Christopher Posillippo had a rude awakening Saturday in more ways than one.
Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies roused the Gilbert resident out of bed at 6:30 a.m. as part of a Valleywide roundup of parents suspected of being delinquent on child support.
If sheriff’s office information is correct, Posillippo, 30, is $38,732 behind on payments. He would have to pay $7,000 of it in order to be released from custody.
Posillippo said he was out of state for a while and got behind, but insisted that he had been paying regularly for the past 18 months to get caught up.
Posillippo was one of several Valley residents arrested from a list of 400 warrants for parents owing as much as $75,000 each in child support.
The sheriff ’s office recruited a volunteer posse of about 200 to follow up on the warrants as part of its annual Mother’s Day Roundup.
Although locking up delinquent parents is an everyday activity, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he likes to make an example of such people on certain holidays.
"I do it on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day," Arpaio said Saturday, "to send a message out."
Arpaio stressed that many noncustodial parents who don’t pay court-ordered child support are perfectly capable of making the payments.
For instance, deputies arrested former NFL player Eric Guliford of Peoria on Saturday. He played professional football from 1993 to 2000.
"When you’re a National Football League player a few years ago, you make money," Arpaio said.
The all-day roundup also included a help desk for custodial parents seeking child support payments, which was at a makeshift headquarters in the Park Central Mall parking lot in Phoenix.
It’s not just men who skip out on child support, Arpaio said. Of the 30 parents arrested by noon, four were women.
"I am an equal opportunity incarcerator," Arpaio said.