The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is about to re-arm.
At the request of Sheriff David Walker, the department won approval Monday to trade its Sig pistols for Glocks.
County commissioners approved trading 58 .357 Sigs for 70 9 mm Glocks after Walker said the cost of Sigs is on the rise, and the ammunition is hard to find.
“The cost of the pistols is high and going up, and the cost of the ammo is higher,” he said. “And there’s a lengthy delay for .357 ammo. It’s ridiculous, even ordering bulk ammo the way we do.”
He said the shift would allow the department to get cheaper ammo and faster.
“It’s not a 9 mm that you can buy off the shelf,” he said. “We’ll basically get a souped-up 9 mm round.”
Walker said the 9 mm ammunition would be delivered immediately, whereas there is sometimes a six-month delay for the .357 ammunition.
The trade will result in the department having extra pistols that can be kept on hand. Walker said they would have extra guns at the ready in case an officer’s firearm needs repair, and if an officer is involved in a shooting and his or her weapon is taken into evidence, another gun can be assigned to them.
He said the transition will be a three- to four-month process. The county’s supplier, GT Distributors, will send the Glock pistols first so officers have time to train and qualify on the new weapons, after which they can carry them on duty.
The Sig pistols will be inventoried with county Asset Manager Diana Alexander and shipped back to GT.
Walker said GT will allow the officers the option of purchasing the Sig they carried for $378. The buy-back plan is between GT and the individual officers. It does not involve the county.
“The cost continually goes up,” Walker said. “DPS is getting away from Sigs for the same reason, but I’m not sure what they’re going with. Glock has loaned us some of them … they’re not a pretty gun, but we’re not in a pretty business.”
Walker said they were concerned about the firepower of the 9 mm until a manufacturer did a demonstration with the .357 versus the 9 mm police round. He said it was “very comparable.”
He said the department will have to buy duty gear, but money is already set aside in capital expenditures.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Harry Lamance, a former Boyd police chief, asked if Walker anticipated problems acquiring 9 mm ammo down the road.
The sheriff said there were a lot of other departments also moving to the 9 mm, but it’s the best solution.
“Basically, I can buy two Glock pistols for the price of one Sig,” he said. “With us providing weapons to the guys, going down the road, it just makes sense.”
Walker also told commissioners the department will be trading in various rounds of ammunition that they don’t use to 2K Pawn in Decatur for regular 9 mm rounds that the officers will use for qualifying with their new pistols.
Commissioners approved an $88,171 bid from MCI for a jail security upgrade. The only other company to bid was Stanley, but it was unable at this time to offer a key component – a control room upgrade.
The Stanley bid was $30,000 less, but without the control room upgrade, the system would not operate to its highest potential.
Walker said the current system is 10 years old and is piecemealed together. Although they’ve replaced individual digital video recorders (DVRs) over time, he said a completely new system is needed.
Stanley indicated it might be able to offer the control room upgrade in the future, but Walker said he thought the county needed to move forward with the project.
“… if something happens in the jail and there’s a lawsuit, it’ll cost more than these two systems together,” he said.
The entire cost of the system will be covered by capital expenditure funds.
Commissioners also awarded annual bids for fiscal year 2015. A detailed list will run in a future edition of the Messenger.
In other business, commissioners:
- authorized District Clerk Brenda Rowe to name Mildred Lester a deputy district clerk;
- appointed Lynn Giddens to place 2 on the Helen Farabee Centers’ board of trustees, representing Wise and Jack counties;
- approved an order of election for this fall as presented by Elections Administrator Lannie Noble;
- approved amended and final plat for lots 1 and 2 in block 1 of Weatherford College addition; and
- approved re-plat of Walnut Creek Ranchettes, lots 4A-R1 and 4A-R2 in Precinct 1.