The Atlanta Police Department is spending $545,000 in drug forfeiture funds to arm its officers with more firepower – 40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistols, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The guns are replacing the 9 mm Smith & Wessons the force has used for 15 years. “It’s a higher-caliber weapon, and it has more stopping power than a 9 mm,” said Sgt. Fred Brooks, a police firearms trainer. Police Chief Richard Pennington said he was swapping guns because “I am concerned for the safety of my officers. This is a better technology for the threat my officers face on the streets today.”
All state agencies with sworn officers and most of Georgia’s local law enforcement agencies have used 40-caliber weapons for years. Atlanta’s and Gwinnett and DeKalb counties’ police departments are among the few that haven’t changed. State firearms trainer Ernie Tobin said a “heavier bullet” used in the 40-caliber “tends to penetrate deeper . . . into the body to impact the organs deep in the body. This whole thing is about terminal ballistics.” Weapons among the department’s more than 1,530 officers were discharged 34 times last year. Seven incidents involved shooting people and 19 involved shooting animals. In the same period, 17 officers were either shot or shot at in the line of duty.