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heyjude
09-02-2008, 05:33 PM
I have a question for all you gun nuts out there. You know who you are. :)

Can a DEA field agent choose his/her own weapon? I assume that, like police, they have a list of approved weapons to select from. Also, do they have to buy their own, or is it department-issue?

I'm particularly interested in the Southwest near the border, if that makes a difference. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Robert Toy
09-02-2008, 05:38 PM
It is my understanding that the service weapon would be a standard issue, as with any agency or police department. The personal carry weapon, either off-duty or as a backup is by personal choice.

Chase
09-05-2008, 11:07 PM
I'm retired and have moved from the small border town in Montana where we armed ourselves against the vast Canadian hordes waiting to overrun us. Wrong border for you, Jude; however, it's my only DEA contact.

For what it's worth, my guy says of course the administration wants you to use its selected issue. Even if graft and politics aren't at issue, the gun staff spent considerable time testing and had to settle on one. Then there's the capital investment, including armorer training and parts.

In the case of DEA, they settled on the Glock 19. For new agents, it was get on board or transfer to a less three-letter agency (FBI, CIA, GSA). But in 1991-'92, it all went awry. Despite the lid kept on matters, Glock failures became too many to ignore and they were taken out of service and replaced by the SIG P-228 as the DEA's unofficial official issue. There was never a Glock recall, but the "upgrade" was nothing more than an official equivocation. Anyway, after lots of "upgrading" and more testing, the Glock is back and the DEA offers agents a choice of Glock or SIG.

As before, another handguns may be carried by virtue of a "grandfather clause" if an agent carried it prior to the newest issue.

Also, if an agent has sufficient reason transending whim to request another weapon, he or she may submit a half-ton of paperwork. If approved, the alternate weapon is issued and maintained at DEA expense.

For writers, this offers lots of latitude for protagonists.

heyjude
09-05-2008, 11:15 PM
Thanks guys! This is really incredibly helpful.

Chase, the modifications to the Glock--are we talking about the switch to the safety mechanism within the trigger itself?

And what about a throw piece? Am I correct in assuming that an agent caught with a weapon that has its serial numbers burned off is going to be fired if he can't provide a reasonable explanation?

Chase
09-06-2008, 01:54 AM
The "upgrade" involved several parts. The explanation provided here is as good as any:

http://www.thegunzone.com/glock/upgrade-faq.html

I'm more of a technical gun guy, not really up on why cops do what they do. By the same token, it's risky to ask cops technical gun questions, as I'm constantly surprised how the average cops' gun knowledge comes from dirty Harry movies and CSI-Wherever reruns.

heyjude
09-06-2008, 04:30 PM
The "upgrade" involved several parts. The explanation provided here is as good as any:

http://www.thegunzone.com/glock/upgrade-faq.html

I'm more of a technical gun guy, not really up on why cops do what they do. By the same token, it's risky to ask cops technical gun questions, as I'm constantly surprised how the average cops' gun knowledge comes from dirty Harry movies and CSI-Wherever reruns.

That's a great website--thanks! I always wondered why they made the changes...

RJK
09-06-2008, 10:25 PM
Lots of great information Chase. One thing to add:

No matter what weapon the officer carries, he must qualify with that weapon annually.

rugcat
09-06-2008, 10:42 PM
Lots of great information Chase. One thing to add:

No matter what weapon the officer carries, he must qualify with that weapon annually.When I was working, there was a special dispensation for undercover officers to carry out of policy weapons.

I carried a S&W model 60 Chief's Special, a small frame 5 shot .38. But I had to qualify with it on the standard range test; no dispensation there.

This involved firing one series of rounds at 25 yards, which is a bit more difficult using a revolver with a two inch barrel.

It also involved closer range firing of 12 shots in 25 seconds -- this was before almost all departments changed from revolvers to semi-automatics like the Glock. So, that involved reloading your gun once, using a speed loader.

But with a five shot, you had to reload twice, which meant you really had to hurry.

I always qualified, but my scores weren't great.

Horseshoes
09-07-2008, 10:49 AM
Jude,
Yes dept issued for the on-duty weapon, they do not buy their own and new agents do not have a choice about what they'll carry.

Re the "throw" er.... presuming you're talking about a bad cop who is either planning a murder or so lousy he doesn't trust himself to make good decisions and carries another weapon to plant on a scene should he kill someone and think he wants to create evidence that the dead guy shot at him first...
okay-dokey, crime scene processing is mighty good now and he'd have to be mighty lucky to pull this off with a throwdown piece. At any rate, he doesn't need serial numbers removed from the spare pistol-just needs a pistol that doesn't trace to him. If the sn is removed, it will probably be etched off, not burnt...even a plastic body pistol.

Yes, he's in deep doo-doo if caught w/ an unapproved second weapon but it's not likely to be an immediately terminatable offense. He will be due an internal investigation.

RJK
09-07-2008, 06:41 PM
Rugcat,
I went through the same thing. As a lieutenant, I sometimes wore a dressier uniform and when I wore this one, I carried the .38 chief's special (5 shot, 2 inch barrel). Even though I didn't carry it every day, I had to qualify with it, as well as my issue S&W 9mm.

heyjude
09-08-2008, 04:14 AM
Thank you so much! Horseshoes, he's not a bad guy so much as he made a dumb mistake and is trying to rectify it... with a bigger mistake. :) We all have our faults, huh?

If the investigation takes place off-screen as it were, does a few weeks sound reasonable to tie things up?

Thanks again to everyone, I really appreciate you all so much!

Horseshoes
09-09-2008, 08:43 AM
Hey Jude,
I'm obviously not clear on your scenario...
Inv for a bad shooting can take longer than a few weeks. For most depts, this is done by the Homicide unit.
Inv for carrying an unapproved second weapon should be less than a week, may be done by IA (DEA's version of same) or may be done by the agent's immediate supervisor.

heyjude
09-09-2008, 03:18 PM
Horseshoes, that's exactly what I needed to know. Thanks!

The Grift
09-10-2008, 06:32 PM
http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/plus/e0410/final.pdf

Based on my cursory reading of this, it would appear that in the DEA primary investigation of shooting incidents is tasked to local LEOs. Taking a look at that document may also give you a better feel for the timeline involved.

ideagirl
09-10-2008, 07:36 PM
http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/plus/e0410/final.pdf
Based on my cursory reading of this, it would appear that in the DEA primary investigation of shooting incidents is tasked to local LEOs.

Yeah, it would pretty much have to be, since unless you're on an Indian reservation or federal land, the shooting is going to be prosecuted (if it gets prosecuted at all) under state law. The question is, "Did this DEA agent violate some state law [murder, manslaughter, assault, etc.] by shooting that person?" So the investigation has to be local, because local LEOs are who investigates violations of state law. I could maybe-possibly see the FBI come in if there was some jurisdictional hook to bring them in, but that's not going to be the usual scenario.