NCSO gains upgrade in weapons

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, January 26, 2016

JACKSON – Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith was granted the OK to apply for new service pistols for his office at Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Smith said he wants to purchase 40, 9mm pistols for his deputies to carry.

“The reasons for the request are, the pistols the deputies currently carry are 12-13 years of age,” the sheriff said, “and they have been carried through snowy and icy conditions and some are in need of replacement. Some are in worse shape than others are.”

He said the sheriff’s office is being reimbursed at 100 percent replacement cost of the pistols, “including the holsters, magazine cases, ammunition, and all this will paid for by the Governor’s Crime Commission.

“This is a 24,500 grant we are seeking permission to apply for,” Smith said. “Of this we have come up with a total $23,907.41 is what we’re seeking from this board to approve to purchase these weapons, holsters, and the other things.

“The county will not have to pay any matching funding at all,” he said. “The only requirement the county is responsible for is to pay for it initially. Once that is done and it’s processed, Northampton County will be reimbursed the full cost of this.”

Sheriff Smith said his office currently has 55 pistols. To go through a dealer to purchase these guns would net the sheriff’s office $11,250 in store credits.

These store credits to purchase anything the sheriff’s office needs, such as ammunition would be tax free since it’s purchased through store credits.

Smith said the grant would additionally allow the sheriff’s office to purchase $2,835 worth of ammunition at no cost. “The grant would pay for this just to get us started,” he said.

With the store credit included, the sheriff’s office would save about $4,000 in costs, which means they should not have any type of ammunition costs for the next five to seven years.

Officers would be able to stay qualified to carry a pistol as the state requires.

“This saves Northampton County a lot of money,” Smith said.

“It also updates our weapons to be much more dependable,” the sheriff said. “We’ve had good service from the weapons we have, but they’re in dire need of replacement. I do not want to lose any of our officers because a weapon failed to fire if needed.

“I hope we never ever have to use our weapons or draw on any individual,” Smith said, “But if it does come to that I hope it does what it is supposed to do.”

The sheriff then broke down the exact cost of every item for the commissioners.

Board Chairwoman Fannie Greene clarified that the county had to make the initial costs, even though the grant would reimburse the county.

He responded that he can borrow that money “for a little while.”

The sheriff hopes to have the grant in place around May 1 and has enough in the budget savings from the cost of gas and other things until the funds for fresh equipment is reimbursed by the state.

The county commissioners unanimously approved applying for the grant and to purchase the equipment the sheriff requested.