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Pentagon asks Babeu to account for surplus military gear

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — The Pentagon is asking the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office for an account of $7 million worth of military equipment issued to non-police agencies.

The Arizona Republic reports the Defense Department has requested records from the county verifying what gear has been lent to other organizations.

Sheriff Paul Babeu’s office said Tuesday the request stems from a previous Arizona Republic report. The Republic says the sheriff’s office was doling out some equipment over the past two years while preparing to sell other property to improve its budget.

Regulations require items to be issued and used exclusively for law-enforcement purposes.

Payson Police Det. Matt Van Camp, who coordinates the Pentagon’s equipment distribution program in Arizona, says the Pentagon is trying to determine whether giving gear to emergency-response organizations should be allowed.

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