Updated: Sep 13
New York City’s Department of Correction has made its third purchase of sniper rifles and accessories in less than a year – this time buying ammunition, scopes and tripods at a cost of about $150,000, reports Gothamist. The latest addition to the arsenal comes as the department cuts $17 million in training and detainee services from the troubled jail system and despite the fact that correction officers are not permitted to carry firearms inside jails. Correction spokesperson Latima Johnson said some officers are also first responders, and the rifles and ammunition could be used if there were an emergency elsewhere in the city – for example at nearby LaGuardia Airport. One former department official said the rifles could also be used to transport high-security detainees.
The recent purchases include $63,945 for spotting scopes and tripods, $19,828 for rifle scopes, and $69,074 for ammunition, including hollow point rounds, which are banned under the Hague Convention because of the damage they cause to soldiers but are still prized by police departments because the bullets are less likely to pass through the target and injure bystanders. The ammunition and accessories come on top of $91,171 spent on submachine guns previously reported and nearly $100,000 for sniper rifles in 2022. The purchases were made just before the city cut $17 million in job training and social services for detainees because of what Mayor Eric Adams said was the need “to make tough choices” and “be careful and make the best use of our resources.” Marc Bullaro, a former assistant deputy warden at the Rikers Island jail complex, said the likelihood of correction staffers actually using the equipment for a high-security detainee is slim. Bullaro says the department, which is currently being considered for federal takeover, should be spending its money on other things, saying, This money should be going for other stuff, especially suicide prevention training.”