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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UAPD denies assault rifles


Graphic by Nicole Thill / The Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona Police Department declined the opportunity to get M-16 Assault Rifles from Arizona State University’s police department through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, but possesses other assault rifles for active shooter situations.

The 1033 program allows police departments to acquire military surplus.

“ASU wanted to get rid of their M-16s within the past 30 days. … We saw the email and [said], ‘Oh, nope, don’t need it. Thank you, no,’” said Keith Brittain, assistant chief of police.

One local program that did make use of the 1033 program was Pima Community College Police Department, which acquired eight M-14 rifles for their honor guard, according to Chief Manny Amado of the Pima Community College Police Department.“We use them strictly for ceremonial purposes for the honor guard,” Amado said.

Amado  said he does not think there is a need for M-14s on college campuses for any other reason.

“We don’t need an armored personnel carrier or anything else,” Amado said.

Although UAPD does not have M-16s, the department does have a variety of assault weapons, according to documents obtained by the Daily Wildcat.

UAPD has 13 total semi-automatic rifles, including AR15s, AK7s and M1 carbines.

“When most people think of assault rifles, they think of an AR-15, or an M-16,” Amado said.

UAPD said the rifles would only be used in a “lethal response” situation, which it defines as a “high likelihood of an armed encounter between the two groups — the police and the suspects,” according to Commander Jason Brei.

“If you have a threat that … justifies a lethal use of force, then that’s when they would be deployed,” Brei said.

Some examples Brei said these situations include high-risk traffic stops, building entries or active shooter scenarios.

“Things like that where it’s a call for service that is a predictable — if there is such a thing — potential for lethal force,” he said.Brei added that the rifles would not be seen on a “typical officer on patrol.”

Brittain said they need these rifles to be able to match up adequately when a criminal has a similar weapon.

“You want something that hopefully keeps up with the bad guys, for lack of a better term, and this is our effort to do that,” Brittain said. “A handgun trying to go against a rifle is a losing proposition, so we try to have a rifle against a rifle available.”

Amado said that Pima’s rifles would not be used even in an active shooter scenario.

“We don’t deploy them out to the field,” Amado said. “I was asked by a reporter: ‘Do we use them for active shooter situations?’ No.”In order for a UAPD officer to even be able to carry one of these weapons, they have to go through an extensive training program.

“It’s a voluntary program,” Brei said. “An officer has to want to carry it and then demonstrate it after the week of training. They have to demonstrate the capability and desire to continue to carry it, and they have to attend regular training sessions and annual qualifications with that as well.”

As for the process of actually obtaining weapons, Brittain said UAPD has to go through the same university procedures as any other department, unless the order is under $5,000.

The officers confirmed that UAPD has used the 1033 program in the past, but that it has only ordered items such as golf carts, duffel bags, night vision goggles and four ceremonial rifles for their own honor guard.

“We don’t have a whole lot of interaction with the 1033 program,” Brei said. “We don’t have a lot of the stuff that the bigger agencies do.”

Brittain added that he hopes there is never a day when they would have to use the program to get weapons like the M-16s that they declined.

“I would sincerely hope not,” Brittain said. “That would be a very, very bad day. Anything short of approaching anarchy, no we’re not seeing that.”


Follow Max Rodriguez and Felipe Moreno on Twitter.

Editor’s Note

In the article “UAPD denies assault rifles” written by Max Rodriguez, there was a mistake, which referred to the University of Arizona Police Department’s rifles as automatic. The correct classification of the department’s rifles are semi-automatic. We apologize for the mistake and strive for accuracy.

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