Montgomery left the prosecutor’s office in September 2019 for a seat on the Arizona Supreme Court.
The Republic said Montgomery won’t answer specific questions about weapons and ammunition purchases, the creation of an arsenal, what prompted the rifle program or if it was modeled on another agency.
Rick Romley, who served as county attorney from 1989-2004 and briefly as interim leader of the office in 2010, said he’s dumbfounded by the rifle training and weapons purchases.
“Why do you need all those rifles? And an armory?” Romley said. “I don’t really understand it. I don’t understand the need.”
Romley said he couldn’t envision a need to assign semi-automatic weapons to every investigator and dismissed the idea that investigators could act as first responders.
“That’s not our primary role,” he said. “To be a first responder, you have to have training in tactics that we didn’t have.”
Romley said he could not recall a case where a county attorney employee was forced to fire a weapon in the line of duty.
Andrew Thomas, who took over as county attorney in 2004, also did not attempt to beef up the weapons program.
Records show in 2009 he sought to replace 10-year-old handguns by trading 45 used Glocks for 51 new ones.