LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - In the near future, every Livingston Parish Sheriff's deputy could be equipped with brand new heavy weaponry.
"I feel like if someone puts their life on the line to protect me, my family, my business and anyone that I know love and care for, I want to do as much as I can to help that person," said Dr. Ron McMorris, with Elite Chiropractic in Walker.
Some months ago, Dr. McMorris decided he wanted to make sure every Livingston deputy had the proper equipment to defend themselves and the community against heavily armed criminals. At first, he wanted to solicit donations to buy each deputy a bullet proof vest but when Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said that need had been met, Dr. McMorris switched gears to an item that's been on Sheriff Ard's wish list since he took office five years ago, more AR-15 assault rifles.
"These bad guys, if you want to call them that, will actually come with higher power. These high-power rifles are better equipped. We just want to make sure our officers, who are already highly trained, have the same type of equipment if not better equipment than the normal person would have," said Sheriff Ard.
Sheriff Ard said he didn't know that Dr. McMorris would jump straight into collecting donations.
"He said can 'I do this for you' and he did," Ard said.
Sheriff Ard said right now LPSO is regrouping after taking a huge financial hit following last year's flood and buying rifles doesn't fit in the budget. The sheriff said it's a huge help when a community member steps up to fill a void.
"There are sometimes things that are more important," Ard said. "Like, I have to buy so many vehicles and you really can't' have a patrol rifle in your car if your car won't get there. So, those are the kinds of things that have to balance out."
For the past two months, Dr. McMorris has been collecting donations from businesses and individuals. All donations will go toward the $550 needed to buy the rifle, 3 cartridges, a two-point sling and a case for each deputy. Right now, Dr. McMorris has raised enough to buy 100 Smith & Wesson M&P-15 Sport II rifles. He needs enough money to buy 50 more.
Sheriff Ard said this is an unfortunate but necessary tool.
"It gives them a whole lot more leverage," Ard said. "It's just one of those tools that's much needed. I hope we never use it but if we do, I just know that when I go to bed at night that the deputies have what they need."
Dr. McMorris said no donation is too small and 100 percent of the proceeds go towards the purchase of the rifles.
"It's very humbling to know that our community cares about us and every now and again they get an opportunity to show how much they care and they always do it," said Sheriff Ard.
Checks can be made out to LPSO and mailed to Elite Chiropractic, located at 27999 Old South Road, Suite, B in Walker.
Dr. McMorris said anyone who donates a single or multi-gun amount will be invited to a presentation at Greystone Country Club in Denham Springs on October 19. The money needed to purchase the 150 rifles will be presented to Sheriff Ard at that time.