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PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will soon welcome the arrival of 400 semi-automatic assault rifles.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his department is purchasing the weapons to make ensure his deputies are not out-gunned.

"The profession is obviously becoming far more dangerous as more criminals seem to be only too willing to fire at officers and deputies," he said in a release.

The guns will be purchased using the MCSO's fund forfeited by drug dealers at an estimated cost of $500,000. The purchase will make MCSO home to the largest number of semi-automatic assault rifles in the nation.

"My goal is to keep the community and my deputies safe, so we look far and wide for the best people and best equipment," Arpaio said.

The guns will be distributed to all deputies by the spring of 2013.

KTAR Newsroom,

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