So here is what was sent to all patrol captains by the department commander in charge of training in regard to the transition...
From: Hartshorne, Joseph S.
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 5:01 PM
To: FOR1 Captains; FOR2 Captains; FOR3 Captains
Subject: Smith & Wesson Transition Training For Patrol
I am writing to you directly in hopes that you can provide some clarification to your patrol personnel regarding the new Smith & Wesson M&P (Military and Police) pistol. The Sheriff has been asked about this process at recent unit visits, and there may be some misunderstanding about what is going to occur.
First, the Department is transitioning from the Beretta pistol to the S&W. The new weapon will come with a fixed flashlight and a holster which will accommodate the gun and light. Originally this was all slated to start in April, but there were hang-ups in the procurement process. Currently we anticipate receiving the new guns/lights/holsters by the end of the summer.
A few months ago we did receive a small amount of the new guns, and it was decided to provide them to Academy recruits. This allowed the Department to pilot test the weapon in a controlled system before facilitating the complete Departmental changeover; the thousands of rounds fired by the recruits was way to “test drive” the new weapon in a short period of time. The pilot study resulted in identifying a modification to the weapon necessary to manufacturing. The pilot study exhausted this batch of weapons and the current classes have returned to the Beretta. Additionally, as many of you know, the Academy can be the first time a recruit has ever fired a gun, and it seemed logical to provide their initial, intensive training with the actual gun they will be carrying for years.
Once we begin receiving shipments of the new guns/lights/holsters, we will start the patrol transition classes, while simultaneously training Academy recruits with the new weapon. Patrol personnel who elect to transition to the S&W will have to go through an 8-hour class at the PDC ranges. Academy classes utilize the bulk of range time due to the number of classes we are running, the size of the classes, and the amount of time they are mandated to spend at the range. Whether or not the recruits receive the S&W or the Beretta, does not change the amount of time they consume at the ranges. Therefore, our range instructors must coordinate patrol transition classes within the available time left at the ranges. In other words, the speed at which patrol personnel can transition to the S&W is only limited by the availability of open ranges and available instructors, not the number of S&Ws in stock. It is not our intention, nor has it ever been, to outfit the Academy classes at the expense of patrol. It is a concurrent process that will take 2-3 years to complete.
As to which stations will receive the new weapons first, this is above my pay grade and will be worked out by the chiefs.
If you have any questions, or if I can help dispel any rumors, please call me.
Joseph S. Hartshorne, Commander
Leadership & Training Division
Just like the Beretta conversion "back in the day"...My class was one of the last to receive Smith and Wesson Model 15's and as a custody deputy it took 1 1/2 years to transition us to the 92's...