Police chief reprimands himself for leaving gun in restaurant


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Preacherman
December 22, 2005, 01:28 PM
From the Laramie Boomerang (http://www.laramieboomerang.com/news/more.asp?StoryID=104475):

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chief leaves loaded gun in restaurant

BY ANGELA BROOKS
Boomerang Staff Writer

Laramie Police Chief Bob Deutsch said yesterday he violated department policy by leaving his police-issued handgun in the restroom of a downtown restaurant last month.

Deutsch said he mistakenly left the loaded gun — a .40-caliber Glock pistol — in the restroom of Jeffrey’s Bistro Nov. 29. He didn’t realize the weapon was missing until a police officer returned it to him later that day.

“When I walked out of the restroom, I forgot it,” Deutsch said Wednesday. “There are no excuses. Personally, I think that’s a serious violation of policy.”

Deutsch said he was eating lunch at the restaurant when he decided to use the restroom. He placed the gun on a countertop in the bathroom, leaving it inside its holster.

A customer later found the gun and contacted a restaurant employee, who in turn called police. Officers traced the weapon back to Deutsch and returned it to him about 30 minutes after he left the restaurant.

“The (police officer) came to my office, closed the door and handed it to me,” Deutsch said. “I was very embarrassed and apologetic. I immediately e-mailed the entire department, saying I made a mistake.”

Deutsch estimated the gun was left unattended in the bathroom for no more than a couple minutes.

There was no safety lock on the Glock pistol, which is the department’s standard weapon.

After learning about the mistake, Deutsch said he issued himself a written reprimand, which is considered a low-level form of discipline.

He then contacted City Manager Mark Collins, who signed off on the reprimand.

Collins declined to comment on the matter Wednesday, citing employee confidentiality concerns.

Deutsch said he violated a portion of department policy that says “personnel shall not abuse or misuse Laramie Police Department equipment.” The reprimand would be recorded in his personnel file with the city, he said.

If the incident were to ever occur again, Deutsch said it would be grounds for suspension.

Deutsch said there would be no investigation into his actions.

“There was no need for (Collins) to investigate and to write up a reprimand for me,” Deutsch said. “I figured I could take care of that myself. It’s a pretty straightforward incident.”

Deutsch, who became police chief in February, said he would have recommended a similar punishment for any other police officer in his department. He said it was the first time in his 33-year career that he misplaced his gun.

“I hold myself to the same level of scrutiny and the same level of discipline as my staff,” Deutsch said. “I believe in complete transparency. If I make a mistake, I’m going to let everybody know.”

Laramie resident Tim Hale, who confronted the Laramie City Council about the incident Tuesday, said it was a public safety issue that could have become a legal nightmare for the city.

“We all know what could happen if, God forbid, a kid walked into the bathroom and thought it was a play toy,” Hale said.

Council members didn’t discuss the matter during the meeting and referred all questions to Collins.

The violation appears to be an isolated incident.

About 15 years ago, Deutsch said a Laramie police officer left his department-issued gun in visible sight inside his car. Someone broke into the vehicle and stole the gun, and the officer was reprimanded.

Deutsch said he was unaware of any case since then where an officer was reprimanded for misusing a weapon.

“Sometimes you get distracted,” Deutsch said. “There’s so much going on and you make mistakes. Yet you take responsibility for your mistakes. That’s what I expect of my staff and that’s what they expect of me.”

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pax
December 22, 2005, 01:31 PM
All right. I'd vote for him.

pax

AnthonyRSS
December 22, 2005, 02:06 PM
+1.23

Everyone makes mistakes. Its what you do afterwards that determines what kind of person you are.

yonderway
December 22, 2005, 02:06 PM
He did something incredibly dumb, but he 'fessed up, didn't try to use his power to cover it up, and he took it like a man. If it ever happens again, yeah, it's questionable that he is qualified for the job. I don't have any problem with how this was handled.

The-Fly
December 22, 2005, 02:14 PM
he handled it honestly and honorably. Cant ask for much more out of a public servant.

CAS700850
December 22, 2005, 02:15 PM
+1 to AnthonyRSS, it's what you do after you screw up that tells the measure of the man or woman.

Janitor
December 22, 2005, 02:57 PM
“I hold myself to the same level of scrutiny and the same level of discipline as my staff,” Deutsch said. “I believe in complete transparency. If I make a mistake, I’m going to let everybody know.”
Bravo.

We're all looking for different ways to say the same thing - it's very easy to make a mistake. How you deal with it can be a good measure of your integrety.

Deutsch clearly recognizes the only productive response in a situation like this.
-

TheEgg
December 22, 2005, 03:31 PM
Bravo. Good man.

wolf_from_wv
December 22, 2005, 03:37 PM
There was no safety lock on the Glock pistol, which is the department’s standard weapon.

Nor should there have been on a pistol that was being carried by a police officer on duty. :banghead:

I would also hope for his sake that it was loaded...

Technosavant
December 22, 2005, 05:09 PM
Darn stupid of him to do it.

Darn good that he "manned it up" and took his own lumps. Sounds like he is a man of integrity.

I do wonder what the penalty is in Wyoming for a citizen who did the same thing, though.

waterhouse
December 22, 2005, 05:37 PM
that was a refreshing read, thanks for posting it

Standing Wolf
December 22, 2005, 08:38 PM
After learning about the mistake, Deutsch said he issued himself a written reprimand, which is considered a low-level form of discipline.

A fair number of us have written accounts of negligent discharges, too.

Jubei
December 22, 2005, 10:36 PM
It's refreshing to see someone own up to what they've done, and punish themselves as well. Not your typical "politician".

Jubei

HighVelocity
December 22, 2005, 10:48 PM
He did right by admitting his mistake but.... If he placed the gun on the countertop before he took care of business then IF he WASHED HIS HANDS then he'd have seen the gun before he walked out. :barf:

Shotgun12
December 22, 2005, 10:51 PM
____________
Not to totally dismiss his "fessing up", but by the time he had gotten his weapon back, several people knew of what happened. I think it may have possibly been more of an act of CYA .... before word got around, and someone else had the chance of making a much larger issue of it. If he had been the 'only' person that knew of the incident - then I might consider endorsing him for sainthood.
___________

The Freeholder
December 23, 2005, 06:10 PM
Sounds like a pretty stand-up fellow to me. The people of Laramie are lucky to have him.

BUBBA74
December 23, 2005, 06:57 PM
Good thing an honest person came across it first.

Ryder
December 23, 2005, 11:51 PM
Why don't we have people saying "it's not a matter of if you will forget your handgun in the bathroom, it's a matter of when"?

:D

Lupinus
December 23, 2005, 11:53 PM
Good man.

We all make mistakes, it is nice to see a cop (esspecialy brass) that will own up to it when he makes a screw up.

isp2605
December 24, 2005, 12:01 AM
If he was thinking he would have suspended himself a few days and gone hunting.

kihnspiracy
December 24, 2005, 12:25 AM
Leadership by example. A rare thing these days. I truly admire a man who can admit his mistakes even when it is embarrassing or means dire consenquences. We need more men like this these days. Not only in Law enforcement but in everday life.:cool:

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