On Saturday, actor Steven Seagal oversaw the training of fifty volunteers from the Arizona sheriff’s volunteer posse on how to respond in the event that one or more shooters are present in a school, ABC announced on Feb. 9.
The intense training took place in the hallways and cafeteria at Four Peaks Elementary School, in the city of Fountain Hills, Ariz.
Six instructors, including Seagal himself, closely observed as each of the simulations were carried out in the hallways of the school, where volunteers responded to hazards generated by the hypothetical presence of armed men.
"I am here to try to teach the posse firearms and martial arts to try to help them learn how to respond quicker and help protect our children," Seagal said.
He said the volunteers are providing substantial assistance to protect schools of this county, so that in his opinion, it is also vital to recognize their work.
"Every little mistake you make is important, because in this way they learn," said the actor, who has extensive training in the use of weapons and melee combat.
Seagal is also cooperating with other law enforcement agencies in border states like Texas and New Mexico, where, he focuses primarily on the threat posed by drug cartels.
After the attack on Sandy Hook in Newtown, in which twenty children were killed by an armed teenager, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County implemented a security plan for the public schools of Maricopa in January.
As part of that plan, more than 3,000 volunteers patrol areas near schools, some of them carrying semiautomatic and automatic firearms.
During the Seagal training posse session, which lasted several hours, the group simulated confrontation situations between volunteers and two gunmen inside the school cafeteria.
To give more realism to the simulation, the volunteers used guns firing non-lethal rounds that leave a color mark.
Also participating in the drill, were young students, who are part of a club established by the sheriff's office for those who express a desire to one day become sheriffs or policemen.
“I believe we should put police officers in school, in uniform, armed,” the sheriff said. “But so far all the politicians do is talk, talk, talk, and so we’re out there doing something.”
He said that his office has faced several cases in which young people have been arrested for threatening to attack their school. One of them was arrested carrying a firearm on a school bus.
Like many of the initiatives that have been adopted Arpaio,80, the Seagal training posse has drawn criticism from various groups, which were present outside the school to express their anger.
"I do not agree with the presence of armed volunteers who have no experience outside my son's school," said Zofia Rawne, one of the protesters of the Seagal training posse the call for these workouts.
In his opinion, Arpaio has not taken into account the views of parents, teachers and principals.
Another critical of this initiative is Randy Parraz, who gathers signatures to initiate impeachment proceedings against the controversial sheriff.
"Look at all the team here, all the patrols. This is an abuse of power. All he wants is publicity, "he said.
For his part, Arpaio had harsh words for his critics, arguing that the only thing that motivates him is the safety of students.