Arpaio requiring deputies to carry assault rifles 24 hours per day

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has announced that he’s requiring all of his deputies to carry AR-15 assault rifles 24 hours per day.

Arpaio made the announcement Thursday, adding that even off-duty deputies are expected to take action if they see a crime being committed.

“While this decision may seem controversial to some in the public and among other law enforcement agencies, I have extreme confidence in the training and professionalism of the men and women deputies in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” said Arpaio.

This week, MCSO took possession of 400 AR-15 assault rifles.

“Last year, two of our deputies died under violent circumstances, and this year a deputy was shot several times but survived. Therefore, I want all my deputies to be armed with the greatest firepower available 24 hours a day,” added Arpaio.

MCSO said every deputy armed with the new weapons has undergone extensive training.

On Thursday morning, MCSO also lost one of their detention officers when Jorge Vargas was shot and killed in his driveway.

The suspect remains on the loose.