Orange County deputies to receive 150 M4 rifles

Sheriff Jerry Demings says guns will keep his deputies safe

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County sheriff's deputies will receive about 150 military-style rifles after a request was approved by the county commission.

With $257,950 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund, the sheriff's office will purchase M4 rifles, which authorities said would help deputies respond to active shooter incidents.

"It's going to be a good use of money to keep my deputy sheriffs safe, as well as the citizens here in our county safe," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.

While the rifles will mainly be distributed to first responders, some could also end up in the hands of school resource officers.

"They would be available for deployment in various settings. It could be schools. It could be other places as well," Demings said.

According to the sheriff's office, the weapons would only be seen while deputies are responding to a particular threat and, in most cases, would be locked and secured in patrol vehicles.

Demings said the request is something that was made before the February 14 school shooting in South Florida that killed 17.

While the addition of the high-powered weapons wasn't a response to calls for an increase in school security, Demings said the mass shooting further illustrates the need for his deputies to be better equipped.

"In order for us to be successful in meeting that particular threat, law enforcement must have high-powered rifles," Demings said.

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