Sherriff Joe Gives All Deputies ARs To Carry Full Time
The legendary sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio has responded to the shooting of one of his people by issuing each and every sworn deputy in his office an AR-15. Not only will they have them, but also they are under standing orders to take them everywhere.
Who is Sheriff Joe Arpaio?
Elected by his local constituency in Maricopa County, Joseph M "Joe" Arpaio is a career lawman with over fifty years behind the badge. Before being elected as sheriff for now five terms, he served as a DEA agent for 25 years and before that wore the uniform of a US Army military policeman in Europe. However, you may know him best for his reinstitution of the chain gang, issuing county inmates pink uniforms, making them live in tent cities, or perhaps for his investigation into the Obama birth certificate. All of these things have earned him the title of "America's Toughest Sheriff."
The Jorge Vargas murder
(The late Jorge Vargas was an eight year veteran in the department. Sadly he was gunned down while unarmed; ambushed in his own driveway. Photo from Facebook.)
As reported by the Daily Mail last week, a corrections officer at Sherriff Joe's county lock up was viciously gunned down while in uniform standing in his driveway. Killed was 27-year old husband and father Jorge Vargas who was shot by persons unknown at 4AM. This is the third incident in recent months where MCSO deputies have experienced violence.
Deputy Vargas was laid to rest with full honors this week. You can make a donation to help the Vargas family may do so at any Wells Fargo location. The account number is 8373157778.
Citing that he needs his officers to be safe, some 400 deputies are being issued new Smith and Wesson AR-15 style patrol carbines on order of the Sheriff. While the exact model is not released, from the pictures at the news conference it seems that these are M&P-15 MOE Magpul Spec series rifles. You can tell that from the characteristic Magpul MVG (Vertical Grip), MOE grip, buttstock, handguard, PMAG, and folding MBU rear sights. These semi-auto .223-caliber carbines have 16-inch barrels and are civilian-legal in most states. Some news articles have mistakenly referred to these firearms as 'assault rifles' which is patently incorrect. Retailing on Smith's website for over $1200 a pop, this represents an investment of some half million dollars for the MCSO.
(S&W M&P-15 MOE, photo from Smith and Wesson)
These guns, bought with Rico funds, which come from seized drug money and sale of confiscated property at auction. With that in mind, the cost to the citizenry of Maricopa County for these new carbines is $0.00.
(Issuing the 400 S&W patrol carbines.AP photo)
Deputies will be carrying these firearms with them 24/7 both on and off duty.
Meanwhile, the killer of Jorge Vargas remains at large.