Fort Lauderdale is arming 100 patrol officers with semi-automatic assault rifles, hoping to outgun some of the most dangerous criminals, reports the city’s Sun-Sentinel. Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to buy the Colt AR-6520 rifles, at $850 apiece. The assault rifles would enable officers to handle violent incidents “as quickly and efficiently as possible, therefore reducing harm to citizens and officers,” according to a police memo. Police Chief Frank Adderley said police have seized AK-47 assault rifles in the city, and officers need to upgrade their weaponry to keep up.
Criminals in Fort Lauderdale are well armed, police officials said, though not necessarily with rifles. The city has seized hundreds of guns over the past four years – 291 in 2007 alone, police cited in a memo to city commissioners. The city’s 400-plus officers eventually will all have the assault rifles in their patrol cars. But the purchases will be in phases, so officers can be trained, Adderley said.