- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bismarck City Council has approved $9,500 to purchase five high-powered M4 assault rifles for school-resource officers to keep in their vehicles.

The amount was included in the city’s 2016 budget, which was approved Tuesday by a 4-1 vote, the Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1FxCxZs ).

Deputy Police Chief Dave Draovitch said officers need to have all of the tools required to safely protect the city. The M4 is commonly used in military operations.

“We are still working out the details with the school,” Draovitch said. “We want our officers to be fully equipped to handle whatever situation they come in contact with. They’re not only at the schools, but all around town. They could respond to any incident that happens.”

School Board President Lawrence King said that he and other school administrators have been apprised of the purchase, but the full school board has not been asked to take a stance on the weapons.

“How best to equip officers is their decision,” King said. “That is their expertise.”

Resident Robert Graham questioned the purchase, saying parents of schoolchildren and other residents should have been informed. He asked the commission in the future to give residents a little more notice about the decision-making process.

Commissioner Josh Askvig said the budget has been online on the city’s website since August and he was offended that Graham implied anything was buried.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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