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Sheriff's Office issues new weapons to deputies

Deputies receive training on a new weapons system at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Firearms Training Facility in Sykesville. (Lauren Loricchio/Carroll County Times)

When Carroll County Sheriff's Office deputies need to reach for their firearm, both officers and members of the public might be a little safer now that the agency has acquired new equipment.

Recently, the agency issued a Glock 17 equipped with a Streamlight, a type of flashlight that is attached to the 9 mm pistol, and new holsters to its deputies. Officers were previously issued a Glock 19, a 9 mm conventional service pistol, and held a flashlight alongside their weapon, said Sgt. Mark DeBord, of the county Sheriff's Office.

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The agency also acquired the Glock 26, a subcompact pistol, for undercover operators and members of the county's SWAT team, DeBord said.

It's been a while since Carroll County's largest law enforcement agency updated its equipment.

"The prior weapon system that we had provided to our deputies, the oldest gun we had was roughly 25 years old, so what we've done is we've given our guys the latest technology," DeBord said.

The Glock 17 is a slightly larger weapon and carries two additional rounds per magazine, said Cpl. Jonathan Light, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

"It's certainly going to make for a safer environment for us being able to have the light with the weapon system. It might make things a more stable platform for us should we find ourselves in the situation where we need to use our firearms," Light said.

Deputies received weapons training Wednesday night at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Firearms Training Facility in Sykesville.

Cpl. Dustin Boone and Master Deputy Jason Gross were busy training deputies to become familiar with the extra step when using their weapon in low-light situations. Boone said it needs to become second nature for deputies to turn the new mounted flashlight on before they fire their weapons.

"In a life-and-death situation they have to act without thinking, and it has to come natural to them," Boone said.

Deputy Vernon Dorsey, who completed the low-light threat recognition course Wednesday night, said the new weapon is very similar to the old one, just better.

"It fires the same with less recoil," he said. "I love it."

The new weapon system allows officers to get a better grip on their weapon, and it also has a new strobe feature that can disorient a subject, DeBord said.

Dorsey, who is assigned to the Westminster and Finksburg areas, said he feels much safer with the mounted light, especially in indoors situations.

"It's just a matter of taking your index finger and flicking it on," said Dorsey, who used to use a Glock 17 in his former position as a member of the Baltimore City School Police Force.

The new outfit allows for more flexibility, DeBord said.

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The agency spent 1 percent or less of its operating budget, or about $60,000, to purchase the new equipment, including 200 weapons, DeBord said.

Funds were acquired through a federal grant to purchase the lighting systems, and the weapon systems were bought through seized asset forfeiture through the Carroll County Sheriff's Office Drug Task Force, DeBord said.

"Ultimately with the longer barrel system, the upgrades that we made to the gun, it is going to make the citizens much safer in the county," he said.

DeBord said shooting has improved among officers as they get more familiar with the weapon.

Shooter scores are increasing by 10 to 15 percent based on the drills they have been doing, he said.

"It's just a smoother weapon system, and it operates and functions much better than the outdated weapon systems we were providing to our officers in the past," DeBord said.

Officer training on the new weaponry is expected to be complete by the end of December, Light said.

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