Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona announced Thursday he will start requiring his deputies to carry AR-15s at all times and expects them to use the weapons to fight crime even when they're off duty.
“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,” Arpaio said, according to AZ Family.
While announcing the new requirement, Arpaio noted that two of his deputies "died under violent circumstances" last year and another "was shot several times but survived."
"I want all my deputies to be armed with the greatest firepower available 24 hours a day," Arpaio said.
Jorge Vargas, a 27-year-old detention officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, died earlier this week after he was shot in the driveway of his home, apparently while getting ready for work. Arpaio, who is still searching for his colleague's killer, said he does not know the motive for the killing, or whether the officer was targeted, according to NBC.
"Right now the main mission is to find this guy and get him in jail," Arpaio said during a press conference on Vargas's death.