Tampa area police get $34,940 in weapons, training tactics all paid for by money seized from drug arrests.

BROOKSVILLE, FL — It could be part of a police…

BROOKSVILLE, FL — It could be part of a police officer’s worst nightmare: Shot and wounded, their shooting arm dangling limp at their side while, somehow, they have to get their weapon free to defend themselves.

It’s a scenario Brooksville Police Det. Shawn Terry wants his fellow officers prepared for as he shouts commands to other members of his force. Again and again, officers were commanded to draw their new Glocks from their holsters — first in front of a target, then from the ground on either their backs or stomachs. Lastly, they put their dominant arm behind their backs and practice drawing the firearms with the other.

“That’s why we’ll be doing these drills 500 more times,” Terry said. “We want this to be second nature so that if an officer is in a situation, he’ll be able to get to his gun.”

The training is even more important following the purchase of new handguns for the police department. Terry said the Glock 21 pistols, equipped with mounted flashlights, draw differently from the holster and shoot larger caliber bullets. Before officers can take to the streets with the new weapons, they have to prove to Terry they can master drawing and shooting them.

Police Chief George Turner said the weapons are the third and final weapons upgrade that began about two years ago for the force. The .45-caliber Glocks replace the .40-caliber Sig Saurs the department carried for about 10 years.

Turner said the department replaced its shotguns in December 2008 and, about a year ago, purchased AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. Altogether, the weapon upgrade cost $34,940 — all paid for by money seized from drug arrests.

“This did not cost taxpayers a penny and was all covered through trade-ins of our old guns and money seized from drugs,” Turner said. “I believe this purchase was definitely overdue and drug money well spent.”

Following training with his Glock, Lt. Rick Hankins said the pistols have been rated highly by other agencies as weapons that can continue to be reliable even after being put through extreme conditions, such as becoming very muddy or wet.

In light of a growing trend of criminals carrying assault rifles, Hankins said the Glocks also carry a larger caliber bullet that helps even the odds.

Read the rest of Jeff Schmucker’s article at Tampa Bay Online.

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