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June 28, 2014

Troopers add patrol rifles

CSH helps GSP purchase updated firearms

MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough wants every state trooper to be qualified with a patrol rifle.

Milledgeville's entire Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Post 33 will soon carry LWRC M6 semi-automatic firearms preparing troopers for numerous active shooter and other scenarios.

The post recently acquired 10 of the .223 caliber models with both iron and AimPoint sighting systems thanks to Central State Hospital's help. Purchase occurred at no cost to the local governments.

CSH's police department, which closed Oct. 31 last year, transferred 37 Glock pistols and two shotguns to the DPS.

This covered nearly all of the cost of the M6 rifles.

Sgt. MacKay Bloodworth said the old hospital works closely with GSP.

CSH provided an ideal venue for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training last fall. This program uses dynamic, scenario-based courses to train state and local law enforcement on how to effectively and safely respond to active shooter events.

Wednesday Cpl. Gary Langford, firearms coordinator for GSP, oversaw qualification from 50 yards and in with the fresh semi-automatic rifles.

Five Post 33 troopers were already certified to carry an older M-16 meaning their training lasted eight hours. All others undergo 20 hours to be qualified and certified with the M6.

Bloodworth said the M-16 was outdated at this point.

“This gives us a new weapon with better function and longer service life,” he said. “Instead of just a few certified with the old, we'll have every trooper qualified with the M6.”

These firearms help troopers prepare for situations where a pistol or shotgun may not be applicable.

Post 33 will be better equipped to protect both themselves and the public.

Cpl. Ed Starling was M-16 certified, but looks forward to the new tool.

“It's largely on the same platform and most of the functions are the same, so it's an easy transition,” Starling said.

The updated rifles proved another level of preparedness, according to Starling.

“A newer weapons system that can be transitioned from the car to the event in an easy fashion makes things move more seamlessly,” he said. “It gives us an added advantage over where we were.”

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