The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Twenty Indianapolis police officers were learning to use M-16 rifles, with the weapons expected to be available to patrol officers by the end of the week, officials said.
"There are specific situations where they are going to be used," Deputy Chief James Reno said. "It gives us other options. This may be something they can have in their arsenal."
Indianapolis police have faced the same types of weapons several times in recent years, The Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday.
In August, a man fired an SKS-style rifle in a southside neighborhood and killed Patrolman Timothy "Jake" Laird from more than 150 yards away.
"I think it's a great weapon," said Marlon Douglas, one of the officers being trained to carry the M-16. "After the Jake Laird incident, we just want to make sure we're ready for anything."
The department is using the Colt M-16, A1, the same rifle used by American troops during the Vietnam War. The department bought the 218 surplus weapons from a federal armory in Illinois, the Star reported.
The rifles were modified to remove the automatic firing capability. The original rifle can keep firing for as long as the shooter holds the trigger, while these rifles fire just one shot for each squeeze, officials said.
Police officials said they will distribute the M-16s to officers who work different shifts and districts so the weapons will always be available.