Retiring reserve officer to be allowed to keep sidearm

A recently retired North Vernon Reserve Police Officer will get to keep his service weapon but he will have to pay for it..

Reserve Officer Ted Westerman served on the city’s police force for 23-years.

Police Chief James Webster said that when a police officer retires, they are normally gifted their service weapon as a token of appreciation for their service to the department and the city.

However, since Westerman was a reserve officer, the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms views the proposed weapon transfer as a “private transfer.” Because of that, the department had to get a trade-in value estimate from a gun dealer in Vernon and asked North Vernon City Council last night to allow Westerman to purchase the gun.

City Council members voted unanimously to allow the sale of the Sig Sauer .45 caliber handgun by police department to Westerman for $350.

Webster has referred to Westerman’s length-of-service to the department as “one-in-a-million.” The chief said that, in most cases, the best a police force can hope for in today’s era of reserve officers is a stint of six-to-seven-years. Webster called Westerman a “throwback” and praised his commitment to the city and the department, noting that he will be sorely missed.