ALACHUA – The Alachua City Commission has approved funds to update and strengthen firearms used by the Alachua Police Department’s School Resource Officers.
Updated weapons will ensure that officers are armed with a rifle of equal or better firepower and range than the civilian AR 15 or similar semi-automatic rifles used by gunmen in recent shootings. These rifles have a clip that holds 30 or more rounds and is easily changeable, which may leave officers outgunned by superior firepower. Law enforcement staff determined that the Sig Sauer MCX rifle is most suitable for the school environment as it is compact, collapsible and may be quickly deployed for rapid response during a critical incident. These rifles can be carried discretely in a case worn by the officer.
Alachua Police Department Chief Chad Scott said that the new rifles will be in the officer’s possession at all times. Putting them in a safe or car trunks until needed loses critical moments and may not allow the officer to get to the weapon in a critical situation. Seconds matter when an active shooter has a semi-automatic assault rifle and the officer has to be able engage the shooter quickly to minimize casualties. The recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School only lasted six minutes in which 17 people were killed and 17 wounded.
Scott said that not only would the rifles give the officer the firepower and the ability to react quickly to an active shooter, but would also deter attacks before they happen. “Most of these shooters have surveyed their target prior to the incident and planned it out to create the most damage. They are after easy targets. If they know the school has a well-armed Resource Officer they are less likely to attack,” Scott stated.
The commission also approved the cost of DNA analysis for investigations as well as the purchase of the four new rifles. The purchases will be paid for from the City’s Forfeiture Fund. Scott requested a total transfer of $10,450 of which $6,760 would be for the cost for DNA analysis related to applicable investigations and $5,718 would be for the purchase of four rifles for School Resource Officers.
The Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act (FCFA) allows law enforcement agencies to use proceeds collected under this act as supplemental funding for authorized purposes. The FCFA provides for the seizure and civil forfeiture of property related to criminal and non-criminal violations of law. Contraband and other property may be seized when utilized during a crime or when the property was gotten either illegally or obtained by profits from illegal activity.
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