STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BURNET — Burnet Police Department officers refuse to be caught “under the gun” now that the agency has outfitted itself with new rifles paid for by a National Rifle Association Foundation grant.
“If we end up having a manhunt out in the country, these officers will be better equipped than the bad guy,” Burnet Police Chief Paul Nelson said. “If we have an active shooter in a business, they’ll go into that building with a rifle instead of a shotgun.”
With more than $5,000 of grant money, BPD purchased three fully equipped and scoped Colt Patrol Rifles with officer firearms training scheduled in September.
“With this rural area, we look for grants to help us purchase equipment,” Nelson said. “It’s money in the budget that we can use for something else.”
Officers now have an opportunity to have agency-assigned rifles for patrol.
“Our officers typically carry patrol rifles with money out of their own pockets,” he said.
Burnet County Friends of NRA Chairman Mark McDonald said local efforts allowed the entity to offer BPD one of seven total grants for local groups.
“Fifty percent of all the money that we raise comes back to support local grants,” McDonald said.
Other grant awardees were three Burnet County 4-H shooting teams, the police departments in Horseshoe Bay and Granite Shoals, and the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office.
“We fund firearm training programs, safety programs. We do the law enforcement grants primarily for ammunition, firearms, and equipment,” McDonald said.
In the most recent fundraising events, the local NRA nonprofit fundraising entity sold more than $7,000 in prize tickets for the Gone in 60 event.
The fundraiser involved ticket buyers vying for 60 guns for $60 with the drawing occurring in a 60-minute time period.
Eleven local ticket holders won firearms in the drawing Sept. 10 in Conroe, McDonald said.
“Through the hard work of our volunteers and the funds we raised locally from the taxpayers, we’re able to provide critical funding for local law enforcement to help support them in keeping us all safe,” he added.