SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Arpaio returns military surplus equipment to federal government

Impact to Sheriff’s operations minimal as office has new resources to protect public and deputies
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PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his deputies have identified the old military equipment issued to his agency as part of what is now called the Pentagon’s ‘1033 Program’ and his Office is more than willing to relinquish the vintage equipment to the federal government now that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has been terminated from the program. The Sheriff has 120 days to return the gear.

The termination notice was made last week by the Defense Logistics Agency after the federal agency determined that one rifle and eight handguns issued to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office since the program began in the mid 1990’s were missing.

“I cannot say for certain that terminating my office from the program isn’t just another way for Washington to take a swipe at me personally,” Sheriff Arpaio says. “And what’s more, the timing of this ‘termination’ is highly suspect. But in the end, what is absolute is that the impact of the termination of the 1033 military surplus program will be negligible to my patrol operations.”

At a press conference today inside the new Sheriff’s warehouse at 3340 West Gibson Lane, Sheriff Arpaio had on display examples of the older military equipment issued to his office including rifles, hand guns, and night vision goggles. Very little of the equipment, he says, is even used by patrol deputies particularly now that an abundance of state of the art, high tech equipment is now in the hands of the Sheriff’s Office.

Also on display was this vast array of state of the art equipment from weapons to all terrain ballistic personnel carriers and night/thermal vision technology to high tech communications equipment the Sheriff has acquired.

“We have plenty of modern day weaponry, munitions, and SWAT vehicles, mobile command posts, rapid response vehicles, helicopters, mobile DUI testing vehicles, night vision technologies, a 50 caliber machine gun, tents for detention,” Arpaio says. “And the posse augments our fleet with specialty equipment of its own. We will do just fine without the 1033 program.”

The militarization of local police departments came into the national spotlight recently, after a shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri by police last month and the subsequent police actions to quell ensuing civil disturbances there.

Last week, under pressure by events in Missouri and at the prompting of the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Senate in Washington convened hearings to scrutinize the 1033 program and determine whether there has been sufficient oversight by local and federal officials of the various military equipment issued to local police agencies throughout the nation.
Coincidentally, before those hearings were even convened, Arpaio was notified of his Office’s termination from the program.

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