Tempe, AZ – The Tempe Police Department (TPD) has announced that they are rolling out AR-15 mounts on their police motorcycles.
Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir brought the idea with her when she joined TPD, according to Commander Michal Pooley. Chief Moir was previously chief of police in El Cerrito, California.
The chief said that police motorcycles can get to a lot of scenes that are not easily accessible to four-wheeled vehicles. She pointed out they can cut through traffic and drive down sidewalks and arrive at scenes first, which meant they needed to have the right kind of firepower to respond.
Criminals are using more high-powered rifles and long guns to commit their crimes, and officers don't want to be left outgunned, Cmdr. Pooley told the Phoenix New Times.
Tempe police have had AR-15s for more than 15 years, but they’re usually stored in the trunk of a police vehicle, not mounted on full display on the exterior, as they are with a motorcycle.
Cmdr. Pooley said that initially, TPD was worried the new gun racks on the back of police motorcycles wouldn’t be well-received by the community.
"We're always concerned about public perceptions. We don't want people to think we're carrying these around for no reason,” he said.
But the response from the residents has been the opposite of that. In fact, Cmdr. Pooley said the department had "gotten a lot of positive feedback" since the AR-15s started appearing on patrol motorcycles.
He said the mounts were fitted with a special locking system that prevented random citizens from taking them off the bike.
None of the Tempe motorcycle officers has fired an AR-15 in the line of duty since they’ve been added to their bikes, but they have had to pull them out a few times, Cmdr. Pooley told the Phoenix New Times.