canada africa partner reservation Some police officers in Connecticut are replacing a gun that can reportedly fire without being activated

Some police officers in Connecticut are replacing a gun that can reportedly fire without being activated

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Some police departments in Connecticut have replaced or taken steps to replace their officers’ service weapons as a safety measure, following reported incidents in which these firearms allegedly discharged without the trigger being pulled.

The publicly reported incidents involved gunmaker Sig Sauer’s P320 pistol, the active weapon of many police departments. The US military uses the military version of the weapon.

According to other media reports, court documents, and reports directly from agencies, there have been incidents of officers’ service weapons being fired without the trigger being pulled. Some of those officers were in Connecticut, including a Stamford police officer who suffered a knee injury in 2017 when his holstered P320 pistol fired after being dropped, according to a lawsuit he filed. Officers in other states have also filed lawsuits. Meanwhile, Sig Sauer has repeatedly denied claims, both publicly and in legal documents, that the gun can fire without the trigger being pulled, saying the accusations are “baseless.”

Two police departments in Connecticut have swapped their weapons systems after discovering that officers’ Sig Sauer’s P320 pistols were firing without the trigger being pulled. A third police department, Brookfield, has applied for city funding to move to another manufacturer because of these concerns, although that department has reported no problems.

Sig Sauer did not respond to Hearst’s requests for comment. A general statement on the company’s website refutes the safety issue.

“Contrary to previous reporting, the claims that the P320 can fire without the trigger being pulled are baseless and rejected as a matter of law by thirteen separate courts, including a unanimous jury verdict in favor of SIG SAUER,” the statement reads. . “The P320 is trusted by the U.S. military, law enforcement professionals and responsible citizens around the world. SIG SAUER is extremely proud of our excellent record of firearms safety and quality.

Sig Sauer’s statement said in these legal claims that “no final judgment has ever been made against” the company, which involved firing a P320 without the trigger being pulled.

Brookfield Police Chief John Puglisi explained that recent incidents involving other police forces in Montville and Orange, in which officers’ P320 pistols were allegedly fired without the trigger, played a role in local leaders’ decision-making.

The incidents spurred the department’s own officials to investigate other weapons platforms — including the firearms, holsters, optics and other accessories — and to urge leaders to pursue a new platform, Puglisi said.

“I believe this was something we couldn’t wait for,” he said, adding, “God forbid anyone gets hurt.” Sig Sauer has not issued a recall.”

The incident in Orange occurred in April 2022. According to Police Chief Robert Gagne, a city police officer’s P320 fired into a police station break room without pulling a trigger. There were no injuries.

“The investigation conducted by our staff determined that the P320 was properly holstered and had not been tampered with in any way, and it cleared the officer of any wrongdoing,” Gagne wrote in an email to Hearst Connecticut Media . He added that both of the officers’ hands were “holding items and he never touched the weapon.”

The incident prompted that agency’s leaders to replace their officers’ service weapons and platforms and begin training in their new service weapons.

“I immediately made the decision to replace our weapons and we took delivery of the new weapons (Glock Model 45) and completed training with them the week of May 9, 2022,” Gagne wrote.

Across the state, a Montville police officer’s P320 pistol discharged in the station lobby last July as he and another officer tried to make an arrest, according to previous New London Day news reports. There were no injuries in the incident; However, according to those reports, officials opted to quickly replace officers’ weapons.

The last reported incident occurred in early April, when a Cambridge, Mass. police officer’s Sig Sauer P320 pistol went off in a school bathroom, according to WBUR. According to Boston 25 News, the officer is now on leave.

‘The last thing they need to worry about’

In 2017, Stamford Police Officer Vincent Sheperis filed a federal lawsuit against Sig Sauer, alleging that the company sold his P320 pistol with a design defect and falsely claimed that the weapon would not fire unless the trigger was pulled. Sheperis, then a member of his department’s Special Response Team, was shot in the leg and injured when he dropped his department-issued P320 earlier this year.

Sheperis and Sig Sauer reached a confidential settlement in the complaint, said the plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Bagnell.

Bagnell, meanwhile, has filed other lawsuits against Sig Sauer. Bagnell said he’s not surprised police chose to switch to other weapons.

“I’m not surprised. I’m very happy to hear it. The police have their ears to the ground,” said Bagnell, whose company is based in Westport. “These people already have the toughest job in the world. The latest what they have to worry about is their gun going off.”

Bagnell said incidents where the Sig Sauer firearm is fired without the trigger being pulled do not always occur. “But it’s happening at an alarming rate,” he said.

Bagnell attributed the fact that these incidents occurred to the design of the P320, which is called a ‘striker fire design’.

“It is an advanced design. Our position is that Sig rushed it,” Bagnell said. “They married a striker fire slide with a hammer fire frame.”

That internal striker is held back under spring pressure like a crossbow and arrow, Bagnell explained. The weapon is fully cocked and ready to fire.

“Think of a crossbow with the arrow pulled back. There is a little piece of metal that holds the arrow,” Bagnell said.

Groton Police Chief Louis Fusaro said his department has used the P320 since the weapons were first issued in 2014 as .45-caliber pistols. The department now uses the 9mm version and has had no problems with the P320 in the last ten years. said chief.

“Our firearms instructors carefully examined them,” Fusaro said. “We have no concerns about the weapons platform itself.”

Fusaro said there are possible explanations for the accidental discharge situations. For example, a firearm may be paired with an ill-fitting holster, which can lead to pushing, or a foreign object may become lodged in the holster, causing the trigger to activate or move in some way.

“These weapons don’t normally go off on their own, there’s usually a reason for that,” Fusaro said.

Transition to new weapon systems

Most law enforcement officers who responded to a Hearst Connecticut Media survey indicated that their agencies’ officers are equipped with weapons not manufactured by Sig Sauer.

In Cheshire, police Lt. Jeffrey Sutherland told Hearst that his department is switching from its current firearm, the .40-caliber H&K USP, to the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0.

“We have not experienced any malfunctions and do not have the Sig Sauer P320. We are switching firearms, giving the department the ability to add weapon-mounted lights and a new sight system,” Sutherland said.

Greenwich and Meriden police will receive firearms manufactured by Glock.

Stamford Police currently carry handguns manufactured by Smith & Wesson.

According to Stamford Police Sgt. Jeffrey Booth, the department “as a whole had never actually carried weapons manufactured by Sig Sauer.

Members of the department’s Special Response Team previously received P320 firearms on a trial basis, Booth said.

Sheperis was a member of the SRT at the time of the incident. Bagnell, his attorney and Booth indicated that the P320 was removed as the SRT unit’s active weapon in early 2017.

Meanwhile, Booth said the department as a whole has had four different service weapons during his 26-year tenure. Three were manufactured by Smith & Wesson and one was a Glock firearm.

Connecticut State Police troopers assigned to patrol duties have now been issued the 9mm Glock G45, a state police spokesperson said. Troopers’ previous weapon on active duty was another Sig Sauer pistol, the .45-caliber P220.

The Connecticut State Police began transitioning to a Glock platform from 2022 to early 2023.

“The switch was made in part as a routine update, as the previous service pistol had been in service with the agency since 2012. The move was also driven by the need for a consistent firing platform across the board for all Troopers,” an agency spokesperson said. said.

The New Milford Police Department is similarly changing its current P320 weapons platform, not because of safety concerns, but because the department regularly updates its weapons every 10 years, police Lt. Lee Grabner explained.

Grabner said that after “a lengthy testing process,” department leaders opted to switch to a 9mm Glock 19 platform, which is “cheaper and widely available.”

Grabner said concerns arose about the triggers on the P320 firearms five years ago, and Sig Sauer replaced them.

Other than that, “we’ve had no problems with Sigs in the 10 years we’ve owned them,” Grabner said.

In Danbury, police officers’ service weapons are a Glock 17 or a Glock 19 pistol, said Detective Det. Lt. Matt Malone, a firearms instructor and gunsmith in his department.

“The biggest thing about them, why so many departments use them, is because of the reliability and cost-effectiveness,” Malone said.

Malone said that in his role as a gunsmith, he is certified to repair and replace parts if there is a problem. Officers also receive training on how to maintain their firearms.

“As long as you clean after shooting and do it properly, your magazines are in good condition and you use quality ammunition, you most likely won’t run into any problems,” Malone said.

Malone said what is “instilled” in new officers when they start training with a firearm “is the seriousness of it.”

“The first rule of firearms training is to treat every weapon as if it were loaded. If you consider it charged, handle it in a safe manner and you will be safe overall,” he said.

Officers also learn to pay attention.

“You have to keep your head in the game and understand that you are dealing with an instrument that can cause serious bodily harm or death,” Malone said.

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