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Sheriff Arpaio affixes flags to jail suits worn by ex-military inmates in Maricopa County

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio shows his badge as he holds a ceremony where 92 of his immigration jail officers, who lost their federal power to check whether inmates are in the county illegally, turn in their credentials after federal officials pulled the Sheriff's office immigration enforcement powers Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, in Phoenix.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security stripped Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail officers of their federal powers after federal authorities accused the sheriff's office last week of a wide range of civil rights violations. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio shows his badge as he holds a ceremony where 92 of his immigration jail officers, who lost their federal power to check whether inmates are in the county illegally, turn in their credentials after federal officials pulled the Sheriff's office immigration enforcement powers Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, in Phoenix. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security stripped Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail officers of their federal powers after federal authorities accused the sheriff's office last week of a wide range of civil rights violations. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (AP2011)

The self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” has begun rolling out a uniform change at Maricopa County jails, saying he assigned inmates who are military veterans to hand out striped jail suits with U.S. flags now stitched onto them.

The uniform change that adds flags to the jail suits was announced last week. It went into effect Monday, Independence Day.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says affixing the flag to the uniforms is about honoring the nation’s heritage.

The Arizona sheriff is famous for making inmates wear pink underwear, and for business raids aimed at finding people who used fake or stolen IDs to get jobs.

A federal judge is mulling changes to Arpaio’s office in response to a contempt-of-court ruling against him and a top aide for defying a 2011 order to stop their immigration patrols.

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