NRA Foundation grant helps BCSO get new sidearms

FROM STAFF REPORTS

BURNET — While Burnet County sheriff’s deputies have always carried a sidearm, it wasn’t until recently and with the help of the NRA Foundation that the officers all got the same make and model of pistols.

The NRA Foundation awarded a $7,150 grant to Burnet County for the purchase of 10 Sig Sauer pistols for the deputies as well as a bulletproof vest for one of the constables. But the county was able use the NRA Foundation grant to “leverage” additional funding to purchase another 12 Sig Sauer pistols.

Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith said arming each deputy with the same sidearm and caliber makes for more consistent training and operations. In the case of a shooting in which deputies might need extra ammunition or an additional magazine, he or she can use a fellow deputy’s with the knowledge it will work in his or her weapon.

Smith added that having a consistent make and caliber of weapon across the board for the deputies helps with training because now they all qualify using the same sidearm. This means if, for some reason, a deputy needs to use a fellow deputy’s weapon, he or she will know how to use it and be adept at handling it.

Though the deputies have qualified with their previous sidearms, Smith said the first phase of issuing the Sig Sauers had meant each officer must undergo training and qualification on these pistols. And it’s not just a matter of showing up and shooting a few rounds.

“You start like you’ve never handled a weapon before,” Smith said.

The grant allowed the county to purchase 10 Sig Sauers along with a bulletproof vest for Burnet County Precinct 4 Constable Chris Jett.

But 10 Sig Sauers wasn’t enough to outfit all the deputies. Burnet County Grant Administrator Debbie Carter said the county was able to use the NRA Foundation grant to leverage additional funding by trading some seized weapons for 12 more Sig Sauers.

Carter said the court awards the seized weapons to the sheriff’s office, which then can trade those for other firearms.

The total cost for the Sig Sauers, the bulletproof vest and some additional magazines was about $25,000, Carter said.

The Sig Sauers are the latest step in the sheriff’s office upgrading its firearms. Earlier this year, an anonymous donor provided the BCSO with 30 AR-15 rifles.

editor@thepicayune.com