Arkansas Police showing off new equipment - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas Police showing off new equipment

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT)  "We ordered five of them. They are the AR 15 assault rifles," said Poinsett County Sheriff, Larry Mills.

Mills says the county bought the guns in light of last May's tragedy in West Memphis.

"Any law enforcement needs to have the tools that they need in order to keep everybody safe and keep themselves safe," said Mills.

Mills says with these purchases, added to several assault rifles the department already had, now all of his deputies will have an assault rifle in their vehicle at all times.

"Last thing I want to do is send an officer anywhere that's number one not trained and prepared, and number 2 not equipped," said Mills.

Another part of that equipment is bullet proof vests.  Mills says a ten thousand dollar donation was made to the department. With that, about 10 new vests were purchased.

"Everybody I think now has been fitted and we're getting the vests ordered so we should be in really good shape vest wise," said Mills.

Rifles and vests aren't the only new tools the department has for the new year.

"That dog is truly an officer," said Mills.

Zeus is a one and a half-year-old Belgium Malinois.  He is trained to alert on the odor of marijuana, cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine.  In addition, he is trained for criminal apprehension on bite work and handler protection.

"As we demonstrated earlier, if I get into a fight with someone and he can get to me, he's going to protect me," said K9 Deputy, Jeremy Winkles.

Winkles says he can be used for tracking as well.

"They are very valuable.  They're a great tool," said Winkles.   

New tools for a new year. Sheriff Mills says there's no way to know what exactly his deputies will encounter when they're working, but he does say he wants them prepared for anything.

"We're going to give them the training and we're going to give them the equipment to work with and then we hope that through those means that we can keep everybody in the county safe and we can keep our officers safe," said Mills.

Sheriff Mills says the department used asset forfeiture money to buy the dog. Those are funds taken off people dealing and selling illegal drugs. Once that money is seized and forfeited by the courts to the departments, then they can use it for resources like Zeus.     

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