Carnegie police armed with upgraded guns
Carnegie’s police chief hopes a change in police-issued weapons will provide officers with greater confidence as they head out to the streets to protect the community.
Since the department made the switch at the end of May from the .40 caliber Sig Sauer to the 9 mm Glock — a lighter gun that holds more, smaller ammunition — the department has seen an increase in accuracy as officers test the weapons said police Chief Jeffrey Kennedy.
“I think it helps with morale, because, yeah, they’re confident with this gun,” he said. “I believe right now that we have the best.”
Kennedy said he realized late last year it was time for the department to purchase new weapons for its 13 officers, including himself. With guns that were 12 years old, it was time for an upgrade, he said. He was able to trade in the department’s pistols, bringing the cost of 14 new guns to $2,100.
Kennedy sought the expertise of Scott Township officer and firearms instructor Shawn Kosanovich, who spends hours studying firearm trends to ensure officers are equipped with the latest and best.
“If they ask me a question, I have to be able to give them an answer,” Kosanovich said. “If by the same token, if I’m wrong, I don’t want to put 22 guy’s lives in jeopardy.”
Scott police made the switch from .40 caliber to 9mm pistols about five years ago for its 24 officers, Kosanovich said.
In 1986, FBI agents stopped carrying the 9mm in exchange for larger ammunition after a shootout in Miami that left two special agents dead, he said. In recent years, however, the FBI returned to the 9mm because of improvements.
“What we’ve come to find out is the product, it was a better product than it was back then,” Kosanovich said.
Kosanovich displayed photos of how .40 caliber and 9mm ammo expand after impact. There’s little difference, so, why not switch to a gun that’s easier for the officers to fire, he said.
“I do all the studies, I do all my own personal testing,” Kosanovich said.
The 9mm has less recoil, or kick-back, which makes it easier for the officers to fire, Kosanovich said. The ammo for the 9mm also is cheaper.
With the change in size, Carnegie officers can carry more rounds of ammunition on them — up to 51 bullets from 37 before.
“What’s important to residents is that your officers are being better equipped,” Kosanovich said. “I mean, they were equipped well before…. But they’re better equipped and they have more confidence to do what they (need to).”
Confidence is extremely important when it comes to firing a weapon, Kosanovich said.
“You never want to send your officer out on the street with something they feel is inferior,” he said.
Departments across the region are making the switch to the lighter guns, Kosanovich said.
“I want to be ahead of the curve,” Kennedy said.
Officers in both Scott and Carnegie receive firearms training twice a year.
During a recent council meeting, Carnegie Mayor Stacie Riley detailed several other trainings officers recently have completed.
“While our hope is that our officers never have to discharge their firearm, we believe training is essential and our officers have been properly equipped and trained in case their life or another life is in danger of death or serious bodily injury,” she said.