Pct. 4 giving deputies high-powered weapons to use

Precinct Four Constable Mark Herman is looking to better serve the north Harris County community. That's why he's hoping to give every one of his deputies a new tool he hopes they never have to use.

The tool? An AR-15 rifle. The first 20 deputies to get their weapons trained with them last week.

Herman told Eyewitness News that 20 more will train in two weeks and eventually he wants all of his deputies to have them.

"It's better to have these weapons and not need them, than to need them and not have them," he said. "Policing has changed and 20, 30 years ago you rarely heard of them fighting the police, running from the police. We have pursuits almost every other day."

He cited the attacks on outgunned officers in Dallas and in Louisiana a year ago as examples of why the $40,000 expenditure with leftover budget money from last year was worth every penny.

"The bad guys have them," he said. "We know that. And it's my job as a leader to prepare our folks and make sure we have equal to, or superior, fire power than they have should it arise."

Herman said the semi-automatic rifles are a last line of defense. Since taking office two and half years ago, he's worked to equip every deputy with bullet proof vests, tasers, chemical spray and has purchased nearly 200 new vehicles to update an aging fleet.

He said he's not stopping with the upgrades. He has also ordered the first batch of body cameras and plans on putting them on every one of his nearly 500 deputies.

Herman knows there will be critics, but claims he's not worried about them. He said he's far more concerned with his deputies and the 1.3 million residents he serves.

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