Citing safety, liability concerns, Fresno PD requests money for new guns from city council

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 40 caliber Beretta PX4 storm has been the pistol 900 officers at the Fresno Police Department carry on duty.

In late 2018, a plan to refurbish them began. Since then 315 guns have been fixed up, but the reconditioning turned out to be the start of another problem

The guns were not functioning as officers had expected when they returned from the factory.

"We think we're getting a cascading effect," says Freno Police Chief Andrew Hall. "Once we fix one thing, something else is breaking. We think there's some wear in the trigger guard mechanism which is making the trigger pulls extremely difficult to fire."

Hall says the issue that was discovered about two weeks ago by the Rangemaster at the Regional Training Center is prompting a safety concern. When the trigger pull isn't operating right, it can affect an officer's aim.

Fresno City Council member Esmeralda Soria said the money will be there for the necessary and critical tool for officers, whether it comes from the police department's budget or the city's.

"I'm glad that the chief has brought this to our attention now and we can move forward with it," Soria said. "The price tag to me does not seem astronomical, and I think we will find a solution to it."

Chief Hall said the attempt to refurbish the guns would have extended the life of them an additional year or two. But, the department has been testing new models for the past year. They are planning to buy nine-millimeter guns to last the next decade.

Councilmembers will be discussing this request in the coming weeks. But even after it's approved, it would take months or even longer to get them in service.

Action News reached out to the council for comment on the request, receiving the following statements:
Council member Garry Bredefeld's statement:

"The fact is our Police Department needs to replace guns that have become unreliable and may be unsafe for our officers and the public. Safety for the public and our officers is always priority #1 for me. They need it and we will fund it. Period. Any nonsense espoused by other Council Members that this is a "fake emergency" or "mismanagement" is political garbage."

Council member Miguel Arias's statement:

"I commend the new chief for uncovering this failure in equipping our officers with the necessary equipment. Police services is one our most important responsibilities we have as a city. It also represents the largest financial commitment and liability to our City. As such we need to ensure every dollar is spent effectively."

Council member Esmeralda Soria's statement:

"I was surprised by the findings. However, there is no question that we must ensure that all our officers are fully equipped to do their job. I am confident that our City will find the necessary resources within our existing budget. Each budget year since I have been in office, I supported necessary increases in the Police Department's budget to keep our officers and City safe.
It is on us to first search department's allocated budgets for potential funding before further depleting our available general funds."
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