The Bethlehem, PA city council deliberated last week over whether to fire officer Jeffrey Rogers. Rogers exhibited all kinds of full-frontal fail last December when he let a .40 cal round fly in the police department bathroom. Yes, that’s bad. But Rogers then compounded the problem by lying about it and setting off a frantic armed search through the police station. Jittery cops, running around the building, guns drawn and looking for a perp who’d just fired a shot in their own cop shop. As we’re fond of asking, what could possibly go wrong?
Daryl Nerl at bethlehem.patch.com describes where Officer Rogers went wrong.
Rogers had at one point claimed that the gun incident was the result of a medical condition – incontinence resulting from a prostatectomy. In the federal filing, he claims that he is fit to return to work and is being forced by the city to accept a disability pension, Spirk told council.
According to testimony, Rogers, on duty in patrol division that day, came to headquarters in the middle of his shift to use the men’s room in the police locker area. When he got there, he took his service weapon, a Glock 23 .40 caliber handgun, out of its holster. He put the holster in a sink, then took the gun and hung it, by its trigger guard, from a hook inside the stall he was using.
When he was ready to leave the stall, he grabbed the gun, which fired when the stall hook pushed the trigger. The bullet penetrated the drop ceiling in men’s room but never made it through to the first floor of City Hall.
Det. Robert Toronzi, the department’s weapons instructor, testified Rogers failed to follow proper procedures. The weapon should have remained in its holster and the holster should have been placed in Rogers’ locker, while he used the men’s room.
It’s dumb, but I can understand someone hanging a heater from the hook. But why the hell did he put his holster in the sink?
Sure enough, the council has decided to fire Rogers. But here you go, Jeffrey. You’re never too old to learn. It may be too late career-wise, but as they’ll tell you at Faber College, knowledge is good.