Killeen: Police Want To Arm Officers with Semi-Automatic Rifles

By: Rachel Cox Email
By: Rachel Cox Email

KILLEEN (May 8, 2014) Killeen police officials want to arm every officer in the city with military-style semi-automatic rifles.

The request to purchase 231 FNH FN-15 carbines was presented to the City Council by Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin on Tuesday.

Baldwin said the total cost would be just more than $200,000 and he recommended that the funds be drawn from a 2013 Justice Department grant, the state seizure account and a seized weapons credit.

A seized weapons credit is created when police departments sell back weapons that have been seized from criminals for money that can be spent on new weapons for officers.

According to Mayor Dan Corbin the manufacturer of the FN-15 would be taking Killeen's seized weapons in return for a credit on the new rifles.

Other money from the state's seizure account would be used, which includes funds from the sale of items like cars that are seized by Killeen Police.

Corbin said by doing this the taxpayers won't have to foot the bill for the new weapons.

"We would be basically buying these weapons with money from criminals," Corbin said.

Baldwin's presentation cited an ever-growing demand of the policing mission to provide the most effective and safe policing performance as a reason to purchase the guns.

He said the guns would better prepare officers who encounter criminals with superior firepower.

Central Texas College's Police Academy Program Coordinator Patrick Boone said the move to put firearms like these in the hands of police officers has been happening across the country since the late 90s.

Boone said after a deadly shootout between bank robbers and LAPD officers in 1997 in North Hollywood where officers were outgunned and later turned to a nearby gun store for more high-powered weapons sparked the movement.

Eleven police officers and seven civilians were injured in the shootout that eventually left the two robbers dead.

Currently in Killeen the members of the SWAT team are the only officers who carry similar weapons.

In Waco all officers are not equipped with this type of rifles.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said the department allows officers to carry these styles of weapons if the officer already owns one.

The officers are required to go through extra training which the city provides funds for.

The city also provides funds for the ammo used in the weapon.

Swanton said while there hasn't been a pressing need currently for the city to make moves to put a semi-automatic rifle in the hands of all officers it is an option for the future.

In the meantime he says he's made the decision to purchase and carry a weapon like this.

The council will vote on the issue at its meeting next Tuesday.


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