The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 7, 2012

Masons fund firearms for Sunbury police

SUNBURY — Police officers in the city will get new firearms, thanks to Sunbury Masonic Lodge 22.

Almost $8,000 for the project was raised during the lodge’s annual golf tournament, which was held at the Susquehanna Valley County Club on Friday.

Sunbury Mayor David Persing was thrilled.

‘‘I think this is great,” Persing said while accepting the donation. “This truly means a lot to the city of Sunbury.”

Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said his officers have asked to upgrade their guns for several years, and he was grateful to the Masons for their help.

“Those guys stepped it up and really came through,” he said. “What a great thing they did for us, and we really do appreciate it.”

Masonic Lodge member and tournament organizer Sean Purdy said Sunbury needed the help.

“We can only thrive as a community if we have people support the best interest of the community,” he said. “We as Masons have a moral duty to assist the community in any way possible and to provide a service in an area that is needed most.”

Mazzeo said he plans to upgrade from the current Glock 23 Generation 3, which uses a .40 caliber cartridge, to the Glock 21 .45 caliber.

“They are a better gun,” he said. “Plus the guns we have are just used and outdated and parts are being worn.”

The Glock 23 guns the department has will be traded in at about $285 per gun and the Glock 21s will cost about $497 each.

The difference will be about $212 a gun plus magazines and holsters, Mazzeo said.

A total of 18 guns will be purchased, even though the city employees only 13 officers. That’s to cover breakdowns and because after a shooting state police will seize an officer’s gun until an investigation is complete, Mazzeo said.

The total per gun with all the trimmings could run nearly $450.

City officers have not shot an individual in more than 20 years nor have they shot at a suspect in the same period of time, Mazzeo said.

“They are not used a lot,” he said. “But we draw them all the time when we conduct raids, or stops where a gun may be suspected.”

Mazzeo said the guns become worn because officers practice with them to qualify with firearms once a year.

The number of rounds fired is not recorded, but officers must sign out ammunition, Mazzeo said.

“Our guys are happy and thankful for what the Masons have done,” he said. “It is such a nice gesture and such a great feeling to know we are thought about and people want to help us out.”

n Email comments to fscarcella@dailyitem.com.

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