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Broken Arrow police officers getting assault rifles


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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 10/09/2012 6:38 pm Published: 10/09/2012 6:18 pm


The Broken Arrow Police Department is bringing in the "big guns," literally.

The Broken Arrow City Council cut a check for more than $75,000 to buy assault rifles for the police department.

While most departments in the region have some assault rifles, BAPD will be the first large police force in Green Country in which every patrol officer will carry an AR-15.

Most of the officers already have the weapons and the necessary training. By the end of the year, every officer with the rank of Sergeant or below, roughly 90 in all, will be trained and certified to use an AR-15.

Officers will still carry their pistols and shotguns, but the AR-15 will be another weapon in their arsenal.

The assault rifles look intimidating, but on Tuesday Officer Scott Oelke said that's the point.

"They're safe, they're secure, and our officers are trained with them," Oelke said. "But we do get a lot of questions about the rifles now that we're carrying them."

The problem is plenty of other people are also carrying them, and many are criminals.

"[We] see on the national news where more and more suspects are using body armor and have bigger fire power than the law enforcement community," Oelke said.

"We need to have a more powerful weapon in case we come into a situation where we have to come into contact with suspect that may have body armor, fully automatic, semi-automatic weapons," Cpl. Leon Calhoun said.

Officers have already come across situations like that. Earlier in the summer a local Radio Shack store was robbed, and the robbers were wearing body armor. Had officers gotten into a standoff with the robbers, their pistols and shotguns likely would not have been able to penetrate the bullet-proof vests, but the AR-15 could.

The assault rifles are powerful and accurate enough to hit a target 500 yards away. But they're also lightweight and maneuverable.

"At any time while I'm on patrol I can access my weapon from the cab of my car," Oelke said. "Before, a lot of time we would have to go to the trunks of our cars."

The assault rifles are mounted and locked directly next to the driver seat of the patrol car. The car has to be turned on to unlock the mount, and only the officer unlock the gun from the mount. When officers are off-duty, the assault rifles are removed and locked in a secure room to keep people from trying to steal them.

Oelke said the most important part of getting the AR-15s, though, is that they make officers feel safer.

"It gives the officers a lot more comfort to have a weapon that is a lot more powerful and more versatile," he said. "We can utilize it in almost every instance that we do our job."

All of the officers will continue to go through tactical training and be re-certified to use the AR-15s every year.

The Broken Arrow Police Department is also upgrading other weapons.

The department replaced a lot of officers' handguns, so that every officer now carries the same uniform Glock pistol. Department leaders say having uniform weapons throughout the department makes it easier on officers in dangerous situations because it allows them to share magazines or even share weapons if necessary.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Frank Lee - 10/13/2012 5:16 AM
0 Votes
This is total "Over Kill" and clearly a waist of taxpayers money. Clearly no one on city council did their homework. There are plenty of hand gun rounds available that are restricted, and available for sale to the police and military only,that will defeat body armor that can be used in their existing weapons that they already carry on their person.. It would seem totally insane to me, let alone anyone else in their right mind, to waist the time, when precious seconds count in a gunfight by leaving it,..as to go back into a vehicle to access a locked up weapon. This can get that officer killed let alone others! Logic dictates if you suspect they are wearing body armor, just shoot them in the head! Here's the rub..If you can't do that with an $700+ pistol you are supposed to be familiar with and carry at your side during your shift , than can't shoot worth a damn. So what makes anyone think $1,500+ high powered rifle with armor piercing bullets is going to make a person shoot any less worse under pressure..?? Especially after a few cups of coffee and caffeine energy soda's to get them through their shift. Speaking of which... If you think $175,000 dollars is a lot to pay for this ignorance.. Wait until the first wrongful death of an innocent bystander or child 3 or 4 blocks away happens.. Fact: Many cops under pressure in a gun fight when some one is shooting back at them can't hit the broad side of a barn. Especially so, if the target is moving! The stats are all over the web both on law enforcement sites and the FBI's They say they are getting these AR's to for the sole reason of making the officers feel safe.. Hypothetically how much comfort would it be to the innocent grandmother 2 blocks away watching fox news as she gets struck by a stray round that was not intended for her?? This is just stupidity and madness, and the combination of both scares the hell out of me..

Unwashed Mass - 10/10/2012 3:19 PM
2 Votes
At some point people are going to figure out that cops returning from Iraq think that what worked there will work here, and then it will be too late.

mustangdriver - 10/10/2012 11:56 AM
0 Votes
They are fighting meth zombies unwashed mass. These AR-15's are essential for putting down the scum buckets. Too bad you didn't let the casino get built, I'm sure they would have been happy to buy these AR-15's for the city of Broken Arrow. They would have generated enough tax dollars to buy twice this many AR's by now. Oh wait, enough is enough right? Don't need anymore tax dollars. Broken Arrow has the best streets in this state right? :)

AF vet - 10/10/2012 11:40 AM
0 Votes
Good for them. I worked in law enforcement in the 70's and carried my personal CAR-15. I had the ability to de-escalate a situation before force was required. We also had to purchase our own ballistic vest. Times have changed, and not always for the best. Be safe out there!

CowBot9000 - 10/10/2012 7:34 AM
3 Votes
Why do a bunch of tax collectors need AR-15s? This isn't California. When have criminals around here donned body armour and engaged in lengthy shoot-outs? If they're worried about something like that, a sniper would be a much better asset.

GAVILAN - 10/9/2012 9:08 PM
0 Votes
TULSA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS HAS GROWN OKLAHOMA IS NOT THE SAME ANYMORE THERE HAS BEEN MORE KILLINGS AND ROBBERIES AS WELL AS MORE WEAPONS IN THE STREETS I BELIEVE ITS GOOD FOR OFFICERS TO HAVE THESE TYPES OF WEAPONS BUT TO PUT THEM IN TO GOOD USE NOT BE USING THEM AGAINST INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO PAY TAXES

Unwashed Mass - 10/9/2012 8:18 PM
3 Votes
"We can utilize it in almost every instance that we do our job." -- because there's no problem that cant be solved with an assault rifle.

Unwashed Mass - 10/9/2012 8:15 PM
5 Votes
Who are they at war with? How much kill-power do you need to check car window tinting? The only thing crazier than this are the people of Broken Arrow who dont know how to say "Enough!"

Mayor Maynot - 10/9/2012 7:52 PM
1 Vote
I understand the need for these weapons. $17,000.00 I sure hope that each user involved has their own personal gun safe. It's ignorant to believe that these jewels won't go home with the officers that they are assigned to. More security on more levels is necessary for more high powered weapons. Insure that you can house these weapons safely before authorizing their purchase.
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