PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is planning to order 400 semi-automatic assault rifles in an attempt to make sure their deputies aren’t out armed when they’re out in the field.
MCSO announced on Wednesday that each patrol car will be equipped with one of the assault rifles.
The guns, which will be ordered in the next few weeks, will cost about $500,000. They will be paid for with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s RICO fund, which is made up of money forfeited from drug deals and drug dealers.
Sheriff Arpaio said the increasingly dangerous nature of the job led to his decisions to purchase the assault rifles.
“The profession is obviously becoming far more dangerous as more criminals seem to be only too willing to fire at officers and deputies,” said Arpaio.
Deputies should receive their assault rifles by the spring. The move will make MCSO the home to the largest number of semi-automatic assault weapons in the country.
“My deputies are often out in rural areas, sometimes alone or with back up that is several minutes out,” said Arpaio. “Also, because we are front and center in the fight against drug and human trafficking, my deputies need all the protection we can provide.”