Aragon City Council - March 2019

Aragon Police Chief Paul Mazzuca showed off the style of vest he’d like for his officers to decrease the amount of weight they are carrying while on duty. / Sean Williams

The Aragon Council is making sure the city’s officers have the gear they need to protect and serve, and while the approval of additional police cars was tabled, new rifles and outer vest carriers were approved for purchase in the meantime.

The group agreed to purchase the guns, two Smith & Wesson, M&P 15 rifles, from vendor Cherokee Gun for $505.00 each. Aragon Police Chief Paul Mazzuca is already equipped with one as a personal weapon, so the two weapons will be for the benefit of Sgt. Christian Cruz and Sgt. Michael Evans.

Since they could apply pressure from a much greater distance, the officers felt the tools would ultimately help keep themselves and others safe. Cruz also mentioned that, if they lose their pistols or run out of ammo, the rifles would offer additional recourse in high stakes scenarios.

“We’re in a dangerous situation as law enforcement officers, and that’s the reality of it,” Cruz said. “Myself and Sgt. Evans do not have rifles at all. If we get into a situation, what we have on us- that’s it. Once we run out, we’re stuck.”

Three new vests, fully equipped with the necessary pouches and compartments, were also approved under the mindset of keeping officers safe. Like with the rifles, the police department’s small equipment budget will front the $1,129.28 bill from Balco Uniform, but the officers felt it was a necessary expenditure.

The weight of police gear can quickly add up, but the new vests are designed to focus the weight on the shoulders instead of the hips. This means increased maneuverability, and other bullet proof vests can be placed inside.

“That’s about 40 pounds they’re wearing on their hips” Mazzuca said of Cruz and Evans. “Everything here is carried from the shoulders- not from the hips. Which gives them a lot more maneuverability. Our bullet proof vest goes inside of this.”

Prior to the March 21 meeting, the Aragon Police Department had reportedly spent only $446 of their $4,900 small equipment budget. The rifles and vests totaled $2,139.28, so the officers still have $2,760.72 for any future needs.

The officers also delivered their monthly activity report, and the February stats showed a total of 168 service calls, 133 traffic stops, 112 citations, and 16 arrests.

Each stop has the potential to become violent, so the board felt the officers’ safety was worth any potential financial strain.

“I’m all about saving money, but their lives are more important than their job,” council member Candace Seiz said.