College Station police will soon be getting new assault rifles and higher-level bullet-proof vests. Police Chief Jeff Capps said the department evaluated its equipment needs following the shooting last August that killed a Brazos County Constable and a civilian bystander.
It's a day that this community will never forget.
"We need one unit to go to Wellborn and Fidelity. We have one constable down. We have an active shooter,” a 911 dispatcher said over the scanner August 14th.
Last August Brian Bachmann was shot and killed by Thomas Caffall as he was serving the College Station man eviction papers.
“Brian had no chance to react. He had no chance to defend himself,” said Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk during Bachmann’s funeral.
It's also a day that drove law enforcement agencies to strengthen protection on the streets.
In a recent interview with the Eagle, College Station Police Chief Jeff Capps said, "About half of our staff had rifles prior to this, but we've been reviewing the events since and we need to get rifles in all of our officers' hands."
In an effort to ensure all police officers will be prepared and protected, Thursday, the College Station City Council approved an additional $452,000 for CSPD to purchase gear, guns, and additionally hire more patrol officers.
College Station police utilize 60 rifles, a mixture of those owned by the department and individual officers. The department will now be able to purchase 67 Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifles. According to the council meeting, the order will also include enough gear to equip 76 officers with specialized body armor.
The body armor is designed to protect against rifle rounds, such as those used against police during the tragedy on Fidelity Street. A Facebook page belonging to Caffall features several different photos of assault rifles, including a Czech-made version of the AK-47.
Caffall even commented on Facebook about several recent gun purchases, including a vintage Russian rifle. "I just got a new toy," he wrote in May 2011. "I'll be at the gun range as much as I can.
While the tragedy will never be forgotten; CSPD say they're doing everything they can to prepare for another day they hope will never happen again.
Police estimate about 80-thousand dollars of those costs will be recovered when the department buys back rifles that officers already have.
All College Station police officers will now be armed with patrol rifles and high-level bulletproof vests.
Thursday night, the city council approved a $962,000 budget amendment, $452,000 of which was for the police department.
Two new sworn police officers were approved, as was a rifle buy-back program in which officers will be able to purchase a gun "through payroll-deduction with the City incurring the up-front cost of the purchase," according to city documents. "The officer will then be able to take the weapon with them upon retirement or separation from the City."
Level III bulletproof vests will also be purchased. The highest level of body armor is IV. Also, new ballistic carriers and plates will be bought, along with tactical vests.
In total, the equipment will cost nearly $200,000, but an estimated $80,000 would be reimbursed through the rifle buy-back program.
The evaluation of the equipment needs of the department came as a result of the August 13, 2012 shooting death of Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann in College Station. CSPD responded to the scene, in which a civilian was also killed and another was seriously injured. Officers were wounded in a firefight with the gunman, who was eventually shot and killed.
College Station video of the budget amendment discussion: March 28, 2013