Milwaukee Police Department replacing firearms over unexpected discharges

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced on Monday, Oct. 31 that the city will soon begin replacing all police officers’ department-issued guns following concerns over unexpected discharges.

"Police officers who serve our city, they've got enough on their plate to worry about. They certainly shouldn't have to worry about their sidearms firing off unexpectedly," Johnson said in a news conference.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson

All police service weapons will be replaced with firearms from a different manufacturer. The cost of this change is expected to be roughly $450,000, and the city plans to pay for the new weapons with asset forfeiture funds. The mayor said a file will be submitted this week seeking the appropriate approvals from the Milwaukee Common Council to pay for this transition.

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Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said the department is planning to place these new weapons into place starting in early 2023. The transition will take five to six months.

"This is not an easy lift," the chief said. "We’re talking about well over 1,600 members."

Chief Norman said the Sig Sauer service weapon will be replaced with the Glock 45 – a similar 9mm weapon. 

The unintended discharge of Milwaukee Police Department service weapons was the subject of a lawsuit between the police union and the city. There are at least 19 open lawsuits against gun manufacturer Sig Sauer across the country. Most concern injuries from the same model of gun used by Milwaukee officers. Sig Sauer is the gun all sworn MPD officers are required to carry. 

"We are dealing with something that is still unexplained," said Norman. "We’re looking into it."

But as soon as the Milwaukee Common Council approves the funding for the new service weapons, the Milwaukee Police Association announced it will forgo a lawsuit filed against the city.

Milwaukee Police Association President Andrew Wagner

"It is a breath of fresh air where we have open lines of communication on important issues such as these," said Milwaukee Police Association President Andrew Wagner.  "We just want these firearms replaced with a safe and reliable firearm."