While sifting through the news this last weekend I came across the terrible shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge but noticed something interesting about some of the responding officers. Several of the officers that responded to the shooting and those guarding the ER at the local hospital were carrying some old M16A1 rifles. It struck me as a strange choice for a patrol rifle, I was left wondering why they wouldn’t be riding with something that hasn’t been updated a bit. Heck, there is no reason there hasn’t been a Aimpoint slapped on those rifles.
The only answer I could think of was that perhaps Baton Rouge participated in the 1033 program heavily. If you aren’t familiar with the program it was designed to donate unwanted military surplus equipment to eligible police departments. The 1033 program makes all kinds of equipment like aircraft, small arms, sandbags, medical supplies, flashlights and even clothing available to cash strapped agencies who are in need of those things.
Even though the rifles are rather outdated by today’s standards I am sure that they are perfectly serviceable and it is a bit heartwarming to see those old warhorses still ready for duty today.
Without dipping into any polarizing or political topics, I think I speak for my fellow writers when I say that our hearts are with the fallen Baton Rouge officers and their families.
UPDATE: A reader with the BRPD and is familiar with their rifle program was kind enough to send us a quick note. Thank you Lucas for the insight.
“Just want to give you a little info on our rifle program. We are heavily involved with the 1033 program, a majority of rifles that are in service in the field are the m16a1. We have several of Bushmaster 16″ rifles, but a majority of rifles on the street are 1033 program M16A1’s. On the M16A1’s we are not allowed to modify the weapon in any shape other than a sling and a light attachment.”
Phil Note: In fact many police departments participated in the federal program Patrick mentioned and acquired M16A1 rifles. Most are out of service now but I suspect after watching the news coverage and the number of M4 types being carried these M16A1 rifles were probably brought out of the armory to equip officers without a long gun.