Department of Natural Resources officers now carrying rifles - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Department of Natural Resources officers now carrying rifles

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PALO (KWWL) -

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is getting AR-15 rifles for officers.

This new idea has some people questioning why a wildlife officer would need to carry a weapon of that caliber.

"We are certified peace officers that have authority to enforce all code sections of the state of Iowa," State Park Ranger Carl Fairley said. "and we do receive annual and periodic training just like any law enforcement officer does. "

In emergency situations, DNR officers in the area would be able to assist police in gaining control.

Because DNR officers want people to feel safer rather than less safe, they will not be carrying the rifles on them, but instead, officers will keep their rifles on racks in their trucks when they're not in use.

No specific incident led to the DNR officers' rifle use, but the state of Iowa wants to ensure the continued safety of the people who live here,

"It's just a matter of planning for things," Fairley said. "Just making sure that you're trained and equipped the best that you can be to keep the public safe."

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