In 1998, Marietta Police began issuing all officers back-up guns, which is the policy for only 7 percent of police agencies in the United States, said Officer David Baldwin, spokesman for Marietta Police.
On Tuesday, Chief Dan Flynn and the Marietta Police Firearms Training Unit collected 100 Glock Model 42 handguns from the Smyrna headquarters of Glock Inc., the Austrian-based gun manufacturer.
All of the officers will get a new semi-automatic Glock 42, a subcompact .380-caliber handgun, after trading in their Generation 3 Glocks.
The exchange supports much of the cost with the old Glocks retaining 80 percent of their value at trade-in, Baldwin said.
Flynn said the rest of the cost, including holsters, cleaning kits and ammunition will be paid for with cash seized under the federal Asset Forfeiture Law. He said he did not know the final dollar amount after loading the guns at the Smyrna factory Tuesday afternoon.
The fourth-generation Glock pistols sell to the public at retail for between $599 and $734 each.
While on duty, Marietta Police officers carry a .40-caliber Glock 22 handgun with a pistol-mounted light.
The Glock 42 operates the same as the officers’ primary weapon, so the training will be a natural transition, said Baldwin, who is one of the officers who maintains the firearms for the department.
“We try to do the trade-ins all at once. If you’re going to change anything with a weapons platform in your department, we prefer to do it all at once,” Baldwin told MDJ last fall when placing the order was first being considered. “We’ll spend two weeks and get everybody trained on the new pistols.”
All officers armed with back-up, off-duty gun
Marietta Police officers are encouraged to carry a concealed firearm when off-duty, as rapid response has proven to be critical to resolving “active shooter” scenarios, said Flynn.
Flynn said although the Marietta policy was in place before he joined the local force, when he served with the Miami-Dade Police Department every officer was required to carry a gun while off duty.
The Glock 42 is the smallest and lightest of Glock’s current line of handguns and allows for easier concealment when the Glock 22 or Glock 27 may be too bulky or conspicuous, Baldwin said.
In 2008, all officers were issued an assault rifle and red-dot optic to better respond to active shooter situations or other deadly threats from an increased distance, Baldwin said.
Flynn said he supports the officers’ practicing off duty at public ranges, as well as the many opportunities to train with the department. Each officer’s “proficiency” is tested twice a year, said Flynn.
Flynn said Marietta Police officers are qualified, just like any permitted resident in Cobb, to carry a gun and are very familiar with safety regulations.
Guy Sharpe, who has been a defense lawyer for 34 years and is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, said if the off-duty guns were to fall into the wrong hands, say a young family member, the individual officer would be legally liable for any injuries or lawsuits, not the city.