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July 15, 2013

Grant, creative funds usage trims cost of weapons for TPD

TARBORO — The creative management of funds will allow the Tarboro Police Department to upgrade 34 11-year old handguns, purchase ammunition, holsters and magazines without dipping into town reserves.

Police Chief Damon Williams said the department with get 34 Smith & Wesson M&P (military and police) .45 caliber handguns from Lawmen’s Law Enforcement Supply for about $50 each after trade-in. The Daily Southerner previously reported the department was purchasing Glock 9mm weapons.

Williams said Thursday that the new weapons are costing the department about $420 and Lawmen’s is allowing $370 in trade.

On top of that, the department has been notified it has been tentatively approved for a $7,500 grant thru the Governor’s Crime Commission.

“Specifically, we applied for a gun replacement grant,” Williams said. “It’s the same grant Lt. (Keith) Hale has been applying for and we got it this time.”

Williams said the department is already budgeted to spend $5,000 on ammunition in the 2013-2014 budget.

“I thought ‘Why not take $2,500 of that (to match the grant) and get everything — guns, holsters ammo and magazines, or spend the $5,000 as originally designated and get just ammo?’” he said.

“To me, that’s a no brainer … you spend more and get less? Nah.”

Williams said the grant money makes it easier on the department.

“We can have it paid for,” he said. “We can spend that (grant) money or let it go somewhere else. It (money) comes here or someplace else.”

Tarboro’s Sig Sauer handguns are now 11 years old and have been used past their life expectancy, which, depending on your internet source, ranges from seven to 10 years.

“An officer’s weapon is used in all kinds of weather,” Williams said. “Hot, cold, wet, dry, freezing … if an officer hits the ground, his weapon could also hit the ground.”

Williams describes himself as “not a gun expert. I’m a researcher … I’ll dig up all the info I can find on a weapon, but I’m not a technical guy.”

While his department in Maxton used Glock 9mm weapons, Williams admitted that he didn’t personally own a weapon.

“I use what the department gives me,” he said.

Williams said as soon as it ascertained the department’s weapons needed to be replaced, he started asking officers about what they thought.

“We got them (Lawmen’s) to bring us some weapons and we went to the firing range. They brought out .45s, a .357 and a 9mm.”

He said he decision to buy the Smith & Wesson M&P .45 was made based on what the officers wanted. He said the guns were fired extensively and were able to be evaluated as to recoil and how they performed in the field.

Williams also said the grips were interchangeable, so that officers could get grips that were sized properly for their hands.

Once the department receives confirmation of the $7,500 grant, Williams said he hopes members of the town council will approve the completion of the purchase.

 

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