Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies got new Glock handguns shortly after Sheriff Phil Sims took office. They also have shotguns in their patrol vehicles.

Now their armament has increased even more.

The sheriff’s office announced late last week that it had bought 40 AR-15s to serve as “patrol rifles” in deputies’ vehicles.

The flat-top rifles have neither sights nor slings, but will be “tricked out” as each individual deputy sees fit. No special funds will be given to the deputies for their accessories, but they can use money from their uniform allowance for that purpose.

Delton of North Carolina built the 40 rifles. They were paid for by arms-bearing citizens of Marshall County as Sheriff Phil Sims used his discretionary pistol permit money to cover the $19,000 cost.

The rifles can take either .223 or 5.56 ammo.

The latest civil unrest that has embroiled the nation was not the impetus to buy the rifles.

“We actually ordered these rifles back in March, before COVID-19,” assistant chief deputy Steve Guthrie said.

It was a large order, so it took Delton awhile to fill it. Also, the company had a COVID-related shutdown as many manufacturers did back during the spring.

“These are American-made firearms,” Guthrie said.

He said the Boaz Police Department bought four of the rifles prior to the sheriff’s office placing its order. Boaz was high on the brand and that led the sheriff’s office to go that route as well.

Lt. Willie Orr was one of the deputies being issued a rifle last week.

He plans to outfit his with an EOTech holographic sight. He said it makes more sense than ever for officers to have weapons like the AR-15s.

“In this day and age, we at least need to be able to respond to a situation with at least the same capability as what we are responding to,” he said.

Patrol vehicles are equipped with a locking rack for the weapons, one side for the shotgun and the other side for the rifle, Guthrie said.


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