FLORENCE — Pinal County’s sheriff plans to create an armed, all-volunteer posse to help spot drug smugglers and do intelligence support.

Sheriff Paul Babeu’s announcement was made with Sen. Sylvia Allen, who has sponsored legislation early this year to establish an armed volunteer border guard. The bill didn’t pass he House

The posse will not patrol or make arrests Babeu said Wednesday. They’ll instead be used as the eyes and ears of the sheriff’s tactical units in parts of western Pinal County where smugglers are prevalent, he said.

An existing armed posse transports prisoners and assists deputies on patrol.

Members of the new unit will get 100 hours of training and a background check, Babeu says.

Democratic Rep. Chad Campbell says that arming posse members without full police training is irresponsible.

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.