Ammo shortage delaying law enforcement orders - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ammo shortage delaying law enforcement orders

CHATTANOOGA (WRBC) - Sky-rocketing sales now have gun retailers, like Wal-Mart and Academy Sports, putting limits on how much ammo a customer can buy at time.

But what about police officers?

Local agencies say even their distributors are having a hard time keeping up with demand, causing months-long waits.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says it's been waiting since August for its most recent ammunition order. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office say it's on backorder until May. That has several agencies making plans for the delays, so not to run out.

"We've seen a backorder and we know it takes quite a while to get some of our ammunition in, especially the .223, which we use in our riffles," Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk says.

"That and our .40 caliber handgun ammunition have been the two that have mostly been affected," Bradley County Sheriff's Office Major Jim Hodgson says.

Different counties, different states, are all experiencing the same backorders from ammo vendors.

"It's not surprising that manufacturers don't have the supply," Sheriff Sisk says.

Local agencies tell Channel 3 demand was already up in recent years, making wait times longer for deliveries.

"I think it's a natural reaction. We began to see it four years ago," Major Hodgson says.

So, they planned ahead, each keeping a storage closet full of ammo to last them if supplies started dwindling.

Now with President Obama talking gun violence after the Sandy Hook tragedy, they're thankful for their proactive approach. That's because vendors have been selling out, delaying ammo deliveries to law enforcement to between two and six months.

"We have enough cushion we can wait on it to get here," Major Hodgson says.

In Bradley County, the sheriff's department is working to stay stocked instead of waiting until they're running low.

"Order as early as we can to make sure ours is in the pipeline as soon as possible," Major Hodgson says.

In Catoosa County, Sheriff Gary Sisk is doing the same thing, keeping tabs on their current supply and their distributor's.

"We're not going to use up ammunition if we don't see other ammunition coming up," Sheriff Sisk says.

He's also thinking of backup plans, just in case wait times get even longer.

"We have tried to look at other means of training and not having to have live ammunition fired," Sisk says.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol also have ammo reserves, as do Chattanooga Police and Cleveland Police.

No local agencies Channel 3 spoke with are in danger of running out anytime soon.

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