POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – In the wake of the shooting of a Haines City police officer, law enforcement leaders are discussing the safety of their firearm holsters.
Auburndale Police Chief Andy Ray said his agency used a holster by the company “Safariland” for 12 years.
“This is exactly the same holster as Haines City Police Department uses,” he said. “The finger can actually slide in there and our new holster design you can’t get your finger in there.”
His department purchased new pistols and holsters, from a different brand, earlier this year.
“We decided on this particular design, among other things, because it really encases the trigger guard and provides a different or additional security measure for us,” said Chief Ray.
A Winter Haven police spokesperson said that department’s Safariland holster was replaced with a different Safariland model in 2020 due to an “issue with a gap near the trigger.”
As of this week, Haines City police also plan to purchase new holsters.
“I gave direction to our staff to begin investigating an alternative to that because we need to get that fixed now,” said Interim Haines City Police Chief Loyd Stewart.
That decision came after police say a suspect shot Haines City Officer Dwight Rogers, 27, by pulling the trigger of the officer’s gun while still inside his holster during a chaotic struggle Sunday night.
Officer Rogers remains hospitalized as of Tuesday. He is expected to make a full recovery.
It is unknown how long Haines City officers have used this model of holsters.
When asked, a spokesperson said they are “purchased as needed.”
The alleged shooter, David Torres-Orozco, faced a judge Tuesday on several charges, including attempted murder.
“On the felony punishable by life I am going to hold you no bond, sir,” said the judge.
Auburndale Chief Ray said law enforcement leaders have been discussing the design issue of the holsters in the wake of the shooting.
“If we can learn something from somebody else’s unfortunate event then we’re going to do our best to take something away from that,” said Chief Ray. “The fact that somebody can get a finger in it and pull a trigger is concerning obviously to us and to everybody.”
A Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson declined to disclose the kinds of equipment the agency uses, citing security and safety concerns, but said it is looking into the issue.
“Anytime something like this happens — state-wide or nation-wide — our training section will review our equipment and policies to determine if we need to modify current practices &/or equipment. So yes, we will be reviewing our equipment and policies,” wrote Alicia Manautou, public information officer.
The maker of the holster, Safariland, did not respond to News Channel 8’s request for comment Tuesday.