Silverhill PD looks to arm officers with rifles - FOX10 News | WALA

Silverhill PD looks to arm officers with rifles

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SILVERHILL, AL (WALA) -

One small police force in Baldwin County is looking to beef up its arsenal, but money is a big issue. The Silverhill Police Chief is asking the city to purchase tactical rifles for patrol officers. This comes after a recent standoff with a heavily armed suspect who allegedly shot at an officer.

It would be a scary situation for even the best equipped police force. A gunman accused of shooting at an officer and then barricades himself in his home with an arsenal of weapons. That was just the case last Tuesday, June 9, 2015 in Silverhill when police responded to a call of shots fired on Bohemian Hall Road. Nearly six hours later and with the assistance of Baldwin County Sheriff's deputies, Daniel Hails was arrested for attempted murder.

That incident was a reminder to Silverhill Police Chief, Kim Wasdin of how ill-equipped her officers are. Wasdin likened last week's standoff to her officers showing up to a gunfight with a pocket knife. She said this is all about safety for her officers.

“If you've got a rifle, you've got more of a range and in being able to give my officers more discretion or more range and give them better firing capability, it also makes us safer,” Wasdin said

Wasdin has asked the city to purchase three rifles for each full-time officer, but the earliest any purchase could be made will likely be in the next budget year. Wasdin doesn't want to wait that long and is hopeful she can get them sooner.

“I am in the process of either trying to borrow donations or the town to be able to find the funds within the budget to equip my officers with what they need,” said Wasdin.

Elberta, Summerdale and other municipalities throughout Baldwin County already equip and train their officers with rifles. Chief Jimmy Davis in Summerdale said the rifles play a very important role in certain situations.

“A rifle, to me is more of a pinpoint accuracy. It stretches out a little further. It gives you a little more of the comfort to where you don't have to be up in the thick of it. You can actually stand back in more of a safe area,” Davis explained.

Law enforcement officers don't know what each day will throw at them and while Wasdin tries to find a way to purchase some rifles, she wants to assure Silverhill residents that they will be able to keep them safe.

“Sheriff Mack has always been very supportive of my department and has helped out multiple times. He has assured me that he will be there to assist us so our citizens are safe. Right now what I'm having to worry about is officer safety,” she said.

Chief Wasdin said she may be able to purchase three AR-15 custom built rifles for as little as $2,500. That's because a local gunsmith who's also a retired police officer has offered the city to build them at his cost.

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