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  • 11 February 2013, 16:36

Steven Seagal Trains US School Guard 'Posse'

Action movie star Steven Seagal has been drafted in to train a volunteer armed posse to defend Phoenix-area schools against gunmen.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who calls himself  "America's Toughest Sheriff" - called on the Under Siege actor in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, which left 26 children and staff dead.

Sheriff's SWAT members acted as shooters, while teenagers played the part of students during mock scenarios involving up to three gunmen.

Seagal was there to lead training in hand-to-hand defence tactics, among other techniques, drawing on his expertise in martial arts.

The exercise took place on Saturday at a closed school site in suburban Fountain Hills.

Arizona Democratic politician Chad Campbell said getting Seagal in as an instructor was "ludicrous".

"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," he complained.

The Maricopa County volunteers dress in uniforms and drive marked vehicles, with some trained deputies authorised to carry guns.

They only go onto school grounds if they spot danger.

But even without the Hollywood association, the scheme had already attracted criticism.

Local town councillor Andrew Sanchez said he wants nothing to do with the posse patrols. 

"We are paying him to have certified deputies here, not to bring a circus and not to use our town as a political platform," he said.

"Why would people complain about my posse being in front of schools to act as prevention?" Sheriff Arpaio snapped back.

"I want everyone to know about it for the deterrence effect," he added.

Seagal was already a volunteer posse member in Maricopa County.

He has also been deputised with sheriff's offices in New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana - where he filmed a reality TV show, Steven Seagal: Lawman.

Among other notable people also in the Maricopa 3,000-strong volunteer armed posse is Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno and actor Peter Lupus from TV's Mission: Impossible.

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