Police force equips all rifles with suppressors citing safety reasons

Spokane police are moving to equip all their ARs with suppressors after workers comp claims for hearing loss because of gunfire (Photo: Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane police are moving to equip all their ARs with suppressors after workers comp claims for hearing loss because of gunfire (Photo: Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane officers will soon see their patrol rifles outfitted with Gemtech suppressors to help protect hearing when used in emergencies, The Spokesman-Review reported.

The move came to insulate the city against legal costs of worker’s compensation claims and potential lawsuits from bystanders who may suffer permanent damage to their hearing if the rifles are used. Five officers in recent years have filed claims with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries for hearing loss as a result of gunfire.

“Probably the best way to say it, beyond suppressors, is this is an OSHA-approved noise reduction device,” Lt. Rob Boothe, range master and lead firearms instructor for the department, told the Review.

Last month the City Council signed off on the $115,000 budget request to purchase 181 Gemtech Patrolman suppressors for the agency’s AR-15 rifles. While the agency’s tactical team has used suppressors for several years, the new policy will equip patrol rifles used by the city’s rank and file officers.

“If an officer deploys their patrol rifle in an interior location such as a house, school, or a mall, the officer and the public around the officer can suffer catastrophic and irreversible hearing damage,” says the background of the proposal submitted to the Council. “Placing a sound and pressure reduction device, more commonly known as a suppressor, on the rifles will bring the volume and pressure of the rifle to OSHA-approved safe sound levels without adding significant weight or length to the rifle platform.”

Gun rights leaders in the state welcomed the news but pointed out the same concerns that lead Spokane to adopt the devices are much the same as for civilian users — to preserve hearing.

“This is exactly why gun owners want to own and use them,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Redmond-based Second Amendment Foundation, told Guns.com. “It is time to get rid of all the excessive rules, regulations and outrageous federal tax on them.”

Besides the suppressors, the agency’s Strategic Plan outlines other technology acquisitions including the purchase of 20 40mm less-lethal impact munitions launchers and that all officers receive rifle-fire rated plate carriers, as well as medical kits with tourniquets and blood clotting supplies in each vehicle.

Latest Reviews

  • Springfield SAINT: Your High-Value AR-15

    The Springfield Armory SAINT offers a high-value, no-frills-required AR-15 platform. We put it through its paces to see if it's worth adding to your collection. After several trips to the range, we can confirm this is a great gun.

    Read More
  • The Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion is an Amazing Pistol

    The Sig Sauer p320 X5 Legion has been on the market for a little while now. So I wanted to bring you a review after shooting more than 30,000 rounds through mine over a year of competing in 3-gun and USPSA.

    Read More
  • 17 Reasons to Love the Glock 17

    Glock 17s are trusted by law enforcement and militaries around the world. But they are also great guns for civilians. Here are our top 17 reasons to get a Glock 17.

    Read More
  • Sig P320 vs. Sig P365 for Concealed Carry

    Sig’s P365 and P320 offer two great options for concealed carry. Their compact sizes and high magazine capacities make them excellent choices for everyday carry. They're also easy to customize.

    Read More

Loading