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(KY) Legislation tries to resolve issue of new handguns for state police

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Drizzt, Feb 24, 2003.

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  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

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    Legislation tries to resolve issue of new handguns for state police
    Concerns on safety led agency to shelve one pistol model
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By Joe Biesk
    Associated Press

    FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky State Police armory has been filled with a stockpile of more than 1,000 unused handguns since last spring because of a swirling debate about their reliability.

    Now, in the waning days of the General Assembly's short session, a bill awaiting Senate action would prohibit state police officials from ever issuing those pistols.

    The measure, which has passed the House, also would allow officials to dip into a state fund -- now earmarked for local law-enforcement agencies -- to buy new guns.

    Questions have circulated among state troopers and administrators about the guns' reliability for some time -- even before the pistols were obtained in a gun-for-gun trade.

    On-duty state troopers have used 10mm Smith & Wesson Model 1076 handguns for approximately the past decade, officials said. But questions about their wear and tear arose more than two years ago after an annual inspection, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    State police inspectors had concerns about some duty guns that had metal missing near the magazine safety, prompting questions to the manufacturer about their continued performance and safety, according to records.

    Months later, the company offered state police a swap for the 1,200 older guns in exchange for 1,200 brandnew Smith & Wesson .45-caliber pistols -- specifically the Model 4566TSW, documents show.

    Officials agreed to the deal last year, despite grumblings from troopers who felt the guns were not best suited for their needs. Then-State Police Commissioner Ishmon Burks, now the state's Justice Cabinet secretary, eventually agreed to the exchange, said John Lile, Justice Cabinet deputy secretary.

    ''Commissioner Burks, at the time, had the .45s tested by a committee. They were found to be reliable, and he signed a contract with Smith & Wesson for that weapon,'' Lile said. ''Part of it was a savings to the commonwealth.''

    An added benefit in the agreement was state police would not have had to pay for new leather holsters, Lile said.

    The deal itself called for the state police to trade in the old guns, with troopers having the option to buy the weapons they were using for $370.

    But the deal met with strong opposition from troopers, said Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville.

    According to a state police memo, an internal survey of nine state police officers ranging from trooper to executive security staff -- performed months after the trade -- found the guns ranked last out of nine weapons they tested.

    One memo from a group of state police academy firearms trainers -- dated months before the swap -- recommended officials look into buying a type of .40-caliber Glock should the agency ever consider new guns.

    ''To choose something else . . . would be a disservice to our brothers and sisters in the field,'' said the memo, which was signed by a trooper and three sergeants.

    Sgt. Alex Payne, a firearms instructor for the state police, said he wrote that letter. He said he was puzzled later when he heard of the deal to acquire the new guns.

    ''You just kind of shake your head, 'Why?' '' Payne said. ''That's all you could ask.''

    Of the 1,200 guns acquired in the trade, state police ran 114 of them through a battery of tests last summer. ''It appears there was about a 15 or 16 percent failure rate and that there were some stoppages,'' Lile said.

    The state police may have an independent agency test the guns to determine their reliability, Lile said.

    Nevertheless, Damron, the legislator who sponsored the House proposal, said he feels the guns should be auctioned off as collector's items.

    Lile said cabinet officials are preparing to testify before a Senate committee this week about the situation, which potentially could wind up in court. He said there are still some questions that need to be answered concerning the guns' reliability.

    Smith & Wesson spokesman Ken Jorgensen said negotiations between the company and the state are continuing.

    ''I understand there's still some discussions going on and we hope for an amicable resolution,'' he said.

    Under Damron's proposal, state troopers would be allowed to buy back their current 10mm Smith & Wesson guns. The state could then auction off any remaining old pistols, along with the new .45-caliber ones, Damron said.

    Damron's bill also would allow the state police up to $400,000 from a fund generated through the sale of confiscated weapons. That money, he said, would be used to pay for extra expenses in arming the troopers.

    The state could realize at least $500 for each of those guns because most have never been used and they have a Kentucky State Police emblem, Damron said. He said he believes that would make them collector's items.

    Money from the auction would be used to pay off the state's bill from Smith & Wesson.

    Damron said the legislation is intended for state police officials to then buy the guns the troopers want.

    ''My main intent on this whole process is to facilitate the officers' having what they want,'' Damron said. ''And that's the only people I care about.''

    But state police officials have not decided whether they want to sell the newer guns or even whether they actually have problems with their reliability, Lile said. Nor have officials decided on a particular gun they would buy should they decide to make another change, he added.

    If, through further testing, the guns are determined to be reliable, Lile said, troopers may reconsider their opinions. And some of the troopers' opinions could be based on their personal preferences, Lile said.

    ''The cabinet's position is that we want to have the most reliable weapon. We are concerned about the safety of the troopers,'' Lile said. ''But we also have a contract with Smith & Wesson, and the question is: 'Is the weapon reliable or not?' ''

    Still, troopers' minds seem to be set.

    ''I hope eventually that the right thing's done. It's not a personal, 'I like this over I like that,' '' Payne said. ''It comes down to what's best for the men and women in the field. It's what would best serve them -- that's the bottom line.''

    http://www.courierjournal.com/localnews/2003/02/24/ke022403s371576.htm
     
  2. Boats

    Boats member

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    The Kool-Aide must be mighty tasty in Kentucky. "Hey, let's get .40S&W Glocks, cuz we can always use them as Holy Hand Grenades of Antioch if they kB! Anything else would be a disservice.":rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2003
  3. garrettwc

    garrettwc Member

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    A 15% failure rate is 14.99% too high for a gun that must be depended on by persons going into harm's way. Officer safety should be the first priority here.

    If they like a Glock, Sig, HK, (insert fav gun here) what does it matter? As long as it is 100% reliable and of a caliber 9MM or above.

    I have to question what is going on between KY and S&W. The state shouldn't be trying to figure out how to unload them. These guns should be going back to S&W no questions asked. I am not familiar with how manufacturers negotiate deals with purchasing agents for departments, is a 15% failure rate perfectly acceptable under the terms of a contract?
     
  4. jc2

    jc2 member

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    Sounds to me like somebody (Payne) really wants Glocks and will do what it takes to get them (and force them down everybody else's throat) no matter what the cost to the tax payers of his state. An even swap of 1200 1066TSWs for 1200 ten-year old 1076s was a very, very good deal for the people of Kentucky--not to mention the savings in holsters, mag pouches, etc. I am a little surprised though they didn't go with the decocker or DAO version rather than the TDA.

    We have also have some what sounds like misinformation floating around--there's no way the 4566TSWs have a 15% failure rate.

    And shades of the S&M School of Creative Statistics--a survey of "nine state police officers ranging from trooper to executive security staff" didn't like the weapon--talk about your statistical accuracy.

    I like the last quote by Payne, "''I hope eventually that the right thing's done. It's not a personal, 'I like this over I like that,' '' Payne said. ''It comes down to what's best for the men and women in the field. It's what would best serve them -- that's the bottom line. [So long as it is the Glock I want!]"
     
  5. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Meanwhile back at Kentuc State Po-Po HQ:

    "I tell you what, boy. Let's sell them guns to them stupid Hoosiers, we'll make a mint. We'll stamp KSP on 'em and them Hoosiers will say [mocking voice] 'wow, golly gee, what a cool gun; I will purchase two please.'":D
     
  6. Russ

    Russ Member

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    After they sell those old gun to those stupid Hoosiers, they should give each officer $500 and let them buy there own guns from an approved list of 9mm, 10mm, .40's and .45's. That way, everyone would get what they want and it would probably be cheaper overall. Frankly, I fail to see why the Smith .45's wouldn't fit the bill. Maybe becase they are such lousy shots that they need more rounds.
     
  7. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Russ, what? Let the police carry what they want/can qualify with? I ask you, sir: where's the money for kickbacks in that?

    Of course, we used to do this for militree officers as well. But politics is far more important that the safety of the republic.:rolleyes:
     
  8. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    El Tejon,

    "Kickbacks" may play a tiny part in that, but don't you think that the tilecrawler-infested status of today's world plays one that is orders of magnitude larger? ;)
     
  9. joebogey

    joebogey Member

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    ''My main intent on this whole process is to facilitate the officers' having what they want,'' Damron said. ''And that's the only people I care about.''
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rep. Damron is the one who backed and was instrumental in getting the CCW passed in Ky.
    I have talked to him a few times via email, and he seems to be a pretty nice guy.
    Was very helpful in a problem I was having concerning my wifes' workplace and her right to carry.
     
  10. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Tamara, when one considers the world of eu certs, kickbacks and kickbacks alone always come to the fore.
     
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