FAIRFIELD — During the manhunt for John D. Williams, the Madison man charged with killing Cpl. Eugene Cole during the early morning of April 25, Fairfield police noticed they had a different problem on their hands: Some of their gear they needed to participate in the manhunt was out-of-date or had fallen into disrepair.

In Town Manager Michelle Flewelling’s monthly report for June, Chief Thomas Gould said police discovered “several equipment deficiencies.”

“We purchased two more sets of battle gear so every officer had extra protection and a bullet resistant helmet during the search,” Gould said.

“I normally apply for a grant to purchase four per year and planned to order the last two this summer.”

Gould said they were two sets of combat gear short of what they needed. He said he has written grants for four new ones for each of the last two years.

Gould also wrote that some of the department’s portable radios and flashlights were in “poor shape” and had to be repaired and have new batteries installed.

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Some batteries were almost a decade old, while the average lifespan of such batteries is one to two years. To ensure this doesn’t happen again, Gould had to start a battery rotation, and now replacement batteries will be bought every three years.

The department is also budgeting to buy five new rifles this year. The military-issued M-16 rifles they are using date back to the 1950s and “are also in poor shape.” The rifles they have now also are fully automatic, which is not the preferred setting for patrol rifles.

In an interview, Gould said the weapons were not a part of the deficiencies during the manhunt, and the department already had been planning to replace them.

“Using these funds, as well as old department-issued shotguns and rifles, we were able to purchase 10 patrol rifles so each officer can be issued one,” Gould wrote.

The note goes on to say that police have equipped all police cruisers with hidden electronic switches that must be activated for the vehicle to shift into drive. This step was taken in response to Williams stealing Cole’s cruiser after he allegedly shot the deputy.


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