Under Barack Obama, a program allowing local law enforcement agencies and school districts to acquire surplus military weapons and equipment has flourished. The result has caused critics to lament the perceived militarization of such entities.
Furthermore, many of these weapons have been lost or misplaced, prompting the federal government to suspend participation in the program for about 100 different agencies.
For Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, however, the response has been even more severe. Arpaio, a strict lawman and frequent critic of the Obama administration, explained that his department has misplaced nine guns over the past two decades. As a result, he said, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is the only agency he is aware of that is being required to return every piece of equipment it has obtained through the program.
He is preparing to turn in around 200 weapons, nearly that many pairs of night vision goggles, and two armored vehicles – all of which must be surrendered within four months. In his typical style, though, Arpaio approached the news nonchalantly.
“It really doesn’t mean anything. Look at the handguns. They probably don’t work anyway. We have plenty of our own.”
The night vision goggles, he explained, were on their way to obsolescence with or without government intervention.
“We were buying those anyway. We have the money.”
Photo Credit: Facebook/Joe Arpaio