Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County, Arizona, has become well known as “America’s toughest Sheriff”, for his pro-active views of law enforcement. He has actively been working on enforcing laws that relate to illegal aliens and immigration, he makes his inmates where pink underwear and black and white striped uniforms, reminiscent of the old “chain gang” era and makes them live in tent cities.

This week he lost one of his own. One of his Detention Officers was shot and killed this week in his driveway, getting ready to go to work. Sheriff Joe, has now purchased brand new AR-15 rifles, that will be issued to Deputies to carry with them. Sheriff Joe says that they will be armed at all times, to protect themselves and to battle crime in County, as reported by The Blaze.

Phoenix Police artist sketch of murder suspect

Thursday morning, Jorge Vargas, was in his driveway, working on his truck, preparing to leave for work. An unknown assailant, shot Vargas and fled the scene. When authorities arrived on scene, Vargas was transported to the hospital but died of his injuries. Phoenix Police Department is taking the lead on the investigation but Maricopa County is assisting. The Police do not know at this time if Vargas was targeted for working for the Sheriff’s Department or if this was a random incident. An update, by local ABC affiliate,, produced the suspect sketch, above.

Sheriff Joe said, “Vargas was an 8 year veteran, who worked for the Sheriff’s Office Custody Support Bureau in the jail’s food factory but he often came into contact with inmates. I won’t call it an assassination or an execution, right now, I’ll call it a murder.”

Either way, Sheriff Joe is not taking any chances. He has purchased brand new Smith & Wesson rifles, for the Deputies to carry on and off duty. The rifles were purchased with seized money during arrests and investigations.

He is ordering Deputies to be armed at all times, on and off duty. Deputies will be required to take action if they witness a crime in the County. He said, “the rifles will ensure his officers are safe when faced with increasingly more powerful weapons in the hands of criminals.”

“My Deputies will carry guns 24 hours a day, even off duty. If they see any incident occurring, they will take action anywhere in this valley. We live in a violent society, even here in Maricopa County and across our nation and the least we can do is to arm our Deputies…with the firepower to fight back.” the Sheriff was quoted.

This is the kind of law enforcement we need and the Deputies of Maricopa County should be thankful for a leader that is willing to put them first. He has taken heat for many years, from the Federal government, media and law enforcement, for his old school law enforcement. He has been elected 6 times and has been Sheriff since 1993, after ending a stellar career with the DEA.

This is one of the hardest types of stories that I have to write. I have lost several friends by violence over my career. It is difficult and sad and always brings tears to my eyes. Sorry for your loss Sheriff Joe. We send our prayers to the MCSO family and Jorge’s family, he leaves behind his wife and 5 year old son.