Marion police looking to buy assault weapons for street officers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Marion police looking to buy assault weapons for street officers

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

After the series of recent mass-shootings across the country, the Marion police department is looking to better equip its officers.

The police department is trying to purchase 25 semi-automatic AR-15 assault weapons for its officers on the streets.

Currently, only Marion's SWAT team carries assault weapons.

"In the old times the old days the officer would go there and try to secure the area and then we'd call in our swat or tactical team.  Well as we found out, that's not the best solution," said Marion Police Chief Harry Daugherty.

The fast growing city of about 35 thousand people near Cedar Rapids has the reputation of one of the safest in the state.

The city, though, says the recent school shootings are evidence that the first responders are overmatched should a similar threat hit the area.

Officers would be allowed to carry these weapons in their cars once properly trained. Chief Daugherty says the assault weapons would be used only to neutralize a potential threat.

"For me it's the protection of the citizens and protection of my officers, and this is the best way to do that because now they're going in there with a sidearm and maybe a shotgun and the assailant usually has an assault weapon," Daugherty said.

The hope is that these weapons never have to be used.

People living in the area gave mixed reaction to the news of the potential purchase.

"The protection that we have now is significant, bringing in more guns is just asking for more trouble," said Jennifer Rockwell while shopping in downtown Marion.

"If the police department and the police officers think its necessary I would defer to their judgement," said Kim Teneick of Marion. 

The new guns will ultimately be paid for by the officers themselves who are taking a deduction in their paychecks to make this happen.

The city council is expected to support and finalize the purchase later this week.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department currently gives its patrol officers an option to carry assault rifles as well after completing proper training.

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