(PA) West Mifflin Council Won't Use Grant For Motorcycle; Wants Bigger Guns


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Drizzt
December 31, 2002, 04:26 PM
Copyright 2002 P.G. Publishing Co.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


December 31, 2002 Tuesday REGION EDITION

SECTION: ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT, Pg.S-5

LENGTH: 277 words

HEADLINE: WEST MIFFLIN COUNCIL WON'T USE GRANT TO BUY MOTORCYCLE; WANTS BIGGER GUNS

BYLINE: JIM HOSEK, TRI-STATE SPORTS & NEWS SERVICE

BODY:
West Mifflin council has declined to use a $15,000 state grant to buy a police motorcycle. It remains to be seen whether the panel will ask state

Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, who sponsored the grant, whether the money can be used instead to buy more potent handguns, as Council President Albert Kopay wants. The vote against motorcycle usage was 4-3. William Welsh, Richard Olasz and Rege Stephenson dissented. Bonnie Nagy provided the swing vote.

"I get a grant, and you reject it," Mayor John Andzelik said in exasperation.

"I'll write [Costa] and tell him I don't want the grant used for more powerful guns."

He argued that a motorcycle is a dire need, but Kopay disagreed. "We need bigger guns," he said.

"How these people can vote down [Andzelik's] experience is beyond me," Olasz said, referring to the mayor's 27 years' experience in the borough's police department, including being chief.

Stephenson said if bigger guns are desired, council should put them in next year's budget, which has not yet been approved.

Andzelik said drug-forfeiture money could be used for purchasing higher-caliber guns.

Kopay advocated replacing the police department's 9 mm weapons with .40-caliber handguns to better protect police officers.

Manager Howard Bednar told council it could decide later whether to use the grant for guns or any other purpose, then get Costa's permission.

"It's disappointing that they couldn't agree on the motorcycle, which is a fine cause," Costa told the Post-Gazette.

"But it's really their call. I hope they can come to an agreement. I don't know enough about the guns to comment on that."
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I wonder why the paper placed this in the Arts and Entertainment section?

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Soap
December 31, 2002, 04:40 PM
I grew up near West Mifflin. They need new guns like I need a bra. Sure "need" has nothing do with guns...but when its the taxpayers who are footing the bill, frugality better be #1. But to any government, frugality is a four letter word.

Pendragon
December 31, 2002, 04:57 PM
Still, you have to kind of smile that some people are getting bent because of other people wanting bigger guns.

Plan-B
December 31, 2002, 05:19 PM
As an avid motorcycler myself, that would be a tough decision for me to make. Hmmm... new bike... new guns... new bike... new guns...

Beren
December 31, 2002, 11:21 PM
Bah. That makes me question the competency of the leadership of the West Mifflin PD! They just want to be like the "big city boys" in nearby Pittsburgh and the PA State Police. :P

Me, I make like the USSS and carry a 357SIG. ;)

Sure, moving over to all Glock 35's would be swell, but there are many other things the PD could use.

Beren
December 31, 2002, 11:24 PM
Ooops. After reading the article again, I must apologize to the WMPD. The Mayor, who wants to buy a motorcycle, thinks the 9's are fine. It's the Council President who wants to get new guns. Oh well, color me stupid!

alan
January 1, 2003, 12:53 AM
Beren:

The tried and true 1911 pistol is "bigger" than the 40 S & W. I don't know what the cops in West Mifflin carry, but I didn't think that in that area, they had such a serious violent crime problem, that "bigger giuns" are needed for the cops. What they likely really do need is to learn how to shoot straight, something that a whole lot of cops do not know.

dinosaur
January 1, 2003, 06:45 AM
West Mifflin is a suburb of Pittsburgh. It`s interesting that some of the same people who carry custom big bores because they "need" superior firepower while sitting at a computer screen all day would begrudge street cops an upgrade. :banghead:

I doubt a motorcycle is a must have except for parades. That seems to be the real waste of taxpayer money.

Kevinch
January 1, 2003, 10:58 AM
I doubt a motorcycle is a must have except for parades. That seems to be the real waste of taxpayer money.

Well, that's not true. A lot of cities - I would say most - have motorcycle squads, or at least a bike or 2. They can maneuver in situations where a 4 wheeled cage cannot easily get by.

But you can't fault them for wanting to get rid of their 9MMs. But hey - why play around with a .40S&W? If your gonna go, go all the way & get a .45ACP!

Soap
January 1, 2003, 11:29 AM
It`s interesting that some of the same people who carry custom big bores because they "need" superior firepower while sitting at a computer screen all day would begrudge street cops an upgrade.

There is a large difference with people on THR who have custom big bores: They paid for them out of their own pocket.

El Tejon
January 1, 2003, 11:46 AM
Just an idea: take the money they want for scooters or new guns and buy more ammo and send them to skul.

Soap
January 1, 2003, 11:48 AM
Just an idea: take the money they want for scooters or new guns and buy more ammo and send them to skul.

Woah! Be careful now! I hear that knowledge of gunhandling will turn you into a mall ninja! ;)

Sean Smith
January 1, 2003, 11:53 AM
Funny, the SAS seems to do fine with 9mm. But then again, they can aim.

Of course, maybe their 9mms are worn out and old or something. Wanting new guns could be legit, and if so then why not get .40 S&W to be cool like the neighbor kids while you're at it? The whole thing could be caricatured as "me want big gun" just to make them look stupid.

Beren
January 1, 2003, 02:45 PM
It`s interesting that some of the same people who carry custom big bores because they "need" superior firepower while sitting at a computer screen all day would begrudge street cops an upgrade.

It's interesting that I couldn't use public funds to purchase my stock Glock 32.

alan
January 1, 2003, 02:47 PM
Dinasour wrote:

"West Mifflin is a suburb of Pittsburgh. It`s interesting that some of the same people who carry custom big bores because they "need" superior firepower while sitting at a computer screen all day would begrudge street cops an upgrade.

I doubt a motorcycle is a must have except for parades. That seems to be the real waste of taxpayer money."


I live in Pgh suburbs, lived in Pittsburgh for many years, along with a lot of other places too. As has been noted by other posters, the "custom big bores" that computer sitters at "need" were purchased by those who were "needful", not with public dollars. Also, as above noted by others, the SAS seemed to get by with the old Browning HiPower. I suspect that they did a lot better than simply "getting by". Of course, these people were taught to shoot, and they worked at it.

I believe that it was the late Finn Aagard, originally of Kenya and later of The U.S. observed that, re hunting, he had been a PH in Kenya, an animal well shot with the .303 Lee Enfield is likely quickly dead, whereas anothere animal, gut shot with a 40mm Bofors gutshot. Aagard had seen action during the Mau Mau period in Kenya.

Do the cops NEED an upgrade, I cannot say, however if they hadn't learned to shoot straight with whatever it is that they were carrying, sounds like 9mm, then the question of are they likely to learn how to handle a new sidearm deserves close examination. Also deserving examination is the question of why they hadn't acquired the shooting skills that they should have. Do they really NEED a new pistol, or is the 40 S & W merely the latest fad, to be replaced tomorrow or the next day with some other magical whizz-bang??

El Tejon
January 1, 2003, 03:39 PM
Why not just let the coppers carry PODA? Whatever they qualify with they can carry.

This is what my LE agency did. Help the taxpayers and the LEOs.

Beren
January 1, 2003, 06:16 PM
I wouldn't have a problem with that. BYOG. ;) Wouldn't mind an issued sidearm though, either. What I do mind is mucho taxpayer dollars spent converting an entire department over to a new weapon system that is, at best, only marginally more effective than their existing system.

The cost of all the new firearms is only the beginning. New ammo. Time spent retraining and requalifying with the new firearm (time that could be spent out catching criminal).

If they're going to spend $15,000 of the taxpayer's money, I'd much rather see it go towards officer training, body armor, etc.

Kevinch
January 1, 2003, 07:09 PM
I don't live in West Mifflin - I'm further out to the east. I'll admit I don't know what the police are using.

How is that so many people know what I don't?

I mean, I quess it must be common knowledge, because a lot of the wisdom here indicates they don't need upgrades. To make a call like that, you are either closely involved or trust the Mayor, whom I'll assume you know....(as he also believes the current equipment is adequate).

Then there are posts indicating better training would be money better spent - then posts that moan the cost of additional training for new weapons.

Personally, I want my local LE to be equipped & equipped well. Anything done to excess is waste, but money spent on keeping my PD up to date, trained, & well protected is money well spent.

I said in a previous post that I don't think spending the money on a motorcycle is necessarily a waste, & I still don't - but I'm not in any position to determine what the department is in need of. I'd love to hear from someone who is closely involved - a member of the PD, council, or a knowledgable member of the community.

Daniel Flory - do you still live near there? Do you know what they are carrying (other than a 9MM)? If you were on the force, would you want "frugality" #1, with quality and suitability somewhere lower on the ladder?

Alan - since when does frequency of crime determine what caliber of weapon should be issued? If I were on the force, I'd want to be well equipped no matter how much crime was in the area.

Friends, no :fire: intended. But LE can find themselves in the line of fire, & I think the PD is best equipped to decide what they need. I'm just wondering if this is a political push & shove between 2 groups at the PD expense.

Soap
January 1, 2003, 07:41 PM
Kevinch-

Daniel Flory - do you still live near there? Do you know what they are carrying (other than a 9MM)? If you were on the force, would you want "frugality" #1, with quality and suitability somewhere lower on the ladder?

I grew up in Washington. IIRC they had Beretta 92s or 92Ds. But I haven't lived there for years so I'm not sure what the current issue is. Regardless, I'm sure that the current pistols are quality and suitable for the task at hand.

If I were a police officer, I would feel that it was my duty to the taxpayers to perform my job with the least amount of tax dollars spent. If it were my butt on the line, I would lobby to get my PD to allow the carrying of personally purchased weapons. Then I could carry what I wanted.

Kevinch
January 1, 2003, 07:48 PM
Hi Daniel:If it were my butt on the line, I would lobby to get my PD to allow the carrying of personally purchased weapons.

Well, I can agree with that sentiment but remember: these guys are police officers, & many are not gun enthusiasts. A gun is simply a piece of equipment used on the job. Add to the fact that the starting pay for officers in small departments can be relatively low, & it is easy to understand how buying a quality gun, then the holster, etc. might be a strain on a guy who is trying to feed a family.

Soap
January 1, 2003, 07:55 PM
Kevinch- I understand having a tight budget since I'm a poor married college kid ;) I've managed to put together a nice gun battery living on minimal income...but then again I don't have any kids. So I think that a viable option would be for cops to raise the money for new gear by charity.

alan
January 2, 2003, 01:00 AM
Alan - since when does frequency of crime determine what caliber of weapon should be issued? If I were on the force, I'd want to be well equipped no matter how much crime was in the area.

If I were a working cop, I would much rather carry a piece that I was familiar with, and that I could shoot straight with, that it was of adequate power, and quality rather than the latest Whizz-bang, that had caught someone's fancy. With proper shot placement and appropriate ammunition, the 9mm Luger round is not inadequate. The SAS had done quite well with theirs, though they are taught to shoot, and they also work at shooting, as I mentioned before.

As for the start of your question, the frequency of crime has no bearing on the caliber of the service arm.

Kevinch
January 2, 2003, 12:11 PM
If I were a working cop, I would much rather carry a piece that I was familiar with, and that I could shoot straight with, that it was of adequate power, and quality rather than the latest Whizz-bang, that had caught someone's fancy.

Right - but remember, if you were a working cop it might be that the only gun you shoot is your service gun. Like I said, some of these guys aren't enthusiasts and/or don't have the resources to have a gun collection.

Then as far as upgrading, the 9MM was probably considered the latest "Whiz-bang" when the police were carrying .38 Special revolvers. Would you have then been against the upgrade to a 9MM semi-auto? Remember now, it might have been that the only handgun you were familar with at the time was a department issued K-frame S&W.

While need should be evaluated, I'm not about to claim that the trend of large LE organizations moving up in caliber from 9MM to .40S&W (or whatever) is a greed motivated attempt to "keep up with the Jones' ". Tactics notwithstanding, the famous Miami shootout exposed just how much damage could be inflicted on LE officers after the BG's had suffered fatal wounds, but weren't down yet.

I think the PD should evaluate that need, & weigh it against other department requirements, funds available, etc. It's their lives on the line. You & I only have to convince our wives what we need (assuming you're married - I know it's a requirement here!).

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