Metro Police Prepare To Carry Rifles - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Police Prepare To Carry Rifles

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Metro Police patrol officers will soon carry their own rifles in their police cars. It's a new and affordable option Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson said will be implemented almost immediately after some training.

Since last month's massacre of 26 people including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School security has changed all over the country. In Nashville, the Metro Police Department is taking steps to better arm first responding officers.

"We're not going to be sitting outside a school in an active killer situation. We're going to respond to that situation. We're going to make a tactical approach. We're going to make a tactical entry and we're going to try and eliminate the threat before someone else is killed," said Burl Johnson, with Metro Police.

After some training, officers like Burl Johnson will carry their own personal patrol rifles in their police cars while they're on duty. Johnson said he will carry an AR-15 assault rifle.

"We hope and pray the weapon is not going to have to be brought out of our trunks. That's where they're going to be kept," he said.

The officers will be required to take three days of training at the Metro Police Training Academy. Before this decision was made only SWAT and Canine officers could carry rifles in their cars. Patrol officers are issued a pistol and a shot gun.

"We believe it is in the best interest of public safety and officer safety to allow trained patrol officers to have rifle availability in their police cars," said Metro Police Spokesperson Don Aaron.

Aaron said the department has been considering this option for several years. The first training course is scheduled for next week and the class is already full. Many officers are expected to take advantage of the new policy.

"We try to keep Nashville a safe city, but the potential for somebody to want to cause harm and do harm is out there and we want to be able to meet that threat and stop that threat," said Johnson.

About a third of the city's 1,400 officers own their own rifles. Chief Anderson said there is not a plan to buy rifles for the officers. He said it would be too expensive.


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