A small Ohio law enforcement agency is tired of having their officers BYOG to work and is pushing to adopt a standard department-wide sidearm that is paid for by the county. While testing many, the early lead seems like Glock is the favorite to win.
Located along the shores of Lake Erie is quiet Ottawa County, pop 40,985. The county is semi-rural, with the largest city and county seat, Port Clinton, Ohio, being known as the "Walleye Capital of the World" due to its great fishing opportunities.
The area is also gun-savvy, with historic Camp Perry located there. Perry, a National Guard base that predates World War I is home to the Civilian Marksmanship Program and holds the National Matches every summer for the past 107 years.
The 49-deputy strong Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, which includes two full-time detectives, protects the county. In addition to this, OCSO has 23 full-time corrections officers who maintain the county's two jails.
The agency helps out at the National Matches, at one time staged an armored vehicle (a surplus M113 APC) at the nearby Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station just in case Johnny Jihad ever came by, and runs a dive team out on the Lake.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Well about that...
"Right now, our firearms instructor is instructing and qualifying deputies on 15 different guns. We've got 49 deputies qualified and there's no single weapon being issued," Sheriff Steve Levorchick told the Port Clinton News Herald. "The sighting systems can be different on these guns. You might have different safety features on a gun and one another."
You see the department requires deputies to buy their own guns and does not have just one standard model that is approved. Indeed, there isn't even a single caliber that is standard.
As such, the officers have a varying array of firearms. This is bad because it makes training more complicated, swapping magazines, and firearms between officers during an extended tactical situation next to impossible, and can lead to dangerous practices.
For instance, you can't follow the same range practices with a DA/SA Sig-226 as you would with a Glock 22 as you would with a Springfield XD (M). While the first requires an officer to actuate a decocking lever before safely re-holstering, and the last requires the shooter to develop a grip that retains constant positive pressure on the top of rear grip to keep the beavertail grip safety engaged, the Glock requires neither. Therefore, one practice written for the Glock would leave officers with the XD or SIG in a rough spot and vice-versa.
According to the Sandusky Register, the Sheriff is asking County Commissioners for about $29,000 to buy 49 new handguns (in 9mm) with a standardized set of holsters and magazine pouches as well as ammunition and funds allocated for transitional training.
The chief law enforcement officer cites the standardization on the 9 as a budgetary issue. To keep things fair and balanced the agency plans to test three models of polymer framed, striker-fired pistols from Glock, Smith and Wesson and Springfield (XD series).
Levorchick told the News Herald he already has a favorite of the test guns in mind.
"I've been a Glock guy for 25 years. It's a highly dependable weapon. It does not fail," he noted. "It is easy to field strip ... and to clean."
And the beat goes on...