NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of AR-15 rifles were supposed to be in the hands of Los Angeles School Police officers. But they are headed back to Washington, D.C.
The rifles were given to the school district through a military-surplus program, which allows for unused military-grade weapons to be sent to local law enforcement groups across the country.
News of the giveback had some parents surprised that LAUSD was even using military-grade weapons.
Dennis Murphy’s son is a student at the magnet program at North Hollywood High School. “Frightening idea, really scary. There’s no reason to have lethal force available on public school grounds.”
In a story first reported by KPCC, the district is giving back a total of 61 military AR-15 rifles. KPCC also obtained a list of the weapons available to district officers, which includes a variety of brands of pistols, rifles and other guns.
P.J. Webb, the head of the district’s police union representing sergeants and lieutenants, said the district is getting out of the military surplus program altogether. “These rifles were so old and so worn out they weren’t being utilized anyway.”
Webb said perception about his fellow officers does not always match reality. “There’s an inaccurate picture being painted by a lot of people out there that our officers are walking around all day long on these school campuses with rifles strapped across their body. And that’s completely inaccurate.”
Some parents said a heavily armed school police force may be a necessary evil. “I would say you fight fire with fire. So maybe that’s a good policy. But I don’t know because I’m really against arms and firearms,” Steph Reynaud said.
According to Webb, the district was given tear-gas launchers and an armor-personnel carrier he said was never used and was also returned.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Tom Wait reached out to the school district for comment but has not heard back.
(Image credit: Chris Browning)