patrol unit.
The Posse members check churches, rec centers water wells and golf courses in their division. Additionally, they will each check several vacation watch homes in their division and driving as many residential streets as possible.
“911 calls are our most frequent interruption,” Ms. Vejraska said. “It’s not unusual to have eight or nine 911 calls per shift.”
Posse members don’t investigate crimes or vehicle accidents but provide cones, traffic direction and scene security to assist MCSO deputies. For calls that involve checking on the welfare of a resident, the posse member is often much closer than the deputy will first arrive at the scene.
The Posse members also respond to all medical and fire calls in the community to help with traffic and crowd control.
Ms. Vejraska said all information between the patrol car and dispatcher is done in codes. Vacant homes under vacation watch, for example, are assigned a code so the address never goes out over the radio.
The patrol shift on this particular Monday ended at 5:30 p.m. as the night shift was going out. The outgoing and incoming duty officers discuss issues and any unfinished business.
As a former commander of the posse, Ms. Vejraska, is excused from required patrol duty, but she patrols several hours each month anyway.
“I just like to serve,” she said.
Posse officials encourage Sun City West residents to join their organization.
Residents can visit the headquarters, 20450 Stardust Blvd., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or call 623-584-5808.