In the course of this series, we’ve encountered a number of cops who’ve “lost” their gun in a public bathroom. They put their gun down on or near the sink, entered a stall, answered nature’s call and returned to find their weapon gone. Why would they do that? Did they assume that no one would enter the bathroom? That if someone did, they’d leave the gun alone? Or did they simply not think at all? I’m guessing door number three. Like they say, familiarity builds contempt. The less you value something, the less responsible you become. Another illustration maestro!

The three women lounging in a pool and sipping drinks were surprised to see a uniformed police officer suddenly appear on the patio. They later told investigators they were stunned as the Cathedral City officer unbuckled his gun belt, unbuttoned his shirt, dropped his pants and underwear and jumped into the pool.

“We just couldn’t believe he was actually getting into the pool,” one of the women told The Desert Sun on Wednesday.

Well I can. The cop was responding to a noise complaint at 3:45 a.m. He arrives to find three less-than-completely sober women in a swimming pool on a hot night. According to the paper, the female suspects engaged the officer in conversation and joked that he should join them. So . . . he did.

I can understand it, but I sure as hell don’t condone it. For one thing, the cop was on the clock. As a taxpayer, I don’t like the idea of a public employee pursuing a foursome on my dime. What he does off-duty is his own damn business. Otherwise, I’m thinking that playing underwater footsie with desperate housewives is not on the Cathedral Police Department’s official logo.

Secondly, he joined the women without the husband’s permission. I’ll need to check with TTAG’s resident legal eagle, but I’d bet that cuckolding a homeowner doesn’t constitute “protect and serve.” One can infer that the cop abused his authority to enter the pool without the home owner’s consent. I’m not a fan of cops abusing their authority.

And third, the gun. The cop left his gun unattended. That’s completely unacceptable on every level. To wit:

The husband said he was so troubled by the officer’s presence that he considered picking up the gun and ordering the officer to leave. But he decided against it because he didn’t want to escalate the situation with four children sleeping inside the house.

Instead, he said he ran to the front of the house, scrawled the license plate number of the patrol car onto his forearm and called 911. “I thought maybe someone would show up and see him inside the pool,” the man said.

While the officer’s frolicking was bad, leaving his gun in a pile of clothes poolside was a serious abrogation of his responsibilities as a policeman and a gun owner. As it would be for any of us who did the same. Of course, we don’t have a police department to cover up our mistakes by threatening witnesses and confiscating evidence.

The Desert Sun interviewed the couple who own the home and one of the women who was in the pool. They asked not to be identified because they say they are embarrassed and because they had been told by detectives to keep a low profile while the investigation is ongoing . . .

The husband said he took photos of the officer on his camera phone while he was in the pool.

He said the phone, as well as three towels that had been out by the pool, were taken by an investigator with the district attorney’s office.

Shame on the officer and the Cathedral City police department for their callous disregard for public safety.

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