Valley police officers need firepower to fight criminals - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Valley police officers need firepower to fight criminals

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WARREN, Ohio – We have continuing coverage from last weekend's deadly shooting in Warren's business district.

Although two patrolmen arrested two suspects within minutes of the crime, officers were clearly out gunned, and out manned.

During the shootout the suspects were using major firepower; AK- 47 shell casings were found at the scene. The Warren officers who responded to the call only had a sidearm at their immediate disposal.

"You never want to go into an AK-47 fight with a 9mm and GLOCK. You want to make sure you have more armament than the bad guys and we didn't have that this time," said Warren City Council President Bob Dean.

Austintown, Youngstown, and Howland officers have some major firepower at their disposal. Poland Township's Police Chief Brian Goodin says you have to supply your officers with the tools to pursue the criminals.

"We've still got, from old school, the 12 gauge shotgun. Right next to it we have an AR15 a 223 caliber that we went to at least 15 years ago when we started facing a lot of these problems the bad guys carrying AK 47s and high powered rifles," Goodin said.

Goodin says all officers are trained and qualified on the rifle, shotgune and sidearm and each cruiser equipped with a Kevlar helmet.

But in Warren, which has seen in increase in AK 47 use, that's not the case.

Currently, most patrolmen in Warren don't have access to a high powered weapon or rifle. To get one, they would have to call a supervisor who would unlock the weapons and bring them to an unmoving site.

Critics say that is setting up police officers to be possibly injured or killed.

Council President Bob Dean says the budget will be in council's hands this week and says the safety of people in the community and residents should be the priority.

Only three patrolmen were on the job when the shooting took place Sunday morning.

"They need to look at manning and give that department every person they need and every bit of equipment," Dean said.

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