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Flashcards in 400-5 Firearms Qualification and Control Deck (54)
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All approved weapons used by officers in the performance of their official duties shall not be altered from the manufacturer specifications nor changed in any way that affects the safety or function of the weapons.



All primary, back-up, and off-duty weapons shall be professional and conservative in appearance and shall be, except as noted herein, of a blued, black, or silver finish.



Officers shall not adorn their firearms with any symbol or design other than the standard manufacturer emblem, or with any equipment or additions not listed in this General Order.



If an officer is authorized to carry a weapon described in section 2, Off-Duty Weapons, as a primary weapon, the officer shall have completed the "Undercover Carry" training class taught by the Narcotics Training Unit and successfully met the qualification requirements of that class annually.



If an officer is authorized to carry a weapon described in section 3, Back-up Weapons, as a primary weapon during a particular operation, the officer shall be currently qualified with the weapon on the department's off-duty weapons course prior to the operation.



If a division commander approves a weapon that does not meet any of the above criteria, the officer shall be currently qualified with the weapon on the department's off-duty weapons course prior to the operation.



If a particular operation makes it impractical for an officer to carry a firearm, the division commander may authorize the involved officer to not carry a firearm for the duration of the assignment.



Officers are reminded that even if they elect not to carry a firearm while off duty, they are considered to be a Houston police officer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Officers shall remain responsible for complying with all department policies and procedures, and are still require~ to take appropriate action when required. If unarmed, appropriate action may .include contacting 9-1-1 or the police dispatcher about a crime in progress rather than attempting to make an arrest.



If an off-duty officer not wearing a police uniform and not working police-related extra employment elects to carry a handgun, the officer shall carry a primary weapon or an off-duty weapon that matches one of the following descriptions:

a. Revolvers. Revolvers must be double action and chambered for .38 special or larger cartridges. Revolvers must have a barrel length of at least two inches, but not more than four inches.
b. Semiautomatic pistols. Semiautomatic pistols must be chambered for .380 caliber cartridges or larger and have a barrel length of at least two inches.


Handguns carried off duty must hold a minimum of five rounds of ammunition.



Officers shall qualify annually on the department's off-duty weapons course with all off-duty weapons they intend to carry.

Off-duty weapons are to be carried in a concealed and inconspicuous manner.

Open carry of an off-duty weapon is prohibited regardless of whether the officer has obtained a license to carry a handgun issued by the State of Texas or other state with a reciprocity agreement.



While off duty and not wearing a police uniform and not working police-related extra employment, officers are not allowed to carry a back-up handgun alone without an approved primary or off-duty weapon.



Back-up handguns must be .22 caliber or larger (.25 caliber is prohibited) and have a barrel length of two to four inches. If an officer's back-up handgun is a revolver it must be double action. Back-up handguns must hold at least five rounds of ammunition. Officers shall qualify with these weapons annually on the department's off-duty weapons course. Back-up handguns shall be carried in a concealed and inconspicuous manner.



Shotguns may have folding or retractable stocks. Pistol-grip only shotguns are not approved.



AR-15 style, short barrel rifle (SBR) carbines with a barrel length as short as 10 inches are also approved carbines provided the officer completes the appropriate federal paperwork, registers the carbine with the Training Division, and per federal law keeps a copy of the federal proof of registration and tax stamp in his possession at all times while possessing the SBR carbine.



Approved carbines shall be black in color. The only exception is a monochromatic, olive drab color carbine provided the officer qualified with it prior to January 23, 2017, and the carbine has remained continuously registered with the department to that officer since before January 23, 2017. Multicolor or camouflage carbines are prohibited.



Approved carbines must have iron sights and may in addition have electronic optical sights as listed in Attachment A. Allowable electronic optical sights must have no magnification and shall be mounted either with a quick release return to zero mount or in a manner that allows the immediate use of the back-up iron sights should the electronic optic fail for any reason.



No officer shall carry a rifle or a carbine of a type or configuration different than that specified in this subsection unless specifically authorized in writing by the Chief of Police.



Carbines shall be stored with a magazine seated in the magazine well, the safety engaged, and the chamber empty.



Officers may respond and deploy with an approved carbine in any high-risk situation in which a suspect:

a. Possesses a rifle, assault rifle, machine gun, or shotgun.
b. Possesses or uses body armor.
c. Employs measures that put any officer at a tactical disadvantage that cannot be overcome with a handgun.


Officers may also respond with a carbine at any special threat situation as long as the requirements in General Order 600-05, Special Threat Situations, are also satisfied.



Officers shall not volunteer or participate in the execution of preplanned high-risk warrants with their carbines in lieu of contacting the Tactical Operations Division, SWAT Detail.



Except with approval by the Chief of Police, no officer shall carry any of the following types of ammunition in any weapon.

a. Armor piercing
b. Tracer ammunition
c. Glaser safety slug
d. Rat shot
e. Frangible ammunition


All shotguns shall be loaded with either "00" or No.4 buckshot. Slugs may be used upon completion of the department's Select Slug training course.



All weapons carried while an officer is in uniform, on duty, or working police-related extra employment shall have black or brown grips made of wood, plastic, metal, or rubber.



Grips shall not be adorned with emblems or designs other than the standard manufacturer logo.



Officers shall bring their "Sam Browne" and uniform holsters when reporting to qualify during their birthday month.

Academy range personnel shall inspect the holsters to ensure they are in good working order and are appropriate for the type and configuration of weapons the officers are carrying.



Officers shall contact Uniform Supply before acquiring a new primary weapon to determine if an approved holster is available through the City's current holster vendor.

If an approved holster is available, officers shall go to Uniform Supply and pick up the appropriate holster.

Before the holster can be worn on duty, officers shall report to an Academy firearms range, qualify with the handgun, and receive a new or updated qualification card.

After qualifying with. a new weapon, officers shall return the old holster to Uniform Supply Within two business days and provide proof they qualified using the new holster.

If an officer does not qualify within 14 calendar days, the officer shall contact Uniform Supply to make arrangements to return the new holster.

If an approved holster is not available, officers shall be responsible for purchasing an appropriate holster and having it approved by Academy range personnel before qualifying or using It on duty.


Officers may, at their own expense, purchase and wear custom made holsters provided the holsters meet all criteria and specifications set forth for the official City issued holsters, or approved alternatives and are approved by Academy range range personnel in writing.

Prior to wearing any alternative holster officers shall demonstrate proficiency with the holster to Academy range personnel.



Any rejected holster may be submitted with justification for the alternative or modification to the Chief of Police who may direct the department's Office of Planning to evaluate the holster. Following this evaluation, the Chief of Police shall determine whether the holster may be used.



Officers shall demonstrate proficiency when transitioning to a different approved holster before using it on duty.



Firearms shall not be altered to accommodate laser sights; nor shall officers carry firearms with laser sights.

However, specialized units may use laser sights if approved in writing by the Chief of Police.



The use of weapon-mounted lights on carbines, shotguns, or handguns is an option for officers upon successful completion of the requisite training. Officers who wish to use weapon-mounted lights are responsible for purchasing an appropriate weapon-mounted light and holster according to the specifications listed in Attachment A of this General Order.



An officer, who graduated from the Houston Police Academy before Cadet Class 170 graduated, may continue to carry as a primary weapon a handgun not on the primary weapons list, provided the firearm was registered with the department to the officer prior to September 1, 1997. This applies to only handguns remaining continuously registered to the officer in the department's firearms registration database since before September 1, 1997. In order to carry these firearms, officers shall qualify with them annually on the primary weapons course during their birthday month.



Primary weapon revolvers shall have a barrel length of at least three inches, but not more than four inches. An. officer may carry a revolver with a barrel length exceeding four inches but not more than SIX and one-half inches provided the firearm was registered with the department to the officer prior to April 3, 1985, and has remained continuously registered.



In the event a handgun that is not on the primary weapons list in Attachment A, but has been continuously registered with the department since before September 1, 1997, becomes stolen, lost, or non-repairable, officers have the option of replacing that primary weapon with an identical firearm. If an identical replacement firearm is not available, the firearm shall be replaced with one from the approved list in Attachment A of this General Order.



This replacement policy also applies to shotguns that have remained continuously registered in an officer's department firearms record since before August 24, 2000.
Prior to carrying any replacement weapon, officers shall qualify with the weapon on the appropriate qualification course.



Officers often own or possess firearms for which they have no reasonable expectation of being called upon to use while acting in a police capacity (e.g., firearms normally used only for hunting or as part of a personal collection). Firearms possessed solely for such purposes and that are never carried while the individuals are acting in the capacity of police officers, need not be registered with the department.



When in plainclothes, officers, regardless of rank or duty status, shall carry their firearm in a manner that is not exposed to public view. This regulation does not apply:

During the course of tactical operations
When conducting raids
When running warrants
While on Police Department property

In the above listed exception circumstances, officers shall wear their official Houston Police Department identification card in a visible manner.


Limitations apply to officers carrying firearms in the following areas and circumstances.

a. Courts. While attending court, officers shall adhere to that court's policy regarding the carrying of firearms and shall surrender their firearms if a bailiff so requests.

b. Psychiatric Wards. Armed officers shall not enter any facility's psychiatric ward except under the most serious of circumstances, and then only after having received approval from the physician in charge of the unit, or in the absence of the physician in charge, anyon-duty physician in the unit.

c. Under the Influence of Alcohol. City Ordinance prohibits officers from exercising the authority of their office while off duty and under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, officers who are under the influence of alcohol and not engaged in the performance of their assigned work duties shall not carry firearms.

d. Under the Influence of Medication. Officers shall exercise prudence when taking prescribed or over-the-counter medications that may impair their physical or mental faculties. Medications affect individuals differently and numerous medications come with warnings that they may cause drowsiness or other impairing side effects. Officers who take medication or a combination of medications that they know will cause impairment or that have a high probability of causing impairment shall not carry a firearm. Officers shall not carry a firearm while experiencing impairing side effects from any medication.


Armed officers who want to enter the sterile area of an airport shall advise the proper authorities of their intentions to do so before entering the airport security checkpoint. Officers shall present any documents or law enforcement credentials necessary to verify their identity, and shall comply with the decision of airport authorities to allow or deny access.



Officers shall limit a request to carry a firearm aboard an aircraft to a situation in which a weapon is required to ensure the safe completion of a law enforcement mission.
Prior to air travel, officers are required to complete the "Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed" training program available at the Airport Division (IAH).
A National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) message to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel shall be submitted for any officer flying armed. An NLETS message shall be generated for each direction of travel.



I n order to obtain the NLETS messages of authorization, officers with an operational need to fly armed shall at least 48 hours in advance submit to the Office of the Chief of Police a written request that contains the following information needed by Emergency Communications Division (ECD) personnel:



Should a flight have to be changed or if a flight is cancelled, particularly when the date of a flight changes, a new NLETS message shall be generated by contacting an ECD supervisor.
When time is critical, the assistant chief of the Criminal Investigations Command may act as the Chief of Police's representative and send the request letter and authorization directly to the onduty ECD sergeant.



The specialized division or unit may also administer the department's other firearms qualification courses to classified personnel assigned to the division or unit.



Any officer who attempts but fails to qualify with an approved primary weapon on the primary weapons course by the last day of that officer's birthday month or who experiences three failed attempts to qualify with a primary weapon, shall notify his division commander in writing by the next workday.



Upon receiving written notification of an officer's failure to qualify as described above, it is the immediate supervisor's responsibility to ensure that corrective measures are taken until the officer is able to qualify with an approved primary weapon.



For officers whose primary weapon qualification has expired, corrective measures shall include assigning the officer to duties that do not require the officer to be armed and ensuring the officer does not carry a firearm until qualification standards have been met. This includes suspending the officer's police-related extra employment.



If necessary, and dependent upon the nature of the officer's assignment, the supervisor shall reassign the officer to ensure safe and appropriate execution of duty. The Chief of Police shall determine any other corrective action.



All records relating to officers not attempting to qualify with a primary weapon are to be maintained by the officers' division commander.
Except as noted below, officers who make no attempt to qualify during their birthday month with an approved primary weapon shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Such action may include involuntary reassignment, relief from duty, or dismissal from service.



Division commanders shall inform the Training Division in writing of an officer's legitimate reason for not attempting to qualify. Division commanders or above who have a legitimate reason for not attempting to qualify during their birthday month shall notify their immediate supervisors.
Officers shall attempt to qualify as soon as possible after returning to a normal duty assignment. Officers shall be given 30 calendar days to qualify after returning to normal duty. Unless an exigent circumstance exists, an officer on normal duty at least one day during the officer's birthday month shall not be granted the extension.
Officers granted a qualification extension shall not be assigned to duty that requires them to be armed and shall not be allowed to work police-related extra employment until qualification requirements are met.



Any officer who temporarily does not have a primary weapon to carry on duty may request the loan of a replacement primary weapon if one of the following circumstances exists:

a. The officer's primary weapon has been rendered temporarily inoperable and is being repaired or replaced.

b. The officer's primary weapon has been stolen and properly reported as required by HPD.

c. The department has retained the officer's primary weapon as part of an investigation and the weapon has not been returned.


An officer requiring the loan of a primary weapon due to a circumstance outlined in either item (a) or (b) above, shall submit a request in writing through the officer's division commander to the Training Division commander. The officer shall deliver either the original approved letter or a copy to the indoor range supervisor and then qualify with the loaner weapon before it shall be temporarily issued. The loan of a primary weapon shall not exceed 30 calendar days without additional written justification from the officer's division commander.



A letter is not required when the department has retained the officer's primary weapon as part of an investigation and the weapon has not been returned.