|Cops only permitted to buy Colt Brand AR's|
"You don't want to be in a situation where someone is shooting at you with a rifle," said Sgt. Tim Brockman, "and you're sitting there with a handgun."
The rifle most commonly used by law enforcement is the AR-15 carbine, a civilian variant of the military's M4 rifle.
But the weapons are so expensive — they cost up to $1,000 each and need to be modified for the individual user — that many departments give them only to special units, like SWAT teams.
That's why Tampa Bay's police agencies have long allowed patrol officers to buy their own.
The problem, according to patrol Sgt. Chris Emmert, was that not every officer could afford the expense of buying and equipping such a weapon. He's spent $2,500 on his own rifle.
"The younger or newer officers on the low end of the pay scale didn't have the financial means," Emmert said, "especially when trying to support their families."...
The ultimate goal, according to Emmert, is to have more firepower than your adversary...
The nation's police agencies learned in 1997 that they can't always wait for SWAT. That's when two heavily armed bank robbers outgunned dozens of Los Angeles officers armed with only revolvers, pistols and shotguns.
In the years since, the rifles have become standard issue. When St. Petersburg finally let street officers use their own rifles in 2004, it was one of the last Tampa Bay agencies to do so.
The move was spurred in part by a 2003 St. Petersburg incident: suspects armed with SKS rifles killed a bystander in a drive-by shooting, then fired at pursuing officers.
More recently, high-powered rifles were blamed for one of the city's worst tragedies. Police said an 8-year-old girl was killed in 2009 when her house was raked by AR-15 rifles.
The St. Petersburg Police Department is poised to undergo even more tactical changes today, proposals that were also spurred by the recent officer casualties..."But I don't think the public is worried about law enforcement officers. I think they're worried about the threats law enforcement seems to be facing."
Full Story is HERE
Like all too many agencies, roadblocks, harassment, excessive training requirements, and fear of public reaction has kept officers from reasonably obtaining patrol rifles. For these Florida Officers, they had to actually lose people by gunfire before they were grudgingly "permitted" to have the option to obtain patrol rifles. Much too high a price just for an equipment upgrade!...(S9)