Maquoketa Police want new rifles to replace 'Vietnam-era' ones - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Maquoketa Police want new rifles to replace 'Vietnam-era' ones

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MAQUOKETA (KWWL) -

Two high-profile shooting incidents in Jackson County this year have left the Maquoketa Police wondering if they have the firepower to deal with potentially deadly situations.

The first incident happened in early April, when a man who was pulled over for a traffic violation, shot an officer and sped away.  He was eventually found dead in his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The second happened in late September, when a former city manager opened fire at a supervisor's meeting at the Jackson County Courthouse.  He was tackled by a supervisor and fatally shot himself in the ensuing struggle.

Now the Maquoketa Police Department are looking to upgrade their rifles.

"These are Vietnam-age rifles," said Brad Koranda, Maquoketa Chief of Police. "They're still capable of shooting, but we just don't know the history of them. We don't know how many rounds have been through some of these parts."

In addition to getting newer, more reliable rifles, he also said he wants to get rifles without a fully-automatic feature. He said it's easy to switch to fully automatic in a tense situation, and with more bullets flying, fewer people are safe.

Last month, the city agreed to buy rifles that the officers could then buy from the city. That way, the police get new rifles and it's not a budget issue for the city.

Koranda said all that's left to do is get the agreement on paper and have the officers approve it. He believes that they will.

It is a voluntary program, Koranda said.

"I hope that out of the 11 officers we have, seven buy them, so we can almost always have a new rifle on all the patrols," he said.

Once they are paid off, the rifles would be the officers to keep if they left, he said. 

Koranda hopes to have a done deal in December.

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