Policy change allows Metro officers to carry approved rifles
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Metro police Chief Steve Anderson announced a policy change on Monday that will allow officers to carry personally-owned rifles in their police cars while they are on duty.
According to Chief Anderson, the policy change stems from tragic events that have occurred in the U.S. over the past several years.
"Deadly events across the United States over the past few years, including, among others, those in Carson City, Nevada; Aurora, Colorado; and Newtown Connecticut, demonstrate the high powered weapons with which criminals are arming themselves," Anderson said.
He continued, "It has become increasingly clear that a pistol and shotgun may not be enough for an officer to stop a threat to innocent citizens. This policy change is in the best interest of public and officer safety."
Previously, rifles were available to a limited number of officers in specialized assignments such as SWAT and Canine. Currently, mass distribution of Metro-funded rifles is cost prohibitive. The use of personally-owned rifles would help fill the gap.
The new policy requires proper training of officers and approval of rifles.
Officers must successfully complete a three-day training course on patrol rifle deployment.
Rifles of varying manufacturers based on the AR-15 model can be considered for use on patrol, but each rifle must be inspected and approved by staff at the MNPD Training Academy. Once the rifle is approved, no modifications can be made, and the firearm is subject to inspection at any time.
An MNPD news release states, "The new policy emphasizes that officers are to retrieve their rifles only when it is clear that a tactical advantage over a criminal suspect is warranted. The rifles are not to be used on routine calls."
An officer's authorization to carry a rifle can be revoked at any time if the guidelines are not followed.
Nearly a third of all officers currently own rifles.
The first training course is scheduled for later this month, with more expected to follow.