Pentagon wants military equipment accounting from Pinal County Sheriff's Office

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- The Pentagon office responsible for distribution of surplus military gear to law-enforcement agencies nationwide has asked the Pinal County Sheriff's Office to account for equipment. 

An estimated $7 million worth of excess military merchandise the sheriff's office obtained free over the past two years was lent to non-police organizations. 

Under federal regulations, police are able to requisition excess military equipment but they must be used for at least one year for law-enforcement purposes. However PCSO was reported to have distributed vehicles and other equipment to public-safety agencies that do not enforce laws.

Also in question is a budget presentation where the sheriff's office proposed a sale of military gear at auction to raise upwards of $500,000.

The Pentagon is asking for records verifying what equipment has been lent to other organizations. 

More than 17,000 police departments took part in the program during fiscal 2011, acquiring $500 million worth of gear.