Police test service weapons after ammunition concerns

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Pittsburgh police have begun testing higher-caliber weapons as part of an evaluation of whether officers are properly equipped.

Police bureau administrators and representatives from the officers union announced last month that they were working together to determine whether the ammunition the officers are using is effective and whether they need to adjust their firearms training.

Some officers raised concerns in March after it took multiple shots to subdue Dante A. Bonner, 19, of Homewood, after police said he had shot Officer Christopher Kertis in East Liberty. They reiterated those concerns last month after police said James R. Hill, a 24-year-old fugitive who grew up in Homewood, fired at officers even after he was struck by return fire from police.

Deputy police Chief Paul Donaldson told officers in an internal memo that FBI testing determined that the ammunition performed similarly to how it did when the bureau selected it.

Officer Eric Engelhardt, chairman of the Officer Safety Committee for the Fraternal Order of Police, confirmed that officers at the Pittsburgh police training academy have tested a .45-ACP Glock.

Currently, officers can choose between a 9 mm or .40-caliber handguns. Officer Engelhardt said additional testing is planned for next month but officers are considering formally asking the police chief to allow them to select a .45-ACP Glock as their service weapon.

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