Marietta police took part in Glock’s month-long pledge to promote awareness about gun safety and ownership in June.
“The Marietta Police Department stepped up in a very big way,” said Chad Mathis, a vice president of Glock.
Glock awarded first place to Marietta’s police force over other police departments because it reached the largest number of people to tell them about gun safety in June.
The event was given a lift by the presence of actor R. Lee Ermey, who rocketed to fame in the ’80s as the relentless Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the Vietnam war drama “Full Metal Jacket.”
Ermey, who as the-less-than-loveable Sgt. Hartman frequently greeted his newly-enlisted Marines with endearing terms like “you Maggots!” toned it down considerably Wednesday.
“Thank you for helping us out,” said Ermey, a Glock spokesman who is popularly known as “The Gunny.” “Obviously you (Marietta police) were the most energetic and enthusiastic about (the campaign).”
Ermey also is known for his role in Toy Story.
Police held safety seminars where a total of 1,500 people learned the basic rules of gun safety, said Lt. Jake King.
“Then those people will go out and tell their family and friends about what they learned,” King said.
On social media sites Twitter and Facebook, the Marietta Police Department shared tips for gun safety that reached an audience of 3,000, said Abby Lukas, the cyber specialist for Marietta police. The information was also shared by police on Nixle, an alert service that sends out messages by email, to an audience of 5,000, Lukas said.
It was because of these combined efforts that Marietta placed first in the country in the competition against other police departments, said Kie Wagner, public relations manager for Glock.
“Glock always says, ‘We don’t just sell guns, we sell responsibility,’” Wagner said. “And, the Marietta Police Department won because they really spread that word about gun safety.”
Ermey said the campaign was important because it reinforced safety rules every gun owner should be aware of.
“The four gun safety rules are a given. They’re common sense, but we kind of need to drive it home,” Ermey said.
Ermey, who has been Glock’s spokesman for 11 years, said he considers himself an expert on guns, but he said even experience can’t eliminate the chance of having an accident with a gun. Ermey said he accidentally fired a shot into his desk when he took the gun lock off of one of his guns, but no one was hurt because he followed the safety rule of always pointing a gun away from people.
“Even I had an accidental firing happen,” Ermey said. “The reason it happens is you get too comfortable around guns.”
Wagner said the nationwide campaign reached more than 1 million people in the month of June. The frontrunners with Marietta in the campaign were Castle Rock police in Colorado and Cottage Grove police in Minnesota, Wagner said.
Glock’s main 4 gun safety rules:
1. Handle all firearms as if they were loaded.
2. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
3. Keep your finger out of the gun’s trigger guard and off the trigger until you have aligned the gun’s sights on a safe target and you have made the decision to fire.
4. Always be certain that your target and the surrounding area are safe before firing.