MCSO on the hunt for 9 missing firearms

PHOENIX - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is missing nine military firearms.

The Pentagon loaned the weapons to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in the early 90s, through a free program called 1033.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he took advantage of the program when he first came into office.

Arpaio acquired military tents to build the infamous Tent City. He also received 200 firearms from the program      

“At the time, we had a problem with computers and didn’t have a good records keeping situation,” said Arpaio.

In 2012, the Pentagon found out MCSO couldn’t account for nine firearms and immediately suspended MCSO from the program.

MCSO is still currently suspended from the program, according to Detective Mat Van Camp, the coordinator for the 1033 program in Arizona.

Sheriff Arpaio says he isn't worried though because the firearms date back to the Vietnam War and it’s unlikely they still work.

“These were 200 very old weapons but it was better than nothing,” said Arpaio,

Arpaio says MCSO is now able to afford to arm deputies – without help from the federal government.

Detective Van Camp said MCSO is currently the only sheriff’s office in Arizona to be suspended for losing weapons.

The 1033 program has come under intense scrutiny since the Ferguson, Missouri shooting.

When riots broke out in the streets, local officers responded in armored vehicles, automatic rifles and even some camouflage.

Some say officers looked more like soldiers than officers.

However, Detective Van Camp says some law enforcement agencies purchase military gear with their own money and don't use the 1033 program.

Van Camps says, in fact some items, like camouflage vests, aren't even given out under the 1033 program.

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