by Joyce Hanz
The Valley News-Dispatch
ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Allegheny Township police officers will soon trade in their personal firearms for township-issued weapons.
Since the 1960s, officers have carried their own weapons on the job, as have many small municipal forces.
Allegheny Township Police Chief Duane Fisher waited more than a year for the arrival of 15 Glock 17 Gen5 MOS pistols and holsters.
Fisher welcomed the new guns, describing them as a critical need.
“I am pleased that the district attorney and her chief detective recognized our need and helped us cross the finish line to finally issue standardized firearms. The primary driving factor behind this initiative is safety,” Fisher said. “Uniform firearms, holsters and ammunition combined with the ability to add additional lighting and advance sighting systems will increase the safety of handling firearms and recognize benefits for officers and the public.”
Township Manager Greg Primm said supply issues delayed the delivery of ammunition.
The 11 full-time and two part-time officers are expected to use the new weapons after their annual qualification in May.
“It is always a great benefit to the residents we serve to acquire the best tools to provide the best services,” Primm said. “Uniform sidearms are a great addition to our police force and will help make their jobs safer going forward.”
Primm noted that the Glock is the dominant firearm previously used by officers in the department.
“Transition and training should be relatively seamless,” he said. “The officers will be put through familiarization and qualification courses before the firearms are deployed on patrol.”
Officers will use the same type of gun, holster and caliber of ammunition.
“A few advantages include standardized ammunition and magazines, reduced recoil for accuracy and increased capacity,” Primm said.
The total cost for the firearm and accessories is about $9,400.
Fisher said the weapons will be issued to officers next week.
At the March 2022 meeting of township supervisors, Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli presented Fisher with a check for $9,300 to purchase guns. Ziccarelli said the funding came from the forfeiture of illegal drug money.
Supervisor James Morabito said he made providing township-issued firearms to officers a priority after he was elected in 2021 and learned officers would have to use their own guns.
Morabito initially contacted Ziccarelli in January 2022 about getting new guns.
“I worked so hard to get their new handguns. The funds came from drug task force money and zero taxpayer money was spent,” Morabito said. “In my opinion, it has been ridiculous that it has taken this long to deliver firearms to the officers. The safety of these officers is my first priority.”
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