http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpa...93AA35754C0A96E958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 some things never change. the usual suspects saying the usual things. interesting snippets of Rudy Giuliani too. NEW YORK POLICE WILL START USING DEADLIER BULLETS By MICHAEL COOPER Published: July 9, 1998 The New York City Police Department is planning to equip its entire force of almost 40,000 members with hollow-point bullets, which cause much greater injury to people they strike but are considered less likely to cut down bystanders. Police Commissioner Howard Safir said yesterday that within the next 60 days the hollow-point bullets would begin replacing the old full-metal-jacket bullets that officers now use. Unlike the old bullets, the hollow points flatten upon impact and then expand, helping stop the bullet from passing through its target but causing a wider wound -- and inflicting more severe internal damage, forensic experts say. The Commissioner first announced his intention to have the department switch to hollow-point bullets -- which are already used by Federal law enforcement agencies and by dozens of other major police departments across the country -- in March 1997 after the Police Department had budgeted $500,000 on nine million rounds of the ammunition. But Mr. Safir's announcement came as Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani was running for re-election, and after critics expressed concerns that the new bullets could prove more lethal, the Mayor halted the plan, saying that the issue needed further study. o'rly, further study? Yesterday, after the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the independent agency charged with monitoring the police, presented its own report recommending the switch to hollow-point bullets, Mr. Safir said that he had already made the decision to use them and that he expected the first shipments to arrive within 60 days. ''We are, in fact, going to switch to hollow-point ammunition as soon as we receive it,'' he said. ''They are much safer than fully jacketed bullets, which will go through a person or tumble through a person's organs and then continue on and hit innocent victims.'' The Commissioner added that the Police Department had conducted its own tests and decided that the hollow-point bullets would be an improvement. ''It is the standard around the world in law enforcement to use hollow points,'' (well ya don't say. remember this is 1998) he said. Other police officials have pushed for the bullets because they are more effective in stopping dangerous criminals, and they say that aspect further protects bystanders because officers have to fire fewer shots to incapacitate their targets. The public can also legally buy these bullets. oh noes!!!! save us from the ted nugents!!!! But some people worried that the Police Department was making the decision without sufficient public discussion or hard data. Norman Siegel, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union and a frequent critic of the police, said that while hollow-point bullets would be less likely to ricochet or pass through objects and strike bystanders, they would cause significantly more damage to any innocent bystanders who were hit directly. And he pointed out that since as many as a fifth of police officers who are shot are hit by police gunfire, the officers themselves could sustain graver injuries. ''This needs more discussion,'' he said. (I put that in pink to show the of it all) Forensic experts said that the use of hollow points entailed a trade-off. ''It increases the wound's capacity to the victim, but it reduces a risk that the police are always concerned about: the risk of the bullet perforating the intended target and injuring a bystander,'' said Dr. Stephen Hargarten, the director of the Firearm Injury Center in Milwaukee, Wis. ''On the one hand, it makes shootings safer in public settings. On the other hand, the impact on the victim is greater.'' In New York City, police officers in the Transit Bureau and the Housing Bureau have used hollow-point bullets since 1990, before they merged with the Police Department. Officials have debated whether to give the rest of the force hollow-point ammunition since at least 1994, when a proposal to make the switch was put off because there was not enough data. The decision to arm officers with hollow-point bullets comes five years after the Police Department, after much anguished debate, agreed to allow its officers to upgrade their weapons by trading in their old .38-caliber service revolvers for 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistols. Critics feared that the added capacity of the 9-millimeter pistols -- which hold 16 bullets, compared with the old six-shooters -- and the ease with which they allow officers to fire multiple rounds would lead to more accidental shootings. And while there were troubling incidents early on -- including a shootout outside a Chinese restaurant in Queens in 1995 in which police officers fired 247 rounds and killed a bystander -- the number of shooting incidents has decreased each year since 1995. To bolster its argument in favor of the hollow bullets, the Police Department pointed to recent statistics involving gunshots that hit innocent bystanders. According to statistics released by the department, 15 innocent bystanders were struck by police officers using full-metal-jacket bullets during 1995 and 1996, the police said. Eight were hit directly, five were hit by bullets that had passed through other people and two were hit by bullets that had passed through objects. In that same period, officers in the Transit Bureau, who already used the hollow points, struck six bystanders. Four of them were hit directly, one was hit by a bullet that ricocheted and another was hit by a bullet that passed through an object. In that same period, 44 police officers were struck by police gunfire using the old ammunition: 21 were hit directly, 2 were struck by bullets that ricocheted and 17 were struck by bullets that passed though other people. Of the four officers struck by hollow-point bullets, three were hit directly and one was hit by a bullet that passed through another person. Mayor Giuliani, who praised the review board for favoring the hollow-point bullets, appeared to be unaware at his news briefing yesterday morning that the decision to use the bullets had already been made. ''It's really ultimately up to the Police Department,'' he said in his morning briefing. ''It should be able to save lives,'' he said of the switch. ''It should be able to reduce the amount of innocent bystanders who are shot.'' Mr. Siegel, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said that he was suspicious of the timing of the Civilian Complaint Review Board's report, which made its recommendations yesterday based on interviews with police officials, a field trip to the police firing range (LOL. "daddy I shot a gun today, that means I can tell cops what gear to use!!! yay!!!!") , several ballistics reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and material provided by ammunition companies. Members of the review board said comprehensive statistical analysis from other cities on the use of hollow-point bullets were unavailable. ''It is not clear and convincing that hollow points are necessary, prudent and safe for the people of the city of New York,'' Mr. Siegel greddy said. ''There was really no public input and no real process here. They're going to have more resistance and cynicism because the process was incomplete and not open.''