by Yasmeen Hassan

SAM JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) — The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is stepping up security and you are going to be able to see the difference because deputies will now be patrolling events with their rifles.

“I noticed immediately him pulling out his rifle and sticking it to his chest,” Stockton resident, Tamra Vargas, said.

READ MORE: Dramatic Price Drop At Pump Draws Drivers To Galt Gas Station

“In light of recent events, both locally and nationally, it’s necessary to protect the public,” Andrea Lopez, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office public information officer said.

Deputies say having the rifles on them, instead of locked in their cars, will save time in an emergency when every second counts.

“We realize that this is a very controversial issue however public safety is what matters most,” Lopez said.

READ MORE: Jewelry Store Owner Says Suspects Stole 300K Worth of Merchandise

READ ALSO: Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself In An Active Shooter Situation

Since this is a first for the department, the reaction has been mixed, but everyone wants to feel safe.

“My immediate natural reaction is how disturbing is that? It’s almost like we’re in a third world country however there’s a comfort to it. You hope you’re being protected,” Vargas said.

“I don’t want to let fear guide what we’re going to do. We’re still going to go out and enjoy ourselves. I like that they’re taking extra caution but it’s unfortunate they have to do that in the first place,” Stockton resident, Matt Camino, said.

MORE NEWS: Saturday's Show Info (12/4/21)

But not all the deputies will be carrying rifles at events. Before each event they work, a team assesses the area and figures out what kind of security is necessary.