Police Chief Joe Treviño said the issue was made possible thanks to a generous donation from a local businessman.
“He wishes to remain anonymous, and I intend to honor that wish,” Treviño said.
The chief said the gesture was one of several recent efforts to support the BPD and the job the officers are doing.
When the businessman offered the donation and asked if there was anything the chief might need, Treviño brought up the subject of issuing firearms.
“It makes it easier for us to provide ammunition, and it means that every officer will have the same caliber and style of firearm,” the chief said.
The Glock 22 fires a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson round that is being used by a growing number of law enforcement agencies. According to most sources, the Glock 22 is the sidearm most often issued to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Treviño said it is the same weapon adopted by the New York Police Department.
The Glock 22 frame is the same size as 9mm Glock 17, which was the first pistol developed by Austrian engineer Gaston Glock in 1979.
According to one report, an estimated 65 percent of United States law enforcement agencies use the Glock.
“A few months ago, I surveyed the officers and asked them what they thought about issuing the same weapon to all officers. They said they would like that and the Glock 22 was the kind of weapon they wanted,” the chief said.
“A couple of weeks later, the anonymous businessman made that offer,” Treviño said. “It was as if it was meant to be.”
The chief said he was planning to approach the City Council for the money to purchase 30 Glock 22 pistols. But the donation solved that problem.
The chief said the department got a good price and was able to buy all 30 pistols at a price of $12,240.
The .40-caliber round was developed by Smith & Wesson when the FBI started looking for a new caliber pistol to replace the 9mm pistols and .357-Magnum revolvers they were carrying in 1986 when a deadly shootout in Miami prompted the bureau to start looking into adopting a different sidearm for its agents.
Edmundo Mireles Jr., a Beeville native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was the FBI agent who stopped the 1986 shootout. Wounded in the left arm, Mireles walked up to the car in which the two robbers were trying to escape, and he emptied his .357-Magnum revolver into the suspects.
“I’ve never shot one,” Treviño said of the .40-caliber pistol. But he cannot wait for the next session the department has on its firing range. All officers are required to qualify on the range with any pistol, rifle or shotgun they plan to use on duty.
One detective and BPD Special Weapons and Tactics Team member said he looks forward to carrying one of the new Glocks.
“I still get to carry my baby off duty,” he said of his .45-caliber Kimber.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.