Police chief receives approval to buy firearms for reserve officers



As the Brownstown Police Department moves forward with hiring three reserve officers, they need to be provided with firearms.

Chief Tom Hanner said the handguns he and Assistant Chief Joe Kelly used in the officer-involved shooting April 3 most likely won’t be returned until the beginning of 2020, so he needs to purchase three firearms so each of the reserve officers will have one to use.

The last ones the town purchased were $410 apiece, so during Monday night’s Brownstown Town Council meeting, he requested $1,200 to buy the firearms.

First, council President Sally Lawson asked Clerk-Treasurer David Willey if the money can be pulled somewhere from the police department’s budget. Willey said that likely isn’t a possibility, but he should be able to pull from another fund. A previous firearms purchase came out of the felony fund, he said.

Then Councilwoman Sharon Koch asked Hanner if he should wait to find out when the new firearms would arrive and see when he and Kelly get theirs back and then determine how many to purchase. Councilman Mark Reynolds said the reserve officers will need them when they start training.

Hanner said the firearms used in the officer-involved shooting have to be kept for 280 days, which means they should them back early next year. He also said if he orders three firearms for the reserves, they may not arrive until next year.

“If another incident happened like the unfortunate incident that happened in April, we won’t have any. We will be back in the same situation,” Hanner said. “We always need to have (extra firearms on hand).”

In recent years, officers with 15 or more years of service have been issued their guns as a gift from the town. That has resulted in the town not having as many extra firearms.

Hanner has three men willing to serve as reserve officers, and they need to ride along with the night shift officers as part of their training. He said all of them are familiar with the department’s computer system.

“We don’t just cut anybody loose. That’s not fair to them,” he said. “We’re looking to try to get them in here so we can start updating their training because they’ve been out since January.”

He said he has radios for them to use, and it’s possible some of the extra bulletproof vests the department has could fit the officers, but he needs to check with the state statute to ensure that’s allowed.

“By state law, we have to provide a vest,” Hanner said.

Reynolds said it’s possible a couple of the reserves have their own vests from working with other departments.

Hanner said the department used to provide all of a reserve officer’s equipment.

“I’m not going to do that anymore. We just can’t,” he said.

The council unanimously agreed to let Hanner to move forward with purchasing the three firearms.

“Thank you,” Hanner said. “I really appreciate it.”

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