Oops, I did it again. I played with a shotgun. And shot the squad car dead. To be fair, I think we can assume that this is Austin Police Officer Dustin Turner’s first negligent discharge. But it’s the third reported negligent discharge with a shotgun for the Austin Police Department in one month. You may recall that two – count ’em two – APD officers received a one-day suspension for firing their shotguns inside their patrol cars, earning themselves a place on TTAG’s illustrious IGOTD roster. Now comes word from kxan.com that officer Dustin did the same thing before his colleagues. So, in that sense, his was the first scatterbrained scattergun discharge. And guess what? “Over the last two years, city records showed similar incidents have happened eight times at APD, including the three in November.” And here’s a sentence I bet you can’t finish. “While it might look like an accident . . .
trainers say the officers followed procedure.
“Part of the procedure is to point the shotgun in a safe direction,” Peed said. “We have them aim it in the passenger seat of the patrol car so if there is an actually discharge it goes in the seat.”
[Click here for the news report containing more police prevarication, including the killer quote “A shotgun can be a complicated weapon to operate.\
Even so, the department recently added shotgun training to officers’ monthly skills refreshers, so officers stay informed.
Informed perhaps, but safe? I don’t think so. More than that, there’s something really wrong with the Austin Police Department’s hiring, training and disciplinary process. These negligent discharges are a symptom of poor procedures, not accidents. It’s only a matter of time before an innocent civilian pays the ultimate price for bureaucratic bravado.