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Wichita police officials are exploring the possibility of adding rifles to patrol cars to give officers more firepower in responding to potentially violent situations.

“This is something we’re examining seriously,” Deputy Police Chief Nelson Mosley said.

Most area law enforcement agencies already issue rifles to their officers in recent years, reflecting a nationwide trend in response to increasingly violent threats.

“It’s not as cut-and-dried as going out and buying a rifle and putting it in a car and saying, ‘Have a good day,’ ” Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams said. “You’ve got to look at a lot of possibilities.”

The two biggest considerations are securing a place for officers to practice and finding the money to pay for the guns and ammunition, Williams and Mosley said.

They do not yet have an estimate on how much it would cost, they say, because they’re not sure how many rifles would be added. The discussion is occurring as budgets are tight, so finding the resources would be a challenge.

But officers need to have rifles to protect officers and residents, say sheriffs and police chiefs elsewhere in the area.

“Without the rifles, we were under-equipped to deal with a lot of situations,” said Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy, who issued rifles to deputies about two years ago. “You have situations out here where the first officer on the scene may need to go into battle right then if he’s going to save lives.

“All we had were shotguns and hand weapons,” he said. “Well, that wasn’t going to get it done.”

Read the rest of Stan Finger’s article at The Wichita Eagle.

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Wichita police officials are exploring the possibility of adding rifles to patrol cars to give…