By LINDA M. LINONIS
Detective Mike Begeot aims to equip Hubbard Township Police Department with weapons “as good as or better than the bad guys.”
As weapons-craft officer for the department, he welcomed a recent purchase of Remington 12-gauge shotguns. The pump-action shotguns with pistol-grip stocks also have been fitted with after-market lights and can project teargas cartridges.
“It’s a tactical tool in the event of an emergency. It’s a powerful weapon,” Begeot said. “Everyone knows the sound ... [of the gun being cocked] and knows what’s coming next,” he said of the ominous slide action of the weapon being primed for use.
Chief Todd D. Coonce said new racks for the weapons also are being installed in cruisers. “We want to try to make them uniform in the vehicles,” he said. “So there is no second-guessing where it is.”
Begeot added, “Officers need to know exactly where the shotgun is when they have to act quickly. Having them in a uniform place and the same release helps.”
He also noted officers will have a special sling on which to attach the shotgun so that they never have to put the gun down.
The department has three SUVs on the road — two Ford Explorers and one Ford Expedition, all 4-by-4s — and seven Ford Crown Victorias. The SUVS will have upright racks; the cars also will be fitted with racks on the cages separating front and back seats.
“The Crown Vics were a favorite of police departments because of their size,” the chief said. He added that the department usually puts between 140,000 and 160,000 miles on the cars and “had good luck with them.” But, he noted, Ford is ceasing production of the Crown Vics in 2011; the Ford Taurus is seen as the replacement.
“But the last few winters, we needed the 4-by-4s to get around,” Coonce said. He added the department will have a mix of vehicles.
Coonce said the shotguns were bought with funds from the general budget of the police department, which is $1.4 million. “The renewal levy passed,” Coonce said about the election this week, adding that the 1.75-mill tax levy generates about $144,000 for the department.
While the community supports the police department, it didn’t fare so well in seeking a recent federal COPS [Community-Oriented Policing Services] application for police manpower. Only 22 departments in Ohio received funding.
Hubbard Township has seven full-time officers, including the chief, and 13 part-time officers.
Coonce said he was fortunate to have funds in the budget to buy the shotguns. The weapons replace ones that are about 10 years old.
Begeot said officers must qualify annually on all weapons used. Coonce said Begeot was selected to be weapons-craft officer because of his expertise and interest.
Begeot, who began his police career in 1977, came to Hubbard Township in 1982. He had worked at Liberty Police Department. Begeot said he prefers his Colt 45. The full-time officers carry a Glock semi-automatic 45, Begeot said. Part-time officers, who buy their own weapons, must carry a “good quality and caliber” weapon, Begeot said.
Begeot said weapons training also covers the use of deadly force — using it to protect an innocent person or to defend one’s self.