By DON O'BRIEN Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Local law enforcement officials aren't worried now about a possible ammunition shortage, but the future could be a bit murky.
There has been a national run on ammunition and firearms in the wake of the December Connecticut school shooting and ensuing calls to tighten gun laws. Having enough ammunition for public safety isn't a problem locally, but training for officers could be affected.
Adams County Sheriff Brent Fischer said his department is waiting on ammunition for its .223-caliber rifles.
"We still have some rounds, but we need more because we'll be qualifying (to meet state standards) again this year," Fischer said, noting that it usually takes about six months to receive that ammunition.
"We're good on everything but the .223. We need some more to get though the year."
Dennis Bingheim, a deputy chief with Quincy police, said the department isn't worried about any possible shortages.
"Our department has an ample supply of ammunition at this time because we purchased our ammunition earlier in our fiscal year, which was before the shortages started," Bingheim said.
However, both Fischer and Bingheim are bracing for what could be higher prices when they go to buy supplies again. Bingheim said the QPD is in the process of developing a budget for the fiscal year that begins May 1.
"We're taking several things into consideration and we do anticipate delayed receipt of orders of ammunition or possibly higher prices," Bingheim said. "This happened a few years ago when there was a shortage of ammunition in certain calibers and it took us longer to receiver our shipments than normal."
Fischer also wonders about future prices.
"With all the stuff going on, are they going to tax it higher?" Fischer said. "People are buying it up right now, so that's why there is such a demand."
The demand for firearms is just as big. Bingheim said that QPD has been planning to buy some new weapons.
"We're not sure when they will be available or how much they are going to cost," Bingheim said.
As a result of the ammunition shortages, officers might not be able to train as much. Bingheim said QPD officers have memberships that allow them to practice at the PASA Park range in Barry.
"We have two or three training sessions down there with our officers each year," Bingheim said. "We do some other training throughout the rest of the year using simunitions. Those have a small paint pellet instead of a bullet. We can shoot it indoors and shoot at each other. We use our regular duty weapons and they function the same way."
The Adams County Sheriff's Department has an agreement that allows its officers to train at the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mount Sterling.
Fischer said his department is ready to deal with any delays.
"You just have to plan ahead," he said.