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City shouldn't give officers gun allowance

Anonymous • May 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM

My topic this week is the police union contract.

Starting in 2014, police officers will now be able to buy a gun from their uniform allowance. A one-time gun purchase is allowed during the officer’s career. The officer has to be employed on a full-basis for five years before requesting a gun.

Even though the guns will be bought with tax dollars, the guns will become the property of the officers unlike the service revolver that has to be handed back into the city. If the officers believe they need additional backup protection, the city should provide the guns and the guns should become city owned property. If the officer already owns his own second gun, he should not be eligible to apply for another additional gun out of the uniform allowance. Equipment, especially guns, bought and paid for through tax dollars should never become the property of the officer.

When the guns become the property of the officer, could the officer possibly end up reselling the gun at a later date profiting even more off the taxpayer? The resold guns could end up in the wrong hands. They could be involved in crimes in the community or be used to injure one of our own officers. There are 45 officers with a possibility of placing 45 guns on the street. At least if the city owned the guns, it could have better control over the guns, preventing the guns from causing tragic consequences.

Adding guns to the uniform allowance may indicate that the city may be too liberal with the uniform allowance. In the past, $750 would be paid directly to the officer. There would be no documentation of what was spent and whether or not there was any money left over to refund back to the taxpayer if the officer did not use his share of the allowance for the year. Under the new contract, the expenditure of the uniform allowance will now be documented, requisitioned, and the items delivered to the city so the city will be in full control of the expenditure. Carrying over the uniform allowance from year to year is not permitted. A yearly inventory of the officer’s government issued equipment should be done throughout the officer’s tenure with the city.

Until next week, buying guns out of tax dollars so officers can keep the guns as their own and possibly resell them at a profit is not a good use of our tax dollars. The city needs to be more accountable and responsible for decisions they make with our tax dollars. Making poor decisions takes money away from other projects that are needed within the city.

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