San Angelo Police Chief, Tim Vasquez, discusses the importance of the new weapons, but emphasizes the need for additional officers.
Connie Gonzalez reports...
Council approved over $160,000 to purchase new AR-15 rifles for the San Angelo Police Department at a discounted rate.
SAPD Chief Vasquez says through the rifle purchase program the city does not lose money, and this allows officers to purchase this expensive weapon.
"AR-15 is a very versatile weapon and after going through the rifle training program myself, it's probably one of the best tools that we have," Vasquez said.
Vasquez says with the added 160 rifles SAPD has the fire power necessary to perform daily duties.
"You're so much more accurate. You can put distance between you and the suspect, and with everything going on around the country we just want to be prepared and the AR-15 platform, it's just perfect for law enforcement."
Weapons are a necessary tool in this demanding job, but manpower is crucial.
In August, Vasquez approached city council requesting 19 additional officers totaling an additional $1 million (M) per year, but has yet to receive an answer.
"They don't sense the urgency. They're not feeling it, and my guys they're feeling it."
Vasquez says the department is below the FBI per capita officers for the local population.
Caseload is increasing daily, and in order to maintain the quality of life in San Angelo, officers are being overworked.
"We need the personnel to continue doing what we were doing before and it hasn't been easy."
At the end of the year 2 officers will be retiring.