Harris County Precinct 4 deputies have some new tools at their disposal thanks to some extra money Constable Mark Herman had in the budget: assault rifles.
Using $40,000 in county funds, Herman recently bought 40 AR-15 rifles for his deputies, who will keep the assault rifles in their patrol cars.
Herman said they will only be used in cases of emergencies, such as when there's an active shooter at a school, and that deputies won't be walking around with them on the street just 'cause.
"It was something we needed," Herman said. "They would use them in any situation that would necessitate using them. There is no set situation for when they would and wouldn't be used; it depends on the situation they have. Hopefully they'll never have to be used."
Herman was quick to address any potential criticism that he was "militarizing" his police force, saying that he doesn't work for those critics — he works for his deputies and the citizens of Precinct 4. Plus, Herman said, he needs to keep up with the deadly force that suspects themselves have been using en masse against police and innocent people alike.
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"If you look at the situation in Dallas, where the Dallas officers got shot, Louisiana, all these officers getting ambushed from long distances," Herman said, "I want to be able to have at least equal or superior firepower to what the bad guys have.
He said that he did not even want to tell reporters about the new assault rifles, but that a man who saw Precinct 4 deputies trying out the new guns during training took a video and sent it to Fox 26.
The assault rifles aren't totally new for Precinct 4. Herman said the precinct does have some on hand, but declined to say how many, saying he did not want the bad guys to know what they were up against.
"Actually, the number [of assault rifles] I have now, I don't think it's enough," Herman said. "I have close to 300 patrol vehicles, and if I have it my way, I would like to see an AR-15 rifle in every car to be available to the deputies."