Wyoming County Asks Taxpayers To Buy Police Weapons

Wyoming City Chief of Police Paul Hoppe has good taste.  He has requested that the Wyoming City Council use community funds to purchase 12 brand new .45 caliber Sig Sauer P220s for his fellow officers.  The total price for all 12 firearms with accessories is $11,849 (not a bad deal).

Hoppe’s goal with this request is to standardize the force’s weaponry.  Currently, many of the officers have different makes/models with varying calibers.  Hoppe believes that by issuing everyone the same weapon it will streamline training and make repair and upkeep easier to administer.  Additionally, the department-issued firearm saves recently hired officers the upfront expense of purchasing a new weapon.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of Hoppe’s standardization request.  Each officer will receive a new Sig along with a holster, some ammo, and a tactical light. 

Not a bad deal, right? 

Well, there is at least one catch to this new department standardization mandate.  That is officers will not be allowed to use the Sig for personal use, i.e. hunting.  According to Hoppe, if the gun is owned by the city, the department needs to be able to track all discharges. 

This standardization mandate is not unusual.  There are many departments across the country that place restrictions on which type of firearm an officer or patrolman can carry.  And there are other departments that grant more latitude and leave it largely up to the discretion of the officer.    

Where do you come out on this issue?  There’s the first point, which relates to the use of public funds to purchase weapons for sworn officers.  And then there’s the second point, which relates to the department mandate vs. officer’s discretion aspect. 

I’ve never been a fan of one-size-fits-all department or bureaucratic thinking. Sure, it’s convenient for the department, but what about the individual officer’s shooting predilections?  In this particular case, the Sig P220 is a great weapon and I’d imagine no one would object to carrying it, but one never knows.  Also, I do believe that each officer should receive a limited allowance to purchase the weapon of his/her choice.  If the price of the weapon exceeds that allowance, then he/she can pay for the difference out of pocket.