- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Police Department will start phasing out its older weapons as officers get ready to receive new 9 mm semi-automatic handguns.

Officials approved making the guns the new standard for the department Monday. Officers have been using a Smith & Wesson model that was last manufactured in 1999, making replacement parts increasingly difficult to find, West Hawaii Today reported (https://bit.ly/2938HoT ).

“The days of the revolver are over for law enforcement,” said Lt. Thomas Shopay III, a member of the Hawaii County department’s tactical unit.

The decision comes after police Chief Harry Kubojiri stressed to the police commission last week that new handguns were desperately needed.

“We are unbundling guns just to get the pieces to fix the ones we have,” Kubojiri said.

A variety of handguns, including .40-caliber and .45-caliber pistols, were tested out before the department settled on the 9 mm Glock, Kubojiri said. Police say the more lightweight 9 mm doesn’t produce a hard kickback that makes it harder to quickly regain an aim at the target.

The department has added $30,000 to begin phasing in the new weapons, which cost about $400 each. Officials are looking to buy 100 of them.

Shopay said recruits will get access to the guns first and begin training on them right away.

The old Smith & Wesson models will be turned in for a rebate, estimated to bring in about $90,000 for the department, Shopay said. He told the Standardization Committee, which approved the new guns, that the weapons would be resold or used for parts by the vendor.

“This is a way to get the firearms off our books,” he said.

The Honolulu Police Department started phasing in new Glock semi-automatic guns for its officers in 2014. The department had received criticism when it chose to destroy more than 2,300 of its old guns, potentially losing an estimated $500,000, Hawaii News Now reported last August. City officials had been concerned that the guns could end up on the streets and in the hands of criminals.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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