With some pistols wearing out and a 10-year upgrade due soon anyway, the Bayonne Police Department has asked the city to purchase 225 handguns and 42 bulletproof vests to increase the safety for men and women working as police officers in the city.
Bulletproof vests, said Police Chief Robert Kubert, have to be replaced every five years.
Kubert said this is the first major replacement of weapons since the early 1990s, when the police force switched from standard police revolvers to automatic weapons. The new weapons will be as a big change in that they will have features not found on the weapons police currently use, such as night sights and lights.
He said some of the existing weapons are breaking down, it makes little sense to deal with the high cost of fixing out-of-date weapons.
He said the same company from which the new weapons are being purchased will purchase the old weapons so that the cost of new weapons is reduced.
“We decided the Glock is best suited for our department.” – Robert Kubert
New holsters will also have to be purchased as a result of the change.
The department intends to purchase more than the exact number needed in order to have spares in case a weapon breaks down.
Kubert said it is customary now for police departments to purchase weapons for their officers. In the past, when he started in the department, police officers were required to purchase their own weapons.
The new weapons will be purchased out of a federal forfeiture grant, in which funds taken from criminals are given to police agencies for such purposes. Property seized during joint sting operations between local and federal agencies goes to the grant.
He said the department conducted a study as to what would be the best weapons, looking at new a .9 mm – similar to the existing .44 caliber automatic weapons or the .45-caliber semi-automatic Glock handgun.
“We decided the Glock is best suited for our department,” he said. “The .45 caliber is best in an urban environment.”
The larger-caliber bullets used in the new Glock Model 21SFs are designed so as not to pass through the target and thus avoid injuring an innocent bystander.
The City Council is expected to vote on the request as the Jan. 20 council meeting.
The guns in use now, which the city bought in 1999, are showing their age and becoming expensive to maintain, Kubert said, adding that they will be traded in for $275 each.
If approved, the new weapons will be supplied by Lawmen Supply Co. in Egg Harbor City, at a total cost of $93,537. The replacement body armor will be supplied by Lanigan Associates, Inc. in Red Bank at a total cost of $35,067.
Federal grants will pay for half the cost of the both, with the rest coming from the federal forfeiture money, Kubert said.
“We’re just lucky the money came available at the right time,” Kubert said.
The new body armor provides better protection and is more comfortable to wear, he said.