St. Joseph County police department gets new guns after almost two decades

NOW: St. Joseph County police department gets new guns after almost two decades

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- New upgrades have started at the St. Joseph County Police Department.

“What we’re ultimately doing is trading in our current handguns that were issued 18 plus years ago," said Sheriff William Redman.

They're transitioning from a Sigsauer 40 caliber weapon to a nine millimeter Smith & Wesson.

“It feels great. The grip is a lot better, it’s a lot lighter and it shoots a lot smoother," said Corporal Aris Lee.

It’s those differences that St. Joseph county police officers say are critical when they are out in the field and forced to draw their service weapons.

“The difference between the guns is life or death when you’re pulling the trigger," said Lee.

They tell me, only about 30 percent of shots fired in the line of duty actually hit suspects or vehicles on the run. That’s why they trained for about 3 hours Tuesday morning and will continue to througout the year.

About 300 rounds per officer were shot for every single one of the ten officers out Tuesday morning, just in the first training shift. That’s at least 3,000 rounds. Even so, St. Joseph county is actually saving money.

Ammunition for the new guns cost $6.06 a box less compared to the old ammo. 

According to the department, during the switch, the old weapons were traded in gun for gun.

The only purchases made were for the new holsters and ammunition. It cost about $19,000 dollars. It's paid by the department’s firearms and training account which is made up of tax payer dollars.

“With anything you have malfunctions and equipment failure and we can’t afford to have that in the line of work that we’re in. So we want to make sure that our officers have adequate new equipment so they can keep the community safe as well as themselves. I’ve been on 25 years. Not one of us want to use our guns in the line of duty but we have to be prepared and have the equipment to do so if necessary," said Redman.

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