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Altus police purchase own high-caliber guns

Altus_The Altus Police Department is getting some new crime fighting tools thanks the City Council. It has approved a request from the police department to allow officers to purchase their own guns since they got a better deal than the city could have. The department was able to buy the guns in bulk, and at a discount. While the city will pay for the guns up front, the officers will have the purchase price taken out of their paychecks and will own the guns themselves.

The department will get 40 AR-15 semi-automatic weapons, and so far, says every officer has asked to participate in the program. Officer Mike Munn spearheaded the project to acquire the high-caliber weapons, and says it's because officers never know what they'll encounter when they're on the job - even if it's as simple as a traffic stop. "It's also a lot steadier than a pistol - a lot of people have trouble shooting a pistol and the aim and control is a lot better, too," he said.

He says the pistols and shotguns they carry now don't have the range of the AR-15, and he wants to be prepared for potential drug problems. "We've got a lot of stuff coming from Mexico, and it's progressively moving north throughout the U.S.," he said. He says the criminals have these weapons, and so should police.

While Munn says he hopes he never has to use the weapon, he expects that by letting the public know they are better armed it could stop a lot of criminals in their tracks. "We teach that mere presence alone can stop things - just having it can be a deterrent," he said.

Munn says it will be a few months before officers get their new guns, but they already have installed the necessary locks in the cars to properly secure the guns. Other law enforcement in the area also have expressed interest in the program.

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