DeKalb Co. sheriff working to provide off-duty deputies firearms
DEKALB COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris announced Tuesday that his department is working to raise money to buy all certified deputies a backup weapon to carry when they are off-duty.
Harris said in a release that is is his place as sheriff to protect people's safety and security. The release comes after Thursday's shootings in Chattanooga, TN that left four Marines and a sailor dead.
"When we have laws that will not allow our military personnel to wear a weapon on this soil that leaves them wide open and unable to protect themselves," said Harris. "I ask each and every one of you to take a look at how you are prepared to protect yourself. If you are not prepared it is time that you get self-defense training or firearms training."
In an interview Tuesday, Harris said the department doesn't have a current policy about deputies carrying weapons when off duty. If the department can raise enough funds, deputies would have backup weapons to carry while they are off.
"The world is in a state of disarray and the United States is going down fast," said Harris. "We are losing everything that our founding fathers based this country on. Until last week almost all the bad terrorist or mass shootings were somewhere else and now they are in our backyard."
The sheriff was critical of current laws that ban military personnel from carrying weapons.
When we have laws that will not allow our military personnel to wear a weapon on this soil that leaves them wide open and unable to protect themselves," Harris said. "I ask each and every one of you to take a look at how you are prepared to protect yourself. If you are not prepared it is time that you get self-defense training or firearms training."
The sheriff hopes to purchase around 50 Glock 9-millimeter pistols with the help of contributors and proceeds from the pistol permit fund. He expects it to take about one to two months to purchase the guns and issue them.
Harris said the easy-to-carry pistols will help deputies be prepared for any threat, weather it's ISIS-inspired or not. He stressed that the firearms would not be in plain sight.
"I'm going to ask them to wear them to the movies, wear them to church, to wear them wherever they're at where they can protect their family, their friends, and the people in this country," he said.
Harris reminded everyone to be observant of their surroundings and to be prepared to protect themselves. He said he discourages open-carry because you would be the first target.
One resident we spoke with thinks it's a good idea for deputies and himself.
"More protection; better off, we'll be," said Drew Partain. "I've actually talked to my dad about going and getting my carry permit for me, just for the protection of my family and of myself."
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