NEW YORK — NYPD recruits will receive firearms that have a lighter trigger pull under a new initiative to improve accuracy. The department insists data is on its side despite civil rights proponents saying it doesn’t make sense, the Daily News reported.
According to NYPD, their officers fired 256 rounds in 26 officer-involved shootings last year. Officers missed their target in half of those incidents, the data shows. When officers miss the intended target, they are likely to fire more rounds, according to police.
The department has been testing a 9mm firearm (specific weapon was not mentioned) with a trigger pull of five pounds after using a firearm with a 12-pound pull for more than 100 years, NYPD said.
The 457 recruits who were tested, most of whom never fired a weapon before, had an average score of 93.7 with the five-pound pull and 88.7 with the 12-pound pull, according to the department.
Moreover, NYPD tested 129 officers already working the streets. They also proved more accurate and had higher scores with the lighter trigger pull, according to the Daily News.
Nevertheless, NYPD chose to restrict issue of the lighter trigger pull firearms to new recruits, said Insp. Marlon Larin, who runs the department’s Firearms & Tactics Section.
‘’We’re building (recruits) up from scratch, so to speak,” Larin said. “As we’re training them we’re assessing them and we can also follow them throughout their careers. We didn’t want to go so large. We know this is a very sensitive topic and we wanted to phase it in slowly.”
The department is also concerned about the logistics of transitioning such a large force to a weapon with a lighter pull, according to Deputy Commissioner John Miller. That concern applied to the new initiative, he said.
“You can’t naturally unteach years of habit,” he said.
The first class of recruits that will be issued the new firearms will graduate in October, the Daily News reported.
Plaintiffs attorneys and activists have voiced opposition to the change.
However, Larin insists that greater accuracy means fewer shots fired and less chance the wrong person gets hit.
The department, founded 176 years ago, used revolvers with 12-pound pulls until the 1990s, when then-Commissioner Raymond Kelly began issuing 9mm handguns to officers. The manufacturer-recommended setting for the new weapon system was a five-pound pull — but the NYPD kept the trigger pull at 12 pounds.
Critics worried that police, now armed with a weapon that could fire 16 rounds instead of the six from a revolver, would in fact fire more shots.