The Coon Rapids Police Department has received a donation of rifles from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
The department applied for the weapons after becoming aware that the DOD will donate surplus military rifles to law enforcement agencies in the country, according to Police Chief Brad Wise.
On making a written request, the DOD, through its defense reutilization program, shipped 60 M16A1 rifles to the police department, Wise said.
“Such rifles shoot a .223 round, which is a considerable upgrade in ballistic power from the department’s existing .40 caliber rifles,” he said.
The department will place about 30 of the rifles into service in marked squads and detective squads, Wise said.
The extra rifles were requested for spare parts, he said.
According to Wise, after training officers as armorers, the department plans to upgrade these rifles with new collapsible stocks and new, shorter barrels, which will effectively convert the rifles to an A4 configuration.
“These rifles also came with ‘Aimpoint’ sighting system, which is a top quality aiming mechanism,” Wise said.
There was a cost to the city to have the rifles shipped by a transport company licensed to ship automatic weapons, he said.
The $2,700 cost was taken from the police department’s postage budget, Wise said.
The cost of upgrading the rifles, estimated to be $800 per weapon, will be offset by selling 24 of the department’s H&K MP5 rifles, he said.
“Once the upgrades are complete and they are placed into service later this year, these weapons are expected to meet our rifle needs for a decade or more,” Wise said.
However, the city won’t be able to sell the rifles once they have ended their useful life.
A DOD condition won’t allow them to be resold; they must be returned to DOD, donated to another law enforcement agency or destroyed, Wise said.
The Coon Rapids City Council June 5 passed a resolution accepting the DOD donation “in the public interest” and thanking the DOD “for its generosity.”
According to Councilmember Paul Johnson, a retired police department captain, this is an example of the cooperation between the federal and city levels of government.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]