Aragon Po­lice get per­mis­sion for ri­fles, vests

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Wil­liams [email protected]­

The Aragon Coun­cil is mak­ing sure the city’s of­fi­cers have the gear they need to pro­tect and serve, and while the ap­proval of ad­di­tional po­lice cars was tabled, new ri­fles and outer vest car­ri­ers were ap­proved for pur­chase in the mean­time.

The group agreed to pur­chase the guns, two Smith & Wes­son, M&P 15 ri­fles, from ven­dor Chero­kee Gun for $505.00 each. Aragon Po­lice Chief Paul Maz­zuca is al­ready equipped with one as a per­sonal weapon, so the two weapons will be for the ben­e­fit of Sgt. Chris­tian Cruz and Sgt. Michael Evans.

Since they could ap­ply pres­sure from a much greater dis­tance, the of­fi­cers felt the tools would ul­ti­mately help keep them­selves and oth­ers safe. Cruz also men­tioned that, if they lose their pis­tols or run out of ammo, the ri­fles would of­fer ad­di­tional re­course in high stakes sce­nar­ios.

“We’re in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion as law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, and that’s the re­al­ity of it,” Cruz said. “My­self and Sgt. Evans do not have ri­fles at all. If we get into a sit­u­a­tion, what we have on us- that’s it. Once we run out, we’re stuck.”

Three new vests, fully equipped with the nec­es­sary pouches and com­part­ments, were also ap­proved un­der the mind­set of keep­ing of­fi­cers safe. Like with the ri­fles, the po­lice de­part­ment’s small equip­ment bud­get will front the $1,129.28 bill from Balco Uni­form, but the of­fi­cers felt it was a nec­es­sary ex­pen­di­ture.

The weight of po­lice gear can quickly add up, but the new vests are de­signed to fo­cus the weight on the shoul­ders in­stead of the hips. This means in­creased ma­neu­ver­abil­ity, and other bul­let proof vests can be placed in­side.

“That’s about 40 pounds they’re wear­ing on their hips” Maz­zuca said of Cruz and Evans. “Ev­ery­thing here is car­ried from the shoul­der­snot from the hips. Which gives them a lot more ma­neu­ver­abil­ity. Our bul­let proof vest goes in­side of this.”

Prior to the March 21 meet­ing, the Aragon Po­lice De­part­ment had re­port­edly spent only $446 of their $4,900 small equip­ment bud­get. The ri­fles and vests to­taled $2,139.28, so the of­fi­cers still have $2,760.72 for any fu­ture needs.

The of­fi­cers also de­liv­ered their monthly ac­tiv­ity re­port, and the Fe­bru­ary stats showed a to­tal of 168 ser­vice calls, 133 traf­fic stops, 112 ci­ta­tions, and 16 ar­rests.

Each stop has the po­ten­tial to be­come vi­o­lent, so the board felt the of­fi­cers’ safety was worth any po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial strain.

“I’m all about sav­ing money, but their lives are more im­por­tant than their job,” coun­cil mem­ber Can­dace Seiz said.

/ Sean Wil­liams

Aragon Po­lice Chief Paul Maz­zuca showed off the style of vest he’d like for his of­fi­cers to de­crease the amount of weight they are car­ry­ing while on duty.

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