The use of rifles as a training weapon and its possible use in the field has been standard practice for Edmond Police for several years, said Jenny Wagnon, Edmond Police spokeswoman.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty on Monday said the two deadly ambush attacks on police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas changed his mind about letting Oklahoma City officers carry rifles for greater protection. Rifles are now being issued.
Rifles are issued to all officers at the Edmond Police Academy. Wagnon said the benefit of the rifle is it creates distance between the officer and the suspect. Rifles are more accurate when firing a weapon.
There were two incidents in 2015 when officers used their rifles.
“We had a suicidal subject call with a guy who pointed a gun at an officer. He was fatally shot,” Wagnon said. “We also had a mental health/domestic call as the suspect pointed a weapon at officers. He was shot multiple times with a rifle and handgun and survived.”
Rifles are used when a SWAT team is called into action. Police will get their rifles during a stand-off with a suspect, Wagnon said.
Officers are also allowed to get approval of using a personal rifle on duty. All personal rifles must meet Edmond Police specifications for training. Sometimes officers like to add a piece of equipment to their rifles, Wagnon said.
“It has to follow all of our policy and guidelines,” she noted.