Clarks Summit Chief Wants Officers Better Armed

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A police chief in Lackawanna County calls it a sign of the times.

He wants his officers in Clarks Summit to be better armed with high-powered rifles.

The borough of Clarks Summit has just over five thousand residents, its police Chief Joseph Laguzzi said most days it's quiet. The crime rate his very low. His officers carry handguns but rarely have to use them.

Even so, he's looking to buy a few AR-15's, known to cops as patrol rifles.

"Time is of the essence and to have the proper equipment and to be ready, getting the call and being the first on scene, which we are first responders we will be there first, it's crucial," Chief Laguzzi said.

According to Laguzzi, all of the police departments surrounding Clarks Summit have high-powered rifles. Maybe Clarks Summit didn't need them in the past, but the chief says this quiet town has changed and they have to change with it.

The chief said the population has grown and there's more out-of-state traffic passing through.

Some businesses in the borough have offered donations to help the police department get the bigger guns.

People in the communty Newswatch 16 talked to want their police as armed as the citizens they're serving.

"All it takes is just one incident, if I was a policeman here I would want one," said Ronald Evans of Factoryville.

"They should have them if anyone else has them in the borough. Other boroughs have them so they should all have the same fire power," added Jason Evans of Clarks Summit.

Police in neighboring South Abington Township have several patrol rifles. Though they've never had to use them, they are a safety precaution. The police chief there believes all municipal departments should be armed with them and prepared for the worst.

"Semi-automatic rifles are flying off the shelves right now, they're basically impossible to get. So, we should at least be equally armed with any situation we encounter on the street. I believe they're absolutely appropriate," said Chief Robert Gerrity.

The AR-15's would cost Clarks Summit more than $1,000 each plus the price of ammunition and training. The chief hopes to get three or four guns like these sooner rather than later.