Other times, though, a pistol will only serve to keep officers on their toes. Or off them, literally, as Connersville, Indiana police chief David Counceller has learned. For the second time in 15 years.
According to the Indy Star, the 34-year veteran of the Connersville Police Department accidentally shot himself in the leg with a 40-caliber Glock handgun. This was the second time in 15 years that Counceller had accidentally shot himself.
The first time, he was acting as a third-shift captain and was unloading a gun before taking it to the gunsmith. Counceller failed to check if there was a bullet in the chamber. There was and it went through his hand. "That one really hurt," he told the Indy Star.
This time, he was at a local gun shop. Counceller, off-duty at the time, had taken his Glock out to compare the firearm to a newer model. All was fine until he returned the gun to its holster.
Counceller is no stranger to the public eye, though usually the attention is more focused on his duties, like when he was looking for citizens to come forward and help solve a string of attacks on women. He is currently running in the May primary for Fayette County sheriff.
"It got tangled in my clothing," Counceller said of his weapon. "I was wearing a sweatshirt and a fleece jacket. I felt (the gun) go in the holster and I pushed it, but it was tangled in the material which caused it to discharge. The bullet went into my leg and then into the floor."
According to the most recent statistics available from the Firearm and Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania, firearms accidents are common. The total number of non-fatal unintentional injuries from firearms was 81,260 from 2003 to 2007. About 71 percent of all non-fatal firearm injuries are unintentional. More than 70 percent of unintended non-fatal injuries occur to a leg or arm. Of all gun injuries, 38 percent are hospitalized while 29 percent are treated and released. Another 31 percent are fatal, and in 2 percent, the outcome is unknown.
Counceller told Pal-Item.com that the accident was "pure carelessness" on his part. He drove himself to the Fayette Regional Health System. Nurses thought that he was joking.
The nurses that treated him weren't the only ones who thought that Counceller was kidding. Initially, Connersville Mayor Leonard Urban thought that Counceller was joking when he called to report the accident, according to Pal-Item.com.
That's a double yup. Clearly Glocks should have better trigger safety (at least for certain people), and Counceller's aim has been historically true.
"It was just a little accident. Dave is an excellent marksman," Urban said Monday. "Apparently the Glocks don't have the trigger safety that they should have."