Police departments in Texas are following a national trend by adding more AR-15 semiautomatic rifles to their arsenals, according to the Dallas Morning News. A November bank robbery found police in Plano and Richardson underpowered with their pistols against fleeing suspects who leaned from an SUV and fired a semiautomatic during a chase through the suburbs. The men got away, and police were left with five bullet-riddled cruisers.
Many officers in Richardson are now armed with AR-15s, while Plano will allow officers to buy the rifles themselves and keep them inside their cruisers. Dallas hopes to have them on the streets by summer. Departments across the country have similarly re-armed their forces since the infamous 1997 shootout in California when North Hollywood police using pistols were outgunned by robbers brandishing assault rifles, said Dr. Tomas Mijares, professor of criminology and justice at Texas State University. “It’s a sad commentary on the times we live in,” Mijares said. “All these changes are not predicated on the availability of technology, but because of the actions of the bad guys.”