All Jasper police officers will soon be carrying new handguns purchased by the Jasper City Council.The city recently purchased 51 new Sig Sauer 9mm handguns at a cost of a little more than $22,000. …
All Jasper police officers will soon be carrying new handguns purchased by the Jasper City Council.
The city recently purchased 51 new Sig Sauer 9mm handguns at a cost of a little more than $22,000. The weapons will be distributed among Jasper patrol officers and detectives.
“I’m extremely excited about this,” Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe said Monday.
Poe said one of the motives for buying the new handguns was an effort to retain officers who might otherwise leave seeking other law enforcement jobs.
“One of the things we found in studying how to help with retention was being able to furnish everyone with firearms,” Poe said.
Prior to the purchase of the new handguns, officers had to provide their own handguns, with guidelines from the department as to guarantee they carried a “quality weapon,” Poe said.
Officers are given a yearly clothing allowance, but in most cases that doesn’t cover all expenses incurred by the officers.
“When you first hire on, that doesn’t come near close to buying everything that an officer needs,” he said. “Furnishing everyone a firearm is one of the things we thought we could do to help out, because that is one of the major expenses for any new officer.”
Having all officers using the same handgun and ammunition will also prevent situations where officers could run out of ammunition if in a critical instances. Now, they can simply rely on fellow officers who carry the same weapon and ammunition, if needed.
“These are good, quality handguns,” Poe said. “It’s a little lighter than the traditional Sig Sauer, and it’s more cost efficient.”
The Sig Sauer’s purchased are also the same handguns currently used by the U.S. Army and FBI agents, Assistant Police chief Paul Tucker said.
“The Sig Sauer brand has always been an excellent weapon recognized by law enforcement,” Poe said.
Poe said JPD tactical team officers have already received the new handguns and “are tickled to death with them.”
“We’ve had great reviews come back from them,” Poe said.
Poe said the support JPD receives from Mayor David O’Mary and the Jasper City Council is crucial to the department’s success.
“There aren’t that many departments — particularly our size —that are able to furnish officers with handguns,” Poe said. “We’re blessed that we are able to, and blessed that we have a mayor and council that sees that we need to do that. They’re very supportive of our department.”
Over the past three years the city has worked to make sure the police department has all it needs, O’Mary said.
“The problem we’ve had in the past is that we’ve always had a desire to help our police department,” O’Mary said, “but the shortage has been in the capital. We just didn’t have any money to do that.
“We’ve always wanted our police officers to have the very best equipment,” O’Mary added. “I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, and I’m pleased that we can now do this. There are other things that remain to be done, but we’ve come a long way in equipping our people the way they should be equipped to take on the risk they take on in this job.”