(TX) Austin police reviewing holsters after gun found in park


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Drizzt
July 10, 2008, 01:28 AM
Austin police reviewing holsters after gun found in park
Officers who work with dogs ordered to stop using holsters.
By Tony Plohetski

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Austin police are reviewing the type of holsters dozens of officers carry and have already suspended their use in the department's canine unit after officials said an officer's gun slipped out and was later found in a Southwest Austin park teeming with children.

Assistant Police Chief Al Eells said Wednesday that a preliminary investigation shows that officer Daniel Eveleth, who was sitting on a playground slide, lost his loaded gun when a police dog lurched toward him at Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park on Slaughter Creek early Monday.

Eells and other department officials said Eveleth was wearing a special holster in which a gun rests between an officer's knee and hip and that the dog's paw might have knocked a leather strap covering the weapon out of place.

"Certainly we believe there may be an equipment issue here," Eells said.

Eells said the investigation will include why Eveleth did not know for several hours that his gun was missing. A group of mothers and about a dozen children found the weapon on the slide about 8:45 a.m. and called police, who returned it to Eveleth at his home.

Assistant Police Chief Sam Holt, who is in charge of the department this week while Chief Art Acevedo is attending a conference, also said Wednesday that officials are reviewing why top department leaders weren't told about what happened until a day later, when the Austin American-Statesman began inquiring about the incident.

It is the second time in recent weeks that top city officials weren't immediately notified of a high-profile incident. City Manager Marc Ott has said he didn't learn about last month's fire at the Texas Governor's Mansion until the next day. About 100 Austin firefighters battled the blaze, which nearly destroyed the empty building.

Eells said Eveleth was nearing the end of his eight-hour shift about 5:15 a.m. Monday when he took the dog to the park. He said the dog had been patrolling with the officer in his car and that Eveleth wanted to give it time to exercise.

He said that after several minutes, Eveleth loaded the dog into the car, went home and immediately fell asleep.

Eells said officers who responded to a 911 call from the park thought the gun looked similar to the type of weapon officers carry and asked department officials to check its serial number against those in a database.

He said Eveleth was "quite frankly shocked" when they returned his gun.

"He's very upset about it," Eells said. "He has expressed that. This is the type of situation that strikes fear in every officer's heart."

Officials said they were trying to determine Wednesday how many officers wear the "tactical thigh holsters" and will review whether they are appropriate for their assignments. They said officers in specialized units, including the SWAT team and bomb squad, often wear special bullet-proof vests that make wearing regular holsters that go around the waist uncomfortable.

They said seven officers who are assigned dogs have been ordered to immediately stop wearing the thigh holsters.

During a news conference, Eells, Holt and Assistant City Manager Bert Lumbreras each thanked parents at the park for keeping children away from the gun. They especially expressed gratitude to Danielle Pieranunzi, who called 911.

"She handled the situation very appropriately," Lumbreras said.

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Drizzt
July 10, 2008, 01:29 AM
Use of special holster suspended after APD gun found in park

08:25 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 9, 2008

By NOELLE NEWTON
KVUE News

One day after Austin police admitted an officer left his gun in a Southwest Austin park, police officials confirmed with KVUE News that the use of special holsters for working with police dogs has been suspended.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, police said they don't know whether the officer or the gun holster was to blame, but they aren't taking any chances.

Austin Police say Officer Daniel Eveleth, an 11-year veteran, somehow lost his loaded Glock gun at the popular and heavily-used Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park early Monday morning. Eveleth was at the park early Monday training with the canine unit.

"It strikes fear in every officer's heart. Leaving a weapon unsecured like that in a place like that simply for all of us and we are human in this department is sickening and we obviously want to make sure this never happens again," said Assistant Chief Al Eells, Austin Police Department.

Fellow APD officers say Eveleth is sick with the guilt of leaving his loaded gun at this park playground.

"I can tell you, no one is more devastated than officer himself," Austin Police Association Vice-President Wuthipong Tantaksinanukj. "He's a great officer. He's highly thought of this is just an unfortunate accident."

Eveleth told Eells how he thinks it happened.

"Eveleth was nearing the end of his shift. He stopped at Slaughter Creek Park to give his K-9 rest and exercise," Eells explained.

Eveleth, sat down on a slide and his dog jumped on him. A parent found the gun on the slide three hours later.

Officers illustrated in a news conference earlier Wednesday why the dog's paw swipe could have been enough to cause the gun to slip out. K-9 officers like Eveleth use a special gun holster that wraps around their thigh. When sitting, the back of the gun could easily slip out if the strap is flipped up.

Police say a gun has never fallen out of a holster like this before. Nonetheless, the department is suspending use of the belt and holster.

"We are very concerned and will look at this very carefully," Eells said.

All thigh holsters have been pulled until further investigation. Eveleth's actions will also be investigated.

One thing officers do know is they are thankful no one got hurt.

"Thanks to the mom for calling 9-1-1," Bert Lumbreras, Assistant City Manager.

The SWAT team, the bomb squad and narcotics officers also use the same holster on occasion. Those tactical officers wear outer bullet proof vests. The thigh holster makes it easier for them to grab their gun in high intensity situations.

Eveleth's actions are being investigated. He remains on active duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

http://www.kvue.com/news/newton/stories/070908kvuegunfolo-cb.3bce83b5.html

TAB
July 10, 2008, 01:30 AM
"Certainly we believe there may be an equipment issue here,"

it might be a equipment issue, but with out a doubt they have a TRAINING issue

GarandOwner
July 10, 2008, 01:32 AM
I wonder if any discipline action was taken against the officer that dropped the gun. Thank God no one was hurt! With kids around they are really lucky none of them found it before the adults. It seems odd though that if the officer went home and went to bed that he didnt notice his holster was empty! :what:

Slaughter Creek Park

wow what a name for a park! haha :evil:

M249MachineGun
July 10, 2008, 02:21 AM
I guess Uncle Mike's has lost a contract here.



j/k. Too bad the article doesn't mention the make and model so we can have a nice discussion/flame war about it. No offense to any UM holster users here!

Phil DeGraves
July 10, 2008, 09:48 AM
Regardless if the holster is a bad design, what about the "trained observer" that doesn't even notice his gun is missing? Looks like there is enough blame to go around.

FCFC
July 10, 2008, 09:55 AM
Lose a gun...go to sleep...blame the equipment....blame the dog...try to hide the event from superiors...

The whole department seems irresponsible on this one.

At least they didn't suspend the dog. :rolleyes:

usmarine0352_2005
July 10, 2008, 10:59 AM
.



Im the only person professional enough in this room, that I know of, to carry a Glock 40.


Ooops, maybe not.


:neener:

yesit'sloaded
July 10, 2008, 11:07 AM
I had a Fobus paddle holster fail on me so I'm going to cut the guy slack until more is known. It got loose over time and my SW mod. 36 worked its way out. Thank goodness it was in the car.

moga
July 10, 2008, 11:10 AM
How could be not tell that his gun was no longer in its drop leg? The feedback from the weight of the gun is plenty enough to determine when it has been unseated from the holster.

I think this is human error and has little to do with the application of the holster or the holster itself.

El Tejon
July 10, 2008, 11:11 AM
At least they didn't suspend the dog.

Aha! Officer Chompy, up to your old tricks.

When police dogs are not using their Jedi Powers to find drugs, they are stealing pistols out of cops' holsters.:D

dewage83
July 10, 2008, 11:22 AM
It seems odd though that if the officer went home and went to bed that he didnt notice his holster was empty! Talk about not being aware of the situation. The dog knocked off the strap? The dog was jumping on this mans thigh? they need more behavioral training for these darn dogs huh? I believe theres more to the story

ZeSpectre
July 10, 2008, 11:31 AM
How could be not tell that his gun was no longer in its drop leg? The feedback from the weight of the gun is plenty enough to determine when it has been unseated from the holster.

You'd be amazed. When you are wearing the full bat-belt AKA the "Chandelier o' gear" with that thick multi-layer duty belt the difference in weight of gun or no gun is pretty small and you really don't tend to notice it amongst the radio, cuffs, baton, spray, taser, and on and on. That is precisely why my old department was hard core on training you to check (visually and by touch) your belt every time you entered or exited the cruiser.

ilbob
July 10, 2008, 11:34 AM
This revelation makes it even more suspicious. It is hard enough to believe that one would not notice the weight missing from a gun strapped on ones hip, but a gun in a thigh holster? How could you possibly not miss that?

I might buy the idea that he was roughhousing with the dog and the dog might have unintentionally unstrapped his gun and then the gun just fell out. If that is indeed possible, it would seem to make those kind of holsters unsuitable for any cop to use.

moga
July 10, 2008, 11:41 AM
What difference does the weight of the accessories on your belt have to do with two pounds of gun on your thigh? Respectfully, I fail to see the correlation.

yesit'sloaded
July 10, 2008, 11:50 AM
Wear a full frame backpack packed for a week on the AT and see if you notice your sleeping bag fall off. You probably won't. Same type of thing.

ilbob
July 10, 2008, 11:54 AM
Wear a full frame backpack packed for a week on the AT and see if you notice your sleeping bag fall off. You probably won't.
You hand does not naturally fall right where your sleeping bag is located though.

At some point after he got home he had to have taken his uniform off. I can't believe he walked around in a dirty uniform for 11 more hours.

yesit'sloaded
July 10, 2008, 11:56 AM
If your walking a dog and your gun hand is on the leash you might not notice. Why doesn't anyone make a holster with magnets inside to help with retention? Sounds like the engineering solution to me.

ilbob
July 10, 2008, 11:57 AM
If your walking a dog and your gun hand is on the leash you might not notice. Why doesn't anyone make a holster with magnets inside to help with retention? Sounds like the engineering solution to me.I would think a K9 officer would be trained to hold the leash in his non-gun hand.

I suspect a very human reaction occurred. loss of gun - first instinct is to do nothing and hope it turns up without anyone noticing.

HOME DEPOT GEORGE
July 10, 2008, 12:19 PM
I'm sorry but I rank this right up there with the people who leave their toddlers in the back seat of the car and tell the authority's they forgot the kid was there. To me it's just stupid JMHO.

dogmush
July 10, 2008, 12:40 PM
Definatly a training issue here, but they might have equipment issues as well.

I get to carry an M9 over here sometimes, and I use a Serpa thigh holster. and definatlly, between the extra ammo, and misc. stuff strapped on the wieght of the gun can be overlooked. I've had to check on mine a couple times. I also stand with my hand on the but of the weapon, but have been told that looks "frightning". If I can be told that in Iraq, I could definattly see LEO's being told not to finger their weapons.

He def. should have done a gear check at the end of the day to make sure he had everything, but also, the holster def. should have held the pistol better.

CountGlockula
July 10, 2008, 12:49 PM
Lazy minded; it happens to all of us.

I'm sure that's the last time he'll lose his gun.

ilbob
July 10, 2008, 12:54 PM
I'm sure that's the last time he'll lose his gun.Most likely. And he will forever serve as an object lesson to new officers.

TAB
July 10, 2008, 12:55 PM
Most likely. And he will forever serve as an object lesson to new officers.


how is that? He is still on active duty.( see artical above)

CountGlockula
July 10, 2008, 12:56 PM
I'm sure his buddies will use him as an example...or just rag on him. Gotta to love the brotherhood.

TAB
July 10, 2008, 12:58 PM
So all that should happen to him is being "hazed" by his department?

what if a kid got ahold of it and shot themselfs/others?

There is no excuse for leaving a gun anywhere, let alone a place where children are likly to be.

Mark K. C.
July 10, 2008, 01:01 PM
I think that an immediate U.A. is in order. That is just being too "spaced-out " not to notice.

waterhouse
July 10, 2008, 01:27 PM
how is that? He is still on active duty.

One must not be fired for their mistakes to serve as a lesson for others.

ColinthePilot
July 10, 2008, 01:54 PM
I'm sure his buddies will use him as an example...or just rag on him. Gotta to love the brotherhood.

If he was military, that would be the makings of a callsign right there...plus some disciplinary action, but definitely a callsign.

Jeff White
July 10, 2008, 02:10 PM
I can tell from the responses which members actually carry a firearm all the time and which don't...Yes, you do get used to all that weight, it becomes part of you and you won't necessarily notice if it changes. I learned many years ago as an Army Infantryman to conduct a "pat check" of my equipment before moving. I carried that habit over to police work.

Equipment does sometimes have problems. I had problems with the bail on a Safariland 6280 getting flipped open while I was riding in my squad. It turned out that if I shifted in my seat, it caught on the part of the seatbelt that was attached to the floor. Lowering the seat of the Impala fixed that.

Was the officer negligent for not automatically checking his equipment. Definitely. Does he deserve to be fired? No. He'll most likely get some kind of a reprimand and be teased by his fellow officers for years.

Jeff

jason10mm
July 10, 2008, 03:08 PM
Yeah, you can bet that there is now ONE officer who will maintain 100% weapon accountability from here on out in that unit :P

This guy just learned a valuable lesson. So long as he is not a marginal officer, seems a waste to can him. Not saying he shouldn't be punished, but termination seems a bit harsh.

taprackbang
July 10, 2008, 03:12 PM
Notice how the media inflates the story of a 'gun?' Puhhleezzz!!!!!
"Oh my, a murder weapon."

DRZinn
July 10, 2008, 06:09 PM
YMMV, I guess, but when I got used to my many pounds of gear, the sudden absence of a pistol from a thigh holster would definitely be felt. We're not talking about a magazine falling out of a chest pouch; a thigh holster is a weight on your thigh that very slightly but very noticeably restricts your movement. A sudden lightness there would be noticed immediately.

Hell, it took me a few months to get used to not having an M-16 in my right paw.

Or to having a bare head.

FCFC
July 10, 2008, 06:40 PM
So all that should happen to him is being "hazed" by his department?

what if a kid got ahold of it and shot themselfs/others?


Hey, like someone said here yesterday regarding a similar case: toddler gets ahold of a loaded legal gun in public and fires the gun--with really bad consequences.


Not good, perhaps avoidable...


Law of averages; 300m people....It is going to happen once in awhile.


He went on to say that


This [gun owner] shouldn't be hung for this - the event itself will have been enough.

Hey, brother, it happens. C'est la vie.

Que sera, sera. The event is punishment enough. ;)

Geno
July 10, 2008, 06:47 PM
It the infamous words of Austin Powers:

Specticles, pistola, wallet and watch.

Seriously...do a pat-check to assure your firearm has not fallen out (or left home). I have seen (and read of here at THR) people who went about their daily routine thinking they had their firearm. Later in the day they had a panic attack wondering where they lost their handgun. It wasn't lost...it was right in the vault the whole time. :o

bwavec
July 10, 2008, 07:24 PM
No more tacticool holsters for you or any of your friends officer........

I think it sounds like mandatory trigger lock and weapon leash time for this department.

And WTH were you doing sitting on the kiddie slide ? Sounds like someone may have actually been goofing off on the playground toys when he "lost" is sidearm.

Sounds like someone is in need of a lengthy demotion to (unarmed) meter maid duty.

Jeff White
July 10, 2008, 08:01 PM
And WTH were you doing sitting on the kiddie slide ?

Most likely sitting there while the dog took a break from riding around in the vehicle. You can't expect a K9 to sit in the kennel in the car for 8 hours straight. The dogs need to take care of their bodily functions and stretch their legs just like a human officer does.

When they stop hiring human beings to do the job and switch to infallible machines, then perhaps there will never be a mistake made or an instance of carelessness.

Jeff

Erik
July 10, 2008, 08:05 PM
I'm agree with Jeff White's take on things. I shudder to think of the ribbing.

As for why a K9 Unit was in a park and at a playground, it that a serious question? Folks, K9 Units go to parks for the same reason other people with dogs do, with the added benefit of being extremely popular with the general public, and especially kids... who hang out at playgrounds in parks. I know, I know... popular UNLESS they leave their guns behind.

As for the "solution," perhaps they (and you too Jeff) should consider investing in Safariland's ALS line, engineered precisely to prevent such things.

FCFC
July 10, 2008, 10:44 PM
If a civilian were to have left his loaded handgun on a slide at the park, what would have happened to him?

JColdIron
July 11, 2008, 02:10 PM
I can see how it fell out. Either by dog or sitting on a slide, if the retention strap came undone and he went to his left knee it places the right thigh at an angle that the firearm could fall to the ground. Animal trainers frequently use this pose to get to the dogs level for praise or dicipline.

End of shift tiredness, add the extra stimuli of the of the dog and you might not notice it missing when it happened. I do not know how he missed it when when he went to sleep unless it was on his couch with all his gear on.

The big question is... what should his callsign be?

I like Doggun- like dog gone:D how about you?

jorb
July 13, 2008, 12:50 PM
Actually, he should have checked his equipment. Its a very good habit which will ensure he has what he needs when he needs it. He WILL be joke fodder for a long time.

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