Some civilians accept cops’ contention that they’re “out-gunned” by perps. Why not give officers access to a modern home defense black sporting rifle (a.k.a., “assault rifle”). Never mind the fact that police miss their target more often than not, sending 70 percent of their rounds into the community they serve. Then again, some taxpayers consider the idea of AR-toting cops something less than reassuring. Which may be the reason why New Haven  police have left 80 Colt M4s in mothballs. But have no fear [sic]! The city’s Police Commission have created new guidelines for deployment; 20 of those bad boys are set to hit the street. While I would have preferred a link to the actual rules of deployment, the newhavenindepent.com reads us The Elm City’s rifle riot act . . .

Cops may need the rifles when they are faced with “criminal elements armed with superior firearms or other dangerous weapons,” and their handguns won’t suffice in defending themselves and the public, the order reads. In “certain critical life-threatening situations,” the rifles may save lives or help contain a suspect until the SWAT officers show up.

Only sworn officers may use the rifles. The department will keep them in a locked “rifle rack” inside a cop cruiser until they are needed, the order reads.

Before using the rifles, cops have to pass a training course approved by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council. After that, rifle-holders will have to go through quarterly training and re-qualification with the Department Armorer, who is also tasked with maintaining the arsenal.

The rifles may be used in the following situations: When the suspect is wearing a bullet-proof vest or other “protective body armor.” When an officer can articulate a need beyond the scope of capabilities of the service sidearm” (the need has to be “reasonable” based on the circumstances). When the cop faces a suspect who’s in a “tactically advantageous position,” such as a fortified building or at a long distance away. In that case, a cop may use the rifle if it is “required to neutralize the threat posed by the suspect(s) and minimize the risk of death or serious bodily injury to officers or members of the community.”

Once a cop takes out a rifle, he or she shall have no other duties such as searching or handcuffing a suspect; the rifle-holder shall function solely as a “cover officer” until the rifle is put away.

The rifles are to be used in keeping with the department’s Deadly Force Policy.

Cops won’t get to take the rifles home at night, as they do with their sidearms. They’ll check out the rifles from a patrol vault at the beginning of the shift and turn them back in before the shift’s end. When rifles aren’t being used, they can’t be kept unattended in cop cars, according to the rules. They’ll be kept in a locked safe or in the storage vault at the Training Academy.

If a police officer violates proper procedure [ED: not to mention shooting the wrong person or collateral damage], they may have their rifle revoked or face other discipline . . .

The department put out a request a couple of weeks ago for officers who would like to carry the weapons, according to Adger. To qualify to do so, they have to meet a number of criteria: They must have a score of 90 or better in firearms training using the sidearm they have, have least three years on the force, be assigned to patrol, have no discipline action in the last year, have good attendance, and get a recommendation from their supervisor.

We good? Or do you share my apprehensions about the ever-increasing militarization of America’s police force?

23 Responses to New Haven Cops [Not Shown] Deploy Colt M4s in Squad Cars

  1. The rifle rack is gonna get crowded, what with the M4s, RPGs and all. Why not just arm the officers with fragmentation grenades? They’re easily portable, effective, and an officer can carry a lot of them, just in case they have to throw down against the Barker Gang or something.

  2. Rifles are used in roughly 1% of gun crimes, and since they’re not concealable I’d wager that more than 99% of those incidents happen when the cops go to a residence or other fixed location. And when they do that, they usually bring a SWAT team.

    So unless we’re preparing for a once-in-a-decade event like the Miami Shootout, who is it exactly that is “outgunning” these cops on patrol?

  3. A 30% successful hit rate? That is horrendous. I’d be curious to know what the success rate of them properly tying their shoes in the morning might be.

  4. I’m not worried about the uniformed police officer with a black rifle in his or her squad car. In a lot of jurisdictions, that’s pretty common. When it comes to “police militarization”, I worry more about SWAT teams and no-knock warrants, and that has more to do with a sheet of paper than any equipment.

    • Agreed, cops as well as citizens should have them.

      It is not the weapons, but rather the mentality of the users that matters. I think its a good thing that one of the military’s selling points is, “Hey, come work for us for a few years and you’ll get to shoot all kinds of guns and blow stuff up. Learn to exert the will of the State on foreign enemies through the force of arms!”

      This should NOT be a selling point for a domestic police force. Same weapons and tactics, maybe, but much different rules of engagement.

  5. I think the biggest thing should be the hit to miss ratio. If a cop is having a hard time hitting his target with a handgun sending the consequent rounds into the community giving him a rifle will increase the chances of a deadly hit on the bystander to the scene.

    They should send them to magpull dynamics to train in “The Art of the Tactical Handgun” so Chris Costa can teach them how to be more efficient with the guns they do have.

    I really think our police forces are highly under train by their departments.

    • Well, basic pistol marksmanship is considered more difficult than basic rifle marksmanship, less points of contact, shorter barrel, shorter sight radius, etc. It might be the case that an officer is bad with their sidearm but decent with the rifle.

      That being said, police should have more firearms training.

  6. M4 with a sighted in red dot vs. handgun with iron sights…

    my money is on the cop with the M4/red dot

    more accurate fire means fewer rounds NOT on target. more effective in every way

  7. Every p0lice officer should have a rifle. A rifle provides maximum portable firepower and evens the playing field again highly-armed assailants. Firepower greater than the opposition makes for a great deterrent. Peace through superior firepower.

    A rifle is easier to aim than a handgun which increases the hit ratio and reduces errant shots that can hit bystanders. A rifle allows officers to take shots at further distances which in the case of an active shooter, may reduce the carnage as the perp can be downed quicker. Greater distance also increases officer safety. Increased round count allows officers to stay in the fight longer: see Hollywood bank shootout.

  8. I do not have a problem with patrol cops having quick access to a black rifle. That’s a discretionary issue for local police departments and their community to decide. The newspaper’s summary of the NHPD’s rules of deployment seemed to be prudent.
    However, the two of the department’s qualification criteria have me puzzled:
    – Irrespective of what a score of 90 in sidearm training equates to, it seems to me if a patrol officer is qualified to have a carry sidearm on patrol, then there should be no mention of a sidearm training score in the rifle qualification criteria. If there is a true need for a score, that officer probably shouldn’t be on patrol with a sidearm anyway.
    – 3 years service? I didn’t know that < 3 years of service rookies were exempt from SHTF situations. Also, what if a 10 year veteran of another police force comes to the NHPD?

    I can understand where a community does not want their PD wielding black rifles during routine patrols, but (IMOP) the "extra" criteria, that is tacked on for the sake of commuity perception, potentially sacrifices an officer's safety by not letting them have a black rifle, locked in their car, in case they need it.

    In other words, my perception is the general tone of the deployment rules is that community perception is a higher priority than patrol officer safety.

  9. I’m not sure what the LEO’s had available in Colorado to stop the three sibling chuckleheads but an AR could have been useful. Whether it was Clyde Barrow and a Browning BAR or the Dougherty kids with a semi auto AK and a MAC-11, LEO’s will occasionally find themselves literally outgunned. I don’t have an issue with the tools LEO’s carry but with their mindset. As with any other firearm, the individual has to WANT to do more than the minimum to be proficient. How will any department ensure their personnel possess the correct attitudes?

  10. Why no love for the shotgun? A nice autoloader with a zeroed red dot or ghost rings is far preferable to a black rifle. But all the cool kids and real operators in Afghanistan have black rifles and the cops don’t want to be left out.

    • ARs offer 30 rounds: 8 at the most for a shotgun?

      Rifles offer precision accuracy not available in SGs, offer far greater range, are far faster to reload and no chance of short stroking the pump (which are what LEs issue). SGs are pretty much left to breaching these days.

      • I knew obstetrics had changed, but isn’t that little excessive just because the baby is upside down?

        (Can’t sleep. Brain is throwing up weird pics at every slightest perceived imperfection. Me having insomnia means you get to share in these brain shots. Don’t you feel special?)

  11. Cops in several of the cities around here have had ARs on hand since shortly after the North Hollywood bank robbery.

    It’s been about 10 years, and the cops around here don’t seem much more prone to making bad decisions than they were before.

  12. so, the cops that get to carry one are the second cop in the car? If he can’t leave the rifle in the car, he will have to rely on drive thru donuts and come back to the station to potty. That will work….

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