Cobb County arms officers with new AR-15 rifles
by Jon Gillooly
October 19, 2012 01:19 AM | 5202 views | 19 19 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cobb Police will soon have 385 new AR-15 rifles, Fire & Emergency Services Chief Sam Heaton said Thursday.

“We’re in the process of receiving the weapons now,” said Heaton, the county’s acting public safety director.

The county spent $500,000 on the weapons with Clyde Armory, Heaton told the county’s Citizen Oversight Committee during an update on $11.4 million in 2011 SPLOST public safety expenses.

“Most officers carry some form of rifle … in their vehicle,” Heaton said, noting it was important for police to have the firepower that is able to match whatever they encounter.

The previous rifles were military surplus and had worn out, he said.

The rifles come with a carrying case, harness and scope.

Of the $11.4 million earmark, $9 million is allocated for 16 public safety vehicles, including two ladder trucks that cost about $1 million each.

“If you’ve got somebody on the third or fourth floor, you can run your ladder truck up to them,” Heaton said. “We used them quite a bit at the Holiday Inn fire to rescue people out of the windows. Also if you have the big fires say in an apartment building with fire literally coming through the roof, you need big water to put out a big fire, and those ladder trucks standing up above a fire can pump about 2,000 gallons per minute.”

Other vehicles include 7 engines, which cost about $500,000 each.

“An engine truck’s primary responsibility is first and foremost to transport the firefighters quickly and safely to the scene, and then once on the scene they are the primary resource for pumping water from the water system hydrant to the fire,” he said.

“We try to get anywhere from 10 to 15 years out of a front line engine,” Heaton said. “We try to get 15 to 20 out of a ladder truck.”

The trucks are then held in reserve for five years in the event one of the front line vehicles doesn’t work before being surplused.

Other vehicles include five rescue trucks, which are smaller life-support trucks that carry nearly everything an ambulance does.

“It’s an F-450 crew cab, but on the back is a utility box for equipment,” Heaton said.

The remaining two vehicle purchases include an air and light truck, which contains a compressor that can fill the air packs of firefighters as well as a light tower to light up the scene of an incident. The last vehicle is an air truck, essentially an F-450 with a box on it that carries the air bottles to the scene.

The $9 million earmark also include upgrading one of the county’s Hazmat trucks, as well as 18 manual defibrillators at $30,000 each, extrication equipment such as jaws of life, and 42 thermal imaging cameras costing about $10,000 each.

Deputy Chief Randy Crider said the cameras have multiple uses.

“If Hazmat calls, you can tell the fluid level in a 55-gallon drum. (If you’ve) got hazardous material in a creek, it will show that,” Crider said.

Crider said the cameras are also used when looking for missing people.

Murray Homan, who was appointed to the committee by Commissioner Woody Thompson, referenced DeKalb County’s recent problems with its air packs, asking if Cobb uses the same brand DeKalb does.

Heaton said Cobb replaced its air packs at a cost of $19 million three years ago.

“We’re using a brand called Scott, which is probably one of the most popular brands in the fire service,” Heaton said.

DeKalb was using packs made by Draeger.

The remaining $1.9 million is being used to upgrade the 911 centers at Cobb Police Headquarter off North Marietta Parkway, as well as in the cities of Kennesaw, Acworth, Austell and Smyrna and the Cobb Water System.

“They were outdated to the point where even the manufacturers were no longer going to be supplying parts,” Heaton said. The earmark also includes a repeater system for the county jail that improves radio communication in that area.

“What this does is it really keeps us right on track of our plan on equipment and apparatus replacement,” Heaton said. “If you get behind a couple years, it would take a lot of money to catch everything back up. In my opinion, this really keeps us able to provide the services that we’ve been able and to keep it going for the future.”

Without the SPLOST dollars, Heaton said there was no way to fund the public safety expenses.

“You’d have to raise taxes or you run much older, less reliable equipment,” he said. “I don’t want that for our citizens, and I don’t what that for our people.”

The 2011 SPLOST is expected to collect $492 million before expiring on Dec. 31, 2015.
Comments
(19)
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JR in Mableton
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October 19, 2012
Its great to see those pennies at work!! Keep up the great work Cobb PD!!

Police state?? Really?? Our police officers deserve more respect for their service than that bunch of nonsense. When was the last time you were shot serving divorce papers? When was the last time you went undercover to take down a criminal gang?

You prevent the police state by arming yourself. Law-abiding (armed) citizens partnering with law enforcement keep our community safe.

Sounds about right
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October 19, 2012
Every criminal on the street can purchase or illegally obtain a rifle. The police could at least be on a level playing field. It's actually about time, Hollywood bank robberies come to mind.

Good job Cobb County!
VFP42
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October 19, 2012
The old rifles had worn out? I have never heard of a rifle wearing out. Somebody please explain how a rifle gets worn out.

I have heard of a broken firing pin. Those are easy to replaced and much cheaper than a new AR-15.

Even if we needed a few new rifles, we needed 385 of them? Are we to believe that 385 old rifles wore out simultaneously?

Why do we need 385 military rifles? Will be be attacking Polk, Bartow or Cherokee? Does the whole Georgia National Guard have this many rifles???

So.. We vote for SPLOST, the local cops buy 385 miltiary rifles.. easily 375 more than are necessary.

I will be voting NO for any and all SPLOST for the rest of my life, however short that may be with 385 military rifles now on our streets.
Just Wait
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October 19, 2012
I'll bet the police officers would have much rather see a pay raise than a rifle.
anonymous
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October 19, 2012
Good point.
There goes Freedom
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October 19, 2012
When did Cobb county become Iraq or Afghanistan. Hope everyone enjoys living in a Police state.
SevenOneFour
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October 20, 2012
@ There goes Freedom

Don't be stupid!!

These are the best weapons for what the officers face in an urban environment.

Much safer than 9MM, .40 Cal or .45 cal in close quarters and indoors.
Retired LEO
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October 19, 2012
So far as the rifles: Sadly in this age they are needed. I retired from a large Atlanta agency where on officer was killed and one paralyzed when walking up to an apartment and a citizen had one of these rifles. Departments have strict guidelines on when these rifles can be removed from vehicles. They are not brought on "routine" 911 calls but when they know they will encounter an armed person or there is a high likelihood of encountered a person armed with a firearm.

But it's the rifles that get everyone jumping. It looks like a vast majority of the money is being spent on needed equipment for Fire & Rescue Services which is a very good thing. Good for Cobb County for spending the money on exactly what the SPLOST was for.
Watcher...
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October 19, 2012
How many rounds have been purchased for this weaponry?
Rob George
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October 19, 2012
I'd be curious to know which brand of A/R rifle was purchased and the type of scope included. At ~$1,300 each these rifles could be a bargain depending on the makes of the equipment.
anonymous
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October 19, 2012
Gotta love a 50 year-old rifle platform.

Probably not "scopes" but an Aimpoint or Eotech red dot sight.

Top Gun
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October 19, 2012
Good move CCPD. A lot of readers don't know that with certain ammunition, like Win 62 gr PP, a .223 rifle penetrates less drywall than a 9mm or .40 cal handgun.
SG68
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October 20, 2012
Exactly. A safer weapon for urban environments.
CobbGuy
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October 19, 2012
This is what Cobb does... and does it better than most places. Your tax money at work and working hard... if anything makes one feel good about paying taxes, this is it. There is nothing better than a well funded police and fire department when you need them. Keep up the good work!
Gringo Bandito
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October 19, 2012
I'm not anti police, but I'm anti police state. There is no reason that CCPD needs military grade weapons.
ClearSight
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October 19, 2012
Beware the "militarization" of government agencies and law enforcement, its just another step toward a police state.
Well Then
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October 19, 2012
This is a police state. We have state police, county police, county sheriff, municipal (city) police, college police, and even military police.

Are you that naive to think police don't need long guns when criminals have them and that includes criminals in Cobb County. Wake up, you either want the police to protect you or you don't. Which is it? If you want to take the firepower out of police hands then you better first start with the criminals...oh wait, they'll always be able to obtain weaponry. Guess you'll need that cop armed with a long gun so he can accurately and effectively hit that target 50 or more yards away, which could save innocent lives, including yours.
ClearSight
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October 20, 2012
@Well Then, are you so naive to think that the police can actually protect you? Your safety is your own responsibility. Where was the police with an AR15 when my father was shot and killed during an armed robbery? Where was the police with their AR15 when my home was broken into? Where was the police with their AR15s when that student was shot at SPSU this past week? Based on survey from the U.S.D.O.J., roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the U.S. during 2008, of those, about 436,000(8% Percent) were committed by armed criminals. Only a fool would believe greater police firepower protects the public from crime in the real world. If a situation arises requiring rifles call S.W.A.T., the average patrolman doesn't need one PERIOD!
D.G. in Clarkdale
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October 20, 2012
Judging "Well Then's" comment its obvious ignorance regarding "Police State" terminology is alive and well. Instead of me writing a tome on the subject do a simple search on the net for instance:

"examples of a police state"

Ignorance isn't a sin, remaining ignorant is....

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