When St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman proposed buying new guns for police officers during his budget address Tuesday, he described a “misfire” during a dangerous situation earlier this year.

Coleman was talking about what happened on May 1, after Maplewood Sgt. Joe Bergeron was shot and killed.  St. Paul Officer Dave Longbehn had a confrontation with one of the suspects, Jason J. Jones, and according to Coleman, they wrestled over the gun.

“Gaining control of the gun, Dave stood up and fired at the suspect.  His gun misfired,” Coleman said during his address.  “With the suspect bearing down on him, once again Dave’s training kicked in.  He re-racked his gun able to discharge his weapon.”

Longbehn was in the audience during Coleman’s speech and received a standing ovation.

Coleman used that story to call for $200,000 to replace 610 handguns and provide more training for officers.

St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith told KARE 11 Wednesday that what happened with Longbehn’s gun is still under investigation, but it’s more accurate to say the gun “malfunctioned,” something officers are trained to deal with.

“The officer did exactly what he was trained to do,” Smith said.

St. Paul officers currently use Glock .40-caliber pistols.  More than 400 of those guns are about 17 years old, Smith said.  While they work well, Smith said the department has been looking into new guns for the past year.

“At some point, it is more cost effective for us to replace handguns that we have right now and start a rotation process which will actually save the department money,” Smith said.

Source: Joe Fryer for KARE11

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