Information about these tax-deductible donations can be found online atwww.pinalcountyjusticefoundation.org or by calling 520-866-5133.
PINAL COUNTY, AZ - The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to pay for assault rifles so its deputies are better armed against Mexican drug cartels.
Sheriff Paul Babeu said his deputies are outmanned and outgunned by violent criminals.
Now, Babeu wants to arm all of his deputies with semi-automatic rifles, saying his deputies have seen a growing number of violent encounters involving high speed chases and shootouts, including one in April where a group of drug smugglers are accused of shooting a deputy patrolling the desert.
“This is the weapon that they need to best protect themselves and to stop the threat continuing against the public,” said Babeu.
Babeu said it would cost $200,000 to arm more than 200 of his deputies with the new rifles.
Instead of applying for federal grants or asking his supervisors for the money, he's asking you to pay for it saying it would take months to get approval otherwise.
“In this case, we're going directly to the public asking them because it is an immediate need,” said Babeu.
Deputy Samuel Swafford knows he has a risky job. Two years ago, he spent more than $3,000 of his own money to buy his own assault rifle he carries with him on duty.
“The reason I bought my own rifle is because just basically more fire power. We're always encountering people that have automatic weapons so we're always outgunned,” said Swafford.