Prosecuting Attorney going 9 mm

  • Mitch Roth

HILO — Following in the footsteps of the Hawaii Police Department, investigators at the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney are ditching their old handguns for 9 mm Glocks.

The county Standardization Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the change for the office’s 10 investigators, who had been using two different .40-caliber pistols, depending on the size of the officer.


The transition is expected to happen seamlessly and at no additional cost, said Chief Investigator Alan Koahou.

“We’re putting it out to bid, expecting entire cost will be covered through a buy-back/exchange of our current firearm inventory,” Koahou said Monday. “We’d have to wait for bids to come back, but we’re expecting the cost to be zero.”

The Glocks are favored by the FBI and many law enforcement agencies because they fit smaller hands, don’t have the recoil of a larger handgun and the ammunition is cheaper. In addition, Koahou said, the new models are designed to accommodate either left- or right-handed officers.

“There will be no transitional or training issues,” he told the Standardization Committee.

The Police Department began its transition to Glocks in 2016 and finished last summer. Officials were hoping to replace their old Smith &Wessons by buying 100 new Glock models 17 and 19, at an estimate of about $400 each.

“The entire department’s been shifted over,” said Assistant Chief Samuel Thomas. “I have to say it went pretty smoothly.”

The county code gives investigators in the prosecutor’s office “all of the powers and privileges of a police officer” for the county. It also requires the office to “adopt policies and standards for training and use of these powers consistent and in conformance with those adopted by the Hawaii County Police Department,” which Koahou believes requires the office to use the same type of firearms.


County Prosecutor Mitch Roth approves of the change from the 15-year-old handguns that are getting increasingly more expensive to repair.

“Updated and improved firearms increases the safety of our officers and the public,” Roth said last week.

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