|HOME | NEWS & EVENTS | PUBLIC INFORMATION|
JERSEY STATE POLICE
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE
STATE POLICE PLACE HOLD ON NEW HANDGUN
DiFRANCESCO AND DUNBAR CITE SAFETY AS FIRST PRIORITY
W. Trenton - With the support of Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco, Colonel Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced that in an abundance of caution and for the safety of State Police personnel, he has placed a hold on all training exercises and the issuance of the new handgun recently purchased by the State Police to replace the current sidearm.
"The safety of our troopers is my top priority," said the Acting Governor. "Until and unless these firearms can be proven to operate in a consistent, reliable and safe manor, we will not issue them. I will not allow our troopers to stand on the front lines without the protection they so vitally need and deserve."
Col. Dunbar noted that he was taking the action in light of reports from State Police firearms instructors and troopers training with the new Smith & Wesson Model 99 9mm semi-automatic handgun that they were experiencing instances of the weapon jamming during training exercises. Specifically, State Police firearms instructors have reported instances of spent shell casings jamming in the weapon's ejection port (not expelling the spent shell casing) and loaded rounds not being properly fed into the weapon from the magazine. At this time, State Police and Smith & Wesson firearms experts have not determined, in whole or in part, whether the issues of concern are related to the firearm itself or the way the weapon has been fired.
Dunbar said that State Police firearms experts have contacted the manufacturer and that Smith & Wesson has begun to examine the Model 99 in an effort to determine the exact cause of the concerns. Additionally, Smith & Wesson experts have met with the State Police armorer and are together working to evaluate the issues of concern.
Col. Dunbar noted that pursuant to the terms of the contract with Smith & Wesson, a report has been filed with the Division of Purchase and Property regarding the weapons. Additionally, Dunbar said that he has met with representatives from the State Police associations and has provided the union leadership with a detailed briefing regarding the concerns involving the weapon.
The State Police contracted with Smith & Wesson last year to purchase 3,200 new handguns at a cost of $1.3 million. The S&W Model 99 9mm sidearm was purchased to replace the current State Police-issued H&K (Heckler & Koch) P7M8 9mm handgun first placed in service with the State Police in 1983. To date, 431 Model 99 handguns have been issued to State Police personnel. All personnel currently issued the Smith & Wesson handgun will turn-in the weapon for replacement with the H&K sidearm.