Newsbrief: Atlanta Cops Use Forfeited Funds to Buy Bigger Guns 10/8/04

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It's Christmas in October for the Atlanta Police Department. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the department is spending more than $545,000 in funds seized from drug suspects to replace its long-time workhorse pistol, the 9mm Smith & Wesson, with the more deadly 40-caliber Smith & Wesson. The Atlanta police, along with the Gwinnett and DeKalb County sheriff's departments are among the last police forces in Georgia to switch to the 40-caliber weapon, the newspaper reported.

The department is switching to the new weapon because it kills better. The "heavier bullet" in the 40-caliber "tends to penetrate deeper into the body to impact the organs deep in the body. This whole thing is about terminal ballistics," state firearms trainer Ernie Tobin told the Journal-Constitution. But, he added, there was "nothing wrong" with the old 9mm, calling it "an adequate pistol."

Atlanta police don't see that much combat. According to the department, the force's 1,530 officers discharged their weapons a total of 34 times lat year, including seven incidents where people were shot. During that same period, 17 officers were either "shot or shot at," police said. The cops were happy with their new toys, said Lt. Judy Smith, an assistant zone commander. "We hope [the equipment upgrade] will really help morale," Smith said, quickly noting that new equipment almost always provides a boost in job attitude.

But for some Atlanta police, it was a case of "give 'em a new gun and they want an armored personnel carrier." Bud Watson, head of the Police Benevolent Association, told the newspaper the new guns were "a step in the right direction." But the department shouldn't stop there, Watson said. The police union would also like "some other equipment upgrades. I think certain units need more sophisticated, more appropriate weapons to perform their jobs. SWAT, fugitive and narcotics units would be safer."

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Issue #357, 10/8/04 Editorial: A Tragedy in the Capital | Medical Marijuana Activists Besiege HHS, Demand Rescheduling | Drug Policy and the Presidential Election -- Introduction | The Election I: Bush and Kerry on Drugs: Past Records and Platform Planks | The Election II: Drug Reformers on Kerry and Bush, Nader and Badnarik | The Election III: DRCNet Interview: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader | The Election IV: DRCNet Interview: Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate (repeat) | Newsbrief: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Critical Federal Sentencing Cases | Newsbrief: Needle Exchange Bill Passes New Jersey Assembly | Newsbrief: Protests Rise over Award as Thai Prime Minister Prepares for New Round of Drug War | Newsbrief: Bolivia's Chapare Cocaleros Sign Historic Agreement with Government | Newsbrief: DEA Pulls Prescription Pain Medicine FAQs Without Explanation | Newsbrief: Hemp Crops in Western Australia Stymied By Licensing Requirements | Newsbrief: Atlanta Cops Use Forfeited Funds to Buy Bigger Guns | Newsbrief: No Asset Forfeiture for Misdemeanor Drug Charges, Tennessee Says | Newsbrief: Texas DA Says Doctors Must Turn In Drug-Using Pregnant Women | Newsbrief: Another Killer Cop Walks Free | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar
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