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Police rifle program is suspended

Chiefs defend need as Patrick orders review

June 19, 2009
They may run small-town departments, but area police chiefs believe the high-powered rifles they receive, free of charge, from a Department of Defense (DOD) program, are an important component of emergency planning.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick suspended the weapons program Tuesday, pending a review of whether all departments obtaining the rifles meet program rules and criteria. Towns that already have the weapons in their police arsenals will be able to keep them, according to state police officials.

Now, area chiefs are speaking out about concerns that some small communities with little crime may not need the high-powered weapons.

"We would rather have them and not need them, than need them and not have them," said Webster Police Chief Timothy Bent.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage.

Janines Frostee
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