Marion Police Armed & Ready to Use New AR-15 Rifles

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

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By Jill Kasparie

MARION, Iowa - The Marion Police Department is joining a growing list of departments to step up its firepower in light of recent tragedies.

"With private gun ownership reaching an all-time high nation-wide, and just due to the various catastrophes that have happened, school shootings, campus shootings [and] military base shootings," said Sgt. John Chipman.

Sgt. Chipman helped train the entire police force. They're now armed and ready to use their new AR-15 semi-automatic rifles if the situation warrants. The city approved the purchase of about 30 of them earlier this year.

After a three-day training, each member of the department has an AR-15 locked and loaded in the patrol car. Officer Jordan Gallagher joined the department about a year ago. He didn't have any experience with an AR-15.

"I was a little bit nervous with the rifle because I didn't have any experience but since picking it up, it's just point and shoot," said Officer Gallagher. "There's no problem to it."

Prior to this change, officers carried a pistol and a shotgun.

The rifle has more power, has a more precise shot and holds twice as many rounds as the department's other weapons.

"The magazine is a 30-round magazine,” Sgt. Chipman said.

"Day to day job, you probably won't use it nine times out of ten," Officer Gallagher said. "But the one time that you do need it, you want it and it makes you feel definitely more prepared."

Sgt. Chipman said the recent active-shooter situations across the country forced their hand on purchasing the weapons.

"The people that are using these weapons as civilians and using them illegally, we need to be as well armed or better armed than any target individuals that we may encounter," Sgt. Chipman said.

With the new firepower, Marion officers also don't have to wait for the tactical team to take action. That was protocol until the new weapons arrived.

"This is something we've been striving towards, and I'm of the opinion that we were almost a little late to the game," Sgt. Chipman said. "But we're here now, and so I'm very glad about that."

As the officers always say, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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