In another instance of large, professional law enforcement agencies going Glock, the Michigan State Police is setting aside their gently used 40 caliber Sig Sauers and, after testing 39 potential replacements, went Glock 17.
With the National Guard called up for World War I and the state militia being lumped in with that group by the Dick Act, Michigan was left without any form of state-level law enforcement as the troops marched off to France. This led the governor to establish the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force in 1917 and the 300 "troopers" were organized in units around the state on horseback, foot patrol, and using early Detroit-built Ford and Dodge autos.
Nearing their 100th anniversary and more simply termed the Michigan State Police these days, the agency now has 29 posts and employs 1400 sworn and 850 non-sworn employees. For the past decade and change they have carried the SIG .40s (226, 229) for both uniformed and investigative (Criminal Investigation Division and Intelligence Sections) troopers since the 1990s.
Well the last part is subject to change.
As reported by local media, the MSP is picking up 1,500 new Glock 17s for issue to all sworn personnel.
"I am very confident with the new weapon platform," said Captain John Halpin. "It has been about two and a half years of research that has gone into this. The state police tested 39 different weapons before deciding which one and this was the most economical and most technological bang for the buck."
All troopers will undergo a 10-hour/600-round transition training between now and the end of the year.
Citing that the new guns take half as long to clean as the legacy Sigs, MSP Sgt. Ted Therrien, an instructor helping with the changeover, feels the new guns have better tech and isn't feeling leery of downsizing from .40 to 9mm.
"The angle of the grip provides better bone to bone support for recoil management," said Therrien. "Also the caliber we changed back to a 9 millimeter caliber which gives us a higher capacity. With less ballistic technology having changed dramatically in the last decade, the 9mm is as effective as the 40 or 45."
The Glocks were showing up as early as May in the hands of the new recruits of the 128th MSP Trooper Academy
Other recent swap overs
In 2013, at least two Georgia Police Departments, Senoia and Peachtree City, ditched .40 and .45 caliber guns to go with Glock 9mms, go with 9mm Glocks. For Senoia, a rural town with just 13 officers, they moved from their existing 14 Glock Model 22 guns in .40S&W, to new 16 Model 17s chambered for 9mm. The trade cost the city $2,434 in departmental funds, which were left over from a budget for radios.
According to the Newnan Times Herald, Glock gave the city a $300 credit for each of the old guns turned in, making each of the new Model 17s just $152. Which overall isn't bad.
The chief cited the cost of ammunition as the reason for swapping calibers.
"Over the past year we have had serious ... difficulties finding .40-caliber ammunition," said Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens. "We have been experiencing anything from six to eight months lead time" on getting their full order of both practice ammunition and "duty" ammo. Speaking of 9mm the chief says, "It is performing as well as, if not better than, a .40-cal," he said. It's also up to 20 percent cheaper and "it is readily available, which is just very important to us."
As for Peachtree City, pop 35,000, the department comprises 68 personnel, all but four of whom are sworn law enforcement. In 2012 their Patrol Division collectively conducted an average of 146.7 "calls" per day. To keep on top of their game, the PCPD picked up Glock 17 and 26s in exchange for their Sig Sauer P220 (.45 caliber) and Glock 27 (.40S&W) models as part of the deal that included $2,236 in departmental funds.
The chief, after evaluation, went with the Glocks for versatility, "We did testing on the range and took all our shooters with large hands, small hands, male and female," Police Chief H.C. "Skip" Clark said.
It was noted that the department does not issue each officer a backup weapon but they can use their own as long as it meets department specifications. With that being said, it can be speculated that the G26's will be for detectives while the 17 will be the standard duty weapon.
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota (pop 153,000), a city on the fringe of the huge shale oil boom, whose police have their hands full, opted to replace their 230-officer department's Gen II G22s with new Glock 9 millies. In the deal, Glock will buy back the agencies old .40's for $250 a pop and sell the SFPD 250 new Glock Gen 4 Model 17s at $409. The difference in price will be made up in grant money from the Feds, leaving the city with a zero balance. The neat thing is that many holsters and magazine pouches that will fit the Model 22, will also fit the Model 17, so new web gear will not be a pressing need. Further, the guns use the same weapon manipulation and nomenclature, which means transition between the two guns, is minimal.
"The change is prompted by an in-house study that showed pistols are more accurate and can carry two more bullets than the Glocks," Police Chief Doug Barthel told the Argus Leader newspaper.
In the end, if you are a G17 or G19 carrier, you have some illustrious company.