Tulsa Police officers will soon have new handguns

Wednesday, December 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

We first told you about problems with Tulsa Police handguns back in February. The 40-caliber Smith and Wesson pistols were misfiring at an alarming rate. Now, those guns are being retired.

News on Six reporter Tami Marler says police are waiting to crack open crates full of a thousand new weapons, all paid for by the city's third-penny sales tax. Now all they need is testing, and training. For nearly a decade, Tulsa Police rookies learned to shoot with these Smith and Wesson pistols, the same gun every officer uses in the field. Tulsa Police range master Tracie Crocker, "We have a lot of problems with this gun, I'd like to say it's because they're old, but we've got a rookie class going on, and we'd had several right out of the box, break."

Sergeant Tracie Crocker told us the Smith and Wesson pistols mis-fired on the range nearly a quarter of the time. And there were other problems - with jammed and broken parts. "Are you going to pull it and it not work, you don't want to take that risk, you're only going to get off a couple of shots in the field, I don't, it's a big risk you're taking." A risk city and police officials weren't willing to take.

The 1996 third-penny sales tax gave police $625,000 to replace all of the old weapons. Tulsa Police Sgt. Wayne Allen: "That has come true today, we now have the weapons; actually I believe we have the weapons a couple of months earlier than we had expected. The Glock .40 caliber weapons." Ahead of schedule, police have a thousand new Glock 22Cs. Every one customized, with the words "Tulsa Police Department," and TPD's badge emblem. "The older Smith and Wesson handguns that we had did experience some failure difficulties. And they were nine years old, so you know as time goes on, these guns just naturally wear out." Crocker, "What we need to do is make sure each gun is operable; that there are no glitches in the new weapons. I mean when you order a thousand guns you may get some that have some defects in them; we want to make sure those are repaired."

Tulsa Police Officers will receive their guns in March, then go through a 2-day training, where they'll learn to shoot, break down, and clean the new guns.