POLICE Magazine

JAN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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52 POLICE JANUARY 2019 Few pieces of police gear are more controversial than backup guns and off-duty guns. Some members of the public are not comfortable with law enforcement officers having a ser- vice pistol, much less a backup to their service pistol. And the same people aren't happy that law enforcement of- ficers carry concealed off duty. Politics aside, however, it appears that many law enforcement agen- cies nationwide are allowing their officers to carry more than one handgun on duty and carry a personal protection pistol off duty. e reasoning for this is easily understood. Most agen- cies no longer run two-officer patrol cars, so their officers are out on their own and need a second handgun. And officers who carry off duty are not only protecting themselves and their loved ones, they are a force multipli- er for agencies and the communities they serve. Officers who carry during their off-duty hours often stop crimes before they escalate into tragedies, and they can provide valuable back- up to on-duty officers when needed. POLICE Magazine wanted to know more about backup handgun and off-duty handgun carry, so we sent out a survey covering these issues and the issues retired officers face when carrying under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. e survey, which was open to active, former, and re- tired officers, was sent to 33,000 read- ers of POLICE and 1,881 qualified readers responded for an error level of less than 2%. BACKUP GUNS THE FIRST QUESTION in our survey nat- urally covered whether the officer's agency permitted its sworn person- nel to carry more than one handgun on their person while on duty. ere seems to be good news on this front, as 85% of respondents said their agen- cy permitted backup handguns. Our next question may have seemed a little odd to some readers. We asked how many backup hand- guns they carry. One was by far the PHOTOS: DAVE DOUGLAS EXCLUSIVE POLICE SURVEY g most popular answer at 94%. Which would seem obvious, but we have heard of officers carrying a backup and a smaller third gun. So it didn't surprise us that 6% of the readers said they carry three or more handguns— counting their duty pistols—on duty. We were also curious about the cal- iber of handgun most commonly car- ried by officers as a backup. As in the Backup and Off-Duty Handguns An overwhelming number of POLICE readers are carrying backup guns on duty, and they carry firearms and other police gear off duty. DAVID GRIFFITH

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