Probation Department Makes Case For Carrying Guns

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Standing in front of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators General Services Committee Tuesday night, Edward Brown had one message: his probation officers should be allowed to carry guns. 

"I believe the job we perform puts the officers at risk on a daily basis," said Brown, who heads the county's probation department.

Probation officers are often asked to visit the homes of former criminals in the middle of the night, Brown said, and doing that unarmed could put them in a dangerous situation.

"A lot of the times when we go out, we are going out alone, individually, as probation officers and as you know -- and can look at the crime rates -- the types of crimes are getting more and more violent in this day and age," said probation officer Joe Wargo.

Brown says he would like to give all officers the option to carry a Glock model 23 .40-caliber handgun, something 18 of the county's 31 probation officers are in favor of.

Committee members say they are on board with the proposal. 

"These are the guys that, when they're going to someone's house, they're generally already a criminal or whatever," Legislator Robert Ferris said, "and they're usually first through the door."

"So to have them carry a firearm is appropriate," he said.

It's not a done deal yet. The measure must also be approved by the finance and rules committee and then by the full Board of Legislators. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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