CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.
DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver Police Department has ordered its officers to immediately remove defective gun sights that were used on department rifles and on non- lethal weapons as well.
According to an order sent to all officers Dec. 24, 2015 and obtained by CBS4, “Effective immediately, all EOTech holographic (optic) signts must be removed from .223 rifles carried for patrol/duty purposes. This includes department issued weapons and officer owned weapons.”
The two page order goes on to state, “EOTech optics are no longer allowed in the Urban Rifle Weapon Program.”
The recall follows a recent settlement between the gun sight maker- EOTech- and the U.S. government which had purchased millions of dollars’ worth of EOTech sights for use in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. EOTech agreed to pay the government $25.6 million with the company not taking issue with the government’s position that the gun sights are defective and the company knew about the problem for years.
It turns out the Denver Police Department had also been purchasing the defective gun sights.
“We had purchased some, right,” confirmed DPD spokesperson Sonny Jackson who was unable to specify how many of the faulty sights the department had purchased, or when they were bought. “If we know something is defective we are going to pull that back immediately.”
Jackson said the department wanted to get the sights “off the street as quick as we can.”
According to the settlement between EOTech and the government, the sights failed to perform in extremely hot, cold or humid temperatures experiencing something called “thermal drift.” That means the sight’s aim differed from its point of impact in temperature extremes.
According to testing done by the FBI, at 32 degrees there was a 12 inch “drift” at 100 yards. At 5 degrees, that drift increased to 20 inches. Jackson said all EOTech sights bought by DPD are being returned to the company for full reimbursement. He said he was not aware of the defective sights causing any problems in officer involved shootings in Denver.
The U.S. government accused EOTech of knowingly selling the defective sights for years in what the government said was a scheme to defraud the government. The U.S. government claims EOTech knew of the problem nearly a decade ago but didn’t admit to it until the FBI independently confirmed the thermal drift.
As DPD returns its faulty EOTech sights, the department told officers to instead use other department approved sights.
By Brian Maass