Washington State: "Clark Co. Sheriffs' change gun policy in light of tragedy"


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cuchulainn
March 12, 2003, 09:14 AM
from the KATU site

http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=55409

Clark Co. Sheriffs' change gun policy in light of tragedy

VANCOUVER - The death of a sergeants' daughter has caused the Clark County Sheriff's Department to change its gun policy.
The new policy comes one day before Matthew Randall will be sentenced for shooting his sister, Emilee, with their father's service pistol in January.

The policy calls for all department issued weapons to be locked up and the public will have 60 days to critique the policy.

More extensive home firearm safety training will also be required.

Sergeant Craig Randall will not be punished, because there's no law that could be applied to his choice of firearm storage.

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dinosaur
March 12, 2003, 03:40 PM
If you read the whole article, they spent a lot of time, probably some taxpayer money too, to figure out that common sense was lacking. The Sheriff could have gone on Dr. Phil and gotten the same advice for nothing. :rolleyes:

AFA no disciplinary action against the Sgt, how about his walking papers? He seemed to have a very cavalier attitude about his weapon and his children considering his son was an ongoing problem.

seeker_two
March 12, 2003, 05:18 PM
The policy calls for all department issued weapons to be locked up...

That should make Sarah Brady & other criminals happy...:scrutiny:

Preacherman
March 12, 2003, 05:55 PM
Guys, it's not quite as simple as it looks. That deputy's kids had been in trouble with the law on three previous occasions, and his son was under court order not to possess or use a firearm. Another article on the same subject, via the API List (sorry, no URL given):

Wednesday, March 12, 2003
By JOHN BRANTON, Columbian staff writer

Two months after a boy used his father's service handgun in the fatal shooting of his 10-year-old sister, Clark County sheriff's investigators have recommended that officers be required to keep their duty weapons safe at home.

The proposed policy, made public Tuesday, said the sheriff's office should provide gun safes, trigger locks and similar devices to employees who carry weapons on the job.

"All department-issued firearms, including pistols, rifles, shotguns and less-lethal guns, that are not under the employee's immediate control, shall be safely stored so as to prevent unauthorized persons from handling the firearm," stated a proposed policy written by internal affairs Sgts. Mike Cooke and Todd Barsness.

Emilee Randall, a fourth-grader and the daughter of sheriff's Sgt. Craig Randall, was shot in the head and neck Jan. 13 by her brother, Matthew. She died at the scene. Matthew, who recently turned 14, found his father's loaded semiautomatic duty pistol lying on a dresser in his parents' bedroom. Earlier in the evening he had retrieved a shotgun his father kept under his bed.

Since then, Matthew has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and illegal possession of a firearm. He will be sentenced today and faces up to two years in a state juvenile institution.

Craig Randall has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. Officials and Randall on Friday will discuss when he will return to duty. Randall earns about $69,000 per year, officials said.

Pressure from neighbors

Days after the shooting, 15 neighbors signed a letter calling Emilee's death "tragic and preventable." The letter called for a policy requiring safe home gun storage and said some neighbors had called the sheriff's office before the shooting and warned that Randall's sons had access to guns.

Sheriff Garry Lucas said his department had no such policy and asked officers to begin a detailed review of the case.

On Tuesday, neighbor Kathy George said the proposed policy was good news to her. "It sounds wonderful," she said. "I think that's good for anybody who has guns in their house."

Policy co-writer Cooke said the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed policy. After that, Lucas will make a final decision.

Also in the report released Tuesday, Cooke and Barsness revealed that, seven years before the shooting, Sgt. Randall had been "counseled" by a superior about his sons' easy access to his guns.

In January 1996, Cooke said, some children in Randall's neighborhood argued at a school bus stop and one boy showed up at the Randalls' front door.

One of Randall's sons then displayed a rifle, Cooke said. Cooke refused to say which of Randall's four sons was involved but said it wasn't Matthew.

Cooke said that incident prompted a parent to file a complaint with the sheriff's internal affairs unit. Soon afterward, Cooke said, a "ranking officer" counseled Sgt. Randall.

Cooke refused to identify the ranking officer or to divulge what was said.

"It was specifically as a result of the complaint about the firearm," Cooke said.

Investigators found four instances of neighbors complaining to the sheriff's office about the Randall boys and their guns, Cooke said. Three complaints resulted in criminal prosecutions of Brandon, Brian and Matthew Randall, and the fourth complaint resulted in Sgt. Randall's counseling.

"There were no firearm-related cases that were reported to us that we failed to take action on," Cooke said.

In the absence of any policy regarding safe home gun storage, the report writers found that there was no basis for disciplining Sgt. Randall for leaving the gun on his dresser. The prosecutor's office also declined to file criminal charges against Sgt. Randall.

Other policy recommendations include:

* Urging national and regional law enforcement accreditation agencies to create policies requiring safe home gun storage by police officers.

* Having sheriff's employees stay in contact with Randall's neighbors for the next two years.

* Developing a uniform, consistent program for training deputies about safe home gun storage. Such training now varies from instructor to instructor.

* Having the sheriff's office educate the public and work with local groups to promote gun safety.

Recommendations to Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas:

* Create policy requiring safe gun storage in officers' homes.

* Recommend similar policy to nationwide police accreditation group.

* Formalize gun storage training.

Blackhawk
March 12, 2003, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the expansion on the story, Preacherman.

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