Snellville police make plea for off-duty officers to carry at all times

One metro-area police department is making a public plea for all off-duty officers to carry their weapons.

It also asks legal gun owners to ramp up their training.

Snellville police Capt. Greg Perry posted the urgent plea on the department’s Facebook page after this week’s horrific mass shooting in California.

Police officers - please carry your firearm off-duty...we are so fortunate to receive the training to protect others and...

Posted by Snellville Police Department on Thursday, December 3, 2015

“You do have to have your guard up,” he said. “It's just something we have to be prepared for."

Perry's post urged all police officers in Snellville and beyond: "Please carry your firearm off-duty."

"Officers probably would have liked to relax a little bit when they're off duty, but it's just to point now that if you are out in public, you always have to be aware of your surroundings and what's going on,” he said.

He says officers need to be prepared to protect themselves and protect others at all times.

"I think they should. If something goes down, I want you to use it,” said Snellville resident Jacklyn Madden.

Others weren’t quite as excited by the idea.

"People feel intimidated, you know, by that kind of stuff, so I don't think that would be necessary,” Sylvia Eder said.

But with more than 800 likes, the post also asks "legal gun carry folks- - please learn to carry safely, so you can protect yourself and your fellow citizens."

"Think about their training as far as how they shoot, going to the range, getting professional instruction,” Perry said.

New mom Stephanie Smith said she thinks it’s good advice given the recent mass shootings.

"For the safety of other people. I mean, I want people to carry and to help keep our community safe, but you got to know how to use your weapon,” Smith said.

Perry says he still expects officers to follow their training and department policy on- or off-duty.  As for the public who may find themselves in life-threatening situations, Perry says it's always best to look for a way out first, but ultimately, it's a judgement call to take whatever steps are necessary to protect themselves.

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