Sheriff Arms Cops with AR-15 Rifles

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Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that he is arming his deputies with AR-15 style rifles and ordering the deputies to carry weapons even when they are off duty. Local Phoenix affiliate Fox10 reports that Arpaio said the new rifles are essential to help local police combat criminals who are using increasingly powerful weaponry. "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, let's say with enough firepower to fight back." But the news that he is requiring the deputies to be armed and essentially on duty at all times is noteworthy. "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 said. Arpaio says the 400 new Smith & Wesson rifles were purchased using money obtained from arrests. The 81-year-old self-described "America's toughest sheriff" is no stranger to controversy, stemming primarily from his strict enforcement of the state's immigration laws.

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