SEMINARY, MS (WDAM) - Recent deadly shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge have law enforcement officers on edge across the country.
Pine Belt officers are experiencing the same stress. Officials from Seminary said they are preparing themselves for the worst-case scenarios and receiving help from the community.
A local business gave the Seminary Police Department an AR-15 and bullet-proof vest to help officers better protect themselves.
"We feel an overwhelming encouragement from the community," Seminary Police Chief Michael Kelly said.
Donations like this matter, especially to small departments that do not have the finances to supply each officer with this type of weapon.
"Police officers lose battles when the enemy is outgunning them," Kelly said. "So we have to be able to provide our officers not equivalent weapons systems to the enemy, but superior weapon systems to the enemy."
To keep his force safe, Kelly allows his officers to bring their own guns to work as long as they are qualified to handle their weapons.
"So whatever it takes to for me to equip my men with life-saving tools, that's exactly what I am going to do," Kelly said.
The American Pawn and Jewelry store in Hattiesburg is also trying to help out officers by offering assault rifles at lower prices.
Store Owner Rob Ulmer said the guns usually cost over $700, but he will sell them for about $500.
"I make no money, no profit," Ulmer said. "I'm not doing this for fame or fortune or anything, I really stand with my law enforcement friends and the community."
The Seminary Police Department said little acts of kindness from the community truly make a difference. The department is also participating in extra training and applying for a grant to receive more equipment.
WDAM 7 News asked the Hattiesburg Police Department if the department was low on equipment or if officers were bringing their own rifles to work, but the department had no comment.