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Valparaiso police station stock

Valparaiso police station

The Michigan City Police Department is trading in 181 guns in a major weapons purchase approved recently by the City Council.

Police Chief Mark Swistek told the council the trade-ins include 47 shotguns no longer in use by the department.

The Valparaiso Police Department, too, is taking advantage of a sale Glock Inc. is offering area police departments through Oct. 1.

Police in Portage and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department aren’t participating, police there said.

Portage police are evaluating their own firearms and are not close to making a decision, Police Chief Troy Williams said.

Valparaiso bought 60 new Glock 9mm handguns for $414 apiece. The department traded in .40 caliber Glock handguns for $200, Sgt. Michael Grennes said.

The Glock typically has a five-year service life, he said.

“We had originally switched to the .40 because of a perceived ‘stopping power’ need,” Grennes said. “The thought was that a bigger, faster bullet would incapacitate faster and thus end officer-involved shooting more rapidly.”

“This is not the case,” he emphasized.

“It’s a balance of shoot ability and shot placement added to officer’s confidence in their own ability that ends the aggressor’s assault on the officer (or innocents), not a particular cartridge,” Grennes said.

The difference between the 9mm and the .40-caliber guns, he explained, is one of cartridge ignition pressures. The 9mm has a long, low, smooth ignition impulse, while the .40 has a short, sharp, abrupt ignition impulse.

That recoil caused cracking of the frame in the .40-caliber guns, especially ones that had been used often over four to five years, he said.

For Michigan City, the cost to upgrade 181 firearms was $11,190, Swistek said.

Swistek said the special trade-in incentive Glock offered is rare. This is only the second time the company has offered it, he said.

“It may never happen again in our lifetime,” Swistek said.

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.