As part of a transition to a new weapon system that was approved earlier this year, the Dalton Police Department issued new Glock 22 handguns to the first wave of officers Monday morning. The full transition for all officers will take two weeks.
The agency and Public Safety Commission approved the switch from the Sig Sauer P229 .40-caliber handguns the agency had carried for more than a decade to the new Glock guns in January. The old guns had been in service for nearly 15 years and while they were still in good condition, their usable lifetime as law enforcement equipment was coming to an end, officials said.
The cost of replacing the weapons with new Sig Sauer guns was estimated at $27,000 while the switch to the Glock 22 was approximately $14,000. That cost includes the addition of a weapon-mounted light. The weapon system upgrade is being paid for using drug seizure funds. No taxpayer money is being used for the new guns.
The transition to a new weapon isn't as simple as just taking an officer's gun and handing him or her a new one, though. The Georgia POST council (Peace Officers Standards and Training) requires officers to pass a qualifying course of fire with every weapon they're issued and Dalton Police Department policy requires officers to also qualify with any personal backup weapons they carry on duty. That means a day spent at the Whitfield County firing range for every officer issued the new Glock 22.
In addition to qualifying, each officer is being trained both on the range and in the classroom on the operation of the new weapon. Before qualifying, each officer is getting a chance to train with the new weapon and their new holster so they're used to the differences between the old guns and the new ones. In addition to shooting in the day time, each officer is also qualifying under low light or night conditions.
The first 10 officers to receive their new Glocks qualified on Monday, and the rest of the agency will get their new weapons over the course of the next two weeks.