Council approves Euharlee weapons policy

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The Euharlee City Council unanimously approved the police department's revised weapons policy at its Tuesday meeting. The 9-page document, which was approved after months of review and revision, seemed to please everyone on the council, especially Councilman David Duncan, a retired Euharlee cop.

Duncan initially resisted the idea of outfitting every full-time officer with their own AR-15 assault-type rifle, preferring instead to buy four or six guns and have the officers sign them out.

That wouldn't work he was told, because each rifle has to be sighted in for the individual officer. Some on the council still resisted until Euharlee officer Christian Cruz spoke to the matter.

"I served in the Marine Corps and have extensive training with AR-15 and M-16 rifles," he said. "These are not your everyday hunting rifles. We would spend a week just sighting in our rifles, then the next week becoming proficient shooting our rifles. The idea of signing out rifles is not practical. In the military, we are trained to know our target and what is behind it and in order to do that, the rifle needs to be zeroed in to me."

During that debate, it was noted that the police department's weapons policy hadn't been recently updated.  

The new policy identifies the type of weapon — sidearm, shotgun, rifle or electronic suppression weapon, i.e. a Taser — a Euharlee officer is allowed to carry. For instance, a Euharlee officer must carry a department-issued Glock Model 19 9mm handgun. Only ammunition distributed by the department may be used in the officer's gun.

Sidearms allowed to be carried by off-duty officers include a .38 caliber revolver with a 2-inch or 4-inch barrel, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a .380 semi-automatic pistol, or a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Other parts of the policy include provisions that each officer must undergo a certain amount of firearms safety and marksmanship training.

Euharlee officers are also required to undergo extensive training and show proficiency with department-issued Remington 870 pump shotguns and AR-15 assault-type rifles.

"Yes, I think we can live with this," Duncan said as he quickly scanned it. "This is very well done."

The council also unanimously approved Mike Troxell to fill a vacant seat on the planning and zoning commission.

The Euharlee City Council will hold a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at Euharlee City Hall.