Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Disarmed and dangerous: Officers across the Bay Area and state are losing firearms at an astonishing rate — and the consequences can be deadly
From Glocks, Sig Sauers and Remingtons to sniper and assault rifles, some equipped with grenade launchers.
They used to belong to law enforcement officers across California, but a new Bay Area News Group investigation found hundreds of police-issued weapons have been either stolen, lost or can’t be accounted for since 2010, often disappearing onto the streets without a trace.
A year after a bullet from a federal agent’s stolen gun killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier, this news organization surveyed more than 240 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and discovered an alarming disregard for the way many officers — from police chiefs to cadets to FBI agents — safeguard their weapons. Their guns have been stolen from behind car seats and glove boxes, swiped from gym bags, dresser drawers and under beds. They have been left on tailgates, car roofs and even atop a toilet paper dispenser in a car dealership’s bathroom. One officer forgot a high-powered assault rifle in the trunk of a taxi.
The tally includes Colts, Rugers, Smith & Wessons, a Derringer, a .44-caliber Dirty Harry hand cannon and a small snub-nosed revolver called a “Detective Special.”
In all, since 2010, at least 944 guns have disappeared from police in the Bay Area and state and federal agents across California — an average of one almost every other day — and fewer than 20 percent have been recovered.
Little attention had been paid to the issue before Steinle’s highly publicized death. But at least 86 weapons were snatched from officers’ vehicles between January 2010 and last June’s smash-and-grab burglary of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger’s gun recovered after Steinle’s shooting. Police have not determined who stole it, but an illegal immigrant is charged in her killing. The thefts are revealed in records obtained from government agencies in one of the most comprehensive examinations of missing police guns of its kind. While last year’s highly publicized killings of Steinle and Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos brought attention to the tragic consequences of stolen police guns, the scope of the problem has been far less clear — until now.
The numbers “are staggering,” said Frank Pitre, an attorney representing Steinle’s parents, Jim Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan, in a federal lawsuit over their daughter’s death. The BLM is one of three defendants.
This news organization’s investigation also uncovered that a gun stolen from a Tracy cop in 2010 was used to kill a man in Contra Costa County four years later, and a now-retired Piedmont police chief’s stolen gun in 2012 was used in a San Francisco gang shooting that year...more