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Every Dallas police officer must switch from revolvers to semi-automatics, beginning Jan. 1

Right now only five of the department’s officers still carry a revolver. On Jan. 1, every officer will be required to switch to semi-automatics.

For the first time since the Dallas Police Department was formed in 1881, no officers will carry revolvers. Right now only five still carry the weapon. 

On Jan. 1, 2020, they will all be required to switch to semi-automatics.

“The revolver, of course, dates back to the western times and has been carried through til now,” said Officer Paul Schuster.

Schuster is one of the final officers to make the transition to the semi-automatic. He’s served in the department for 36 years.

“I guess it is time to be more modern and there are advantages to having the semi-autos,” Schuster said.

Jerry Rhodes served 36 years as an officer, he’s been a reserve for the last 11. He is another of the final five to make the switch to semi-automatic. He said the transition will be difficult, but it's important.

“It’s going to provide them a lot more firepower, a lot more ammunition, that they have on themselves and in their guns,” Rhodes said. 

“So whereas a revolver had 6 rounds, some have 5 rounds. We carried 12 rounds on our belt. Now we’re carrying a large amount of rounds in magazines and in the gun itself.”

Schuster said the transition provides other benefits too.

“In terms of training it’s gotten sort of problematic to have so few officers that have to have special training every year to qualify,” Schuster said. “So by having everybody having the same type of gun, that makes it simpler for training purposes.”

But for many of the old guard, it’s a bittersweet farewell to a weapon that has been by their side their whole career.

“At 3 o clock I reached around and yup, it’s there. At high noon, going to dinner or lunch, yup it’s there. I felt comfortable with that,” Rhodes said. “And now we’ve got an automatic and I’m going to have to go back through that comfort zone.”

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