Joe Arpaio Rifles: Arizona Sheriff Issues Officers AR-15 Assault Weapons
Residents of Maricopa County, Ariz. are about to see some heavily armed police officers.
Controversial county sheriff Joe Arpaio, who calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff" and is known for his strong and vociferous stances against immigration, is arming his deputies with AR-15 assault rifles.
"We live in a violent society, even here in Maricopa County, and across our nation, and the least we can do is to arm our deputies . . ." Arpaio said, according to Fox News. "My deputies will carry guns 24 hours a day, even off duty. If they see any incident occurring, they will take action anywhere in this valley."
He ordered 400 of the assault rifles, which were paid for by money accumulated from arrests.
According to Fox, Arpaio made the announcement on the same day that a local sheriff, Jorge Vargas, was shot and killed outside of his home while off duty.
Among other controversial policies, the 81-year-old sheriff has also been known for dispatching armed law enforcement volunteers at county schools. The Associated Press reported that these volunteers are given marked sheriff vehicles to patrol the school area.
Arpaio has faced heavy criticism over the years and the New York Times editorial board has called him "America's Worst Sheriff." In 2012, he was sued by the Justice Department for racially profiling Latinos in Maricopa County and was ordered to halt his policy of arresting anyone he or his deputies thought might be undocumented.