Decatur police wants to arm more officers with AR-15s

Police officials said there's already enough money in the budget to purchase the extra fire arms. They just need the council's approval

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 5:20 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 6:53 PM

The Decatur police department wants to arm more of their officers with AR-15 rifles. This is the same semi-automatic weapon that's been used in several deadly mass shootings. If a mass shooting were to happen in Decatur, police officers want to be better prepared.

On Monday, Decatur police captain Chris Mathews asked the city council to approve the purchase of 20 AR 15's. This request comes just two weeks after the mass shooter used an AR 15 to kill 17 people in Parkland, Fl.

"And to have those types of guns to combat that, I think that's very important," said Misty Sappington who lives in Decatur.

Misty Sappington doesn't see an issue with police officers having extra fire arms, especially if a mass shooting were to ever occur.

"The more resources we can provide for them, the more protection it is for the citizens in this city. I think our police always do a great job, but they need more resources to help the with those type actions," Sappington said.

"We want to put a rifle in the hands of every front line officer. So, we've made a three year plan to purchase it so that every officer would have a rifle," said Captain Chris Mathews.

Captain Mathews said there's already money in the budget to purchase 20 AR 15's, the ammunition and accessories. Each rifle cost $1,203 each. They want to purchase 60 of them in the next three years. However, Matthews said not every front line officer will be given an AR 15. Some decided to purchase their own.

"What we've noticed nation wide is that when events happen, typically we'll have a rifle, shotgun or some type of long gun. We want to be proactive by giving our officers those rifles in the event of if something happens," Mathews said.

Right now, all first responding police officers have a stun gun and hand gun. Mathews said the hand gun is good for close distances. However, most mass shootings happen in larger areas.

"And a rifle is more accurate at a distance. We want to have all types of tools, but a rifle is a better tool at a distance," Mathews said.

Sappington said as a mother with children in school, the AR 15's are a good idea because officers wouldn't have to wait as long for a SWAT team to arrive.

"The safety is a main concern in our schools and our kids in the school. We need to be able to call those police officers who can respond at the same time as--the guns and ammunition that the other people are using," Mathews said.

Decatur city council will vote on the purchase at Monday's council meeting.

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