Arizona police department mounts AR-15 rifles on backs of some motorcycles

Some officers in the Tempe Police Department are now able to drive around with AR-15 rifles mounted behind them, local authorities said.

At least eight of the department’s motorcycles now have a mount on the backs where officers can place the rifle. Tempe Police Sgt. Ronald Elcock told KNXV that the department tested the mounts for a few months before deciding to implement them.

The reasoning, he said, is to equip the officers with something more powerful than a handgun, as motorcycle officers are typically the first to arrive at a crime scene.

A Tempe police officer with an AR-15 rifle mounted behind him.

A Tempe police officer with an AR-15 rifle mounted behind him. (AP)

"We don’t want to go into those situations where we aren’t able to keep the public safe,” Elcock said, adding that there’s a special “locking mechanism” to keep the rifles locked onto the motorcycles. Fox 4 also reported that the gun barrels are pointed toward the ground when they’re on the mount.

Elcock, who said that officers in Tempe who drive regular patrol cars have been equipped with such rifles “for years,” acknowledged that some people “may be scared to see it."

“However, when we explain to them the reason why we have it I think it puts them a little bit more at ease,” he said.

Elcock did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.