MUSKEGON, Mich. — Public safety officers are getting new, standardized guns in a lakeside city in western Michigan.
The Muskegon City Commission approved a plan last month to spend nearly $50,000 of drug forfeiture money to purchase 90 new 9mm handguns and holsters. Muskegon police officers previously had to buy their own pistols when hired.
“I haven’t ever worked for a department that you had to buy your own guns,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of public safety. “That presents its own inherent problems. We currently own all of our long guns, but by us now owning all of them, we know what certain type they’re using and what was issued to who and when.”
The new guns are gender neutral and efficient, according to Lewis.
Standardizing weapons will hold officers more accountable in case of an officer-involved shooting and help curtail investigative discrepancies, he said.
“If we do have an officer-involved shooting, the weapon and the barrel can be easily matched up,” Lewis said. “We’d only be looking for a 9mm weapon and ammo, which will all be standardized. We’d be able to start from that platform instead of different manufacturers and differences in guns.”
Officers should receive their new guns by spring qualification exams in May, he said. The transition won’t be immediate but will take place soon afterward.