So there’s a domestic violence call-out in Dayton, Kentucky. “Police officers from Dayton and Bellevue responded,” fox19.com reports. “Authorities say a man involved exited a home in the area and fired a round into the air. They say he was taken into custody and transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.” So that’s that. Now about that AR . . .
A local resident at the scene saw a patrol rifle casually leaning against a car, minding its own business, bothering no one. Matt Haas being a Facebooker, the high school guidance counselor figured, rightly, it would make an interesting post.
The post went viral — or at least as viral as you’d expect in a quiet town of 5,313 souls. (That’s Matt’s most recent post above.) The town was so abuzz about police irresponsibility Dayton and Bellevue PD felt obliged to release a statement.
Short version: a Bellevue cop didn’t leave his rifle leaning against a car. Long version:
While on scene, a Bellevue Officer was able to make contact with the father, who was in cell phone communication with his son. The son was in possession of multiple firearms inside the residence and refused to come out.
The Bellevue officer established rapport with the son via cell phone and was able to talk the son out of the residence. At this time, the Bellevue officer had his department issued rifle and was behind cover.
The son agreed to meet with the Bellevue officer, outside of the residence, if he would get rid of his patrol rifle. To establish a rapport, and end this situation peacefully, the Bellevue Officer handed his patrol rifle to a Dayton Police officer for safekeeping. Ultimately, the son surrendered to police and was taken into custody.
Unfortunately, the Bellevue officer was unaware that his patrol rifle was left unattended.
After the incident concluded, a concerned citizen then notified police on the scene about the rifle left leaning against a vehicle. An internal investigation conducted by the Bellevue Police Department concluded a Bellevue Police officer did not leave the rifle unattended.
The body camera video from the Bellevue officer has been released to local news agencies in an effort to show transparency of the facts. The footage clearly shows that no Bellevue officer left a patrol rifle unattended.
So who did leave the “assault rifle” unattended at the scene?
After the Bellevue/Dayton PD statement failed to stop town tongues wagging, the Bellevue PD felt compelled to throw the Dayton PD under the proverbial bus. Like this:
Unfortunately, during the course of the incident, another agency’s patrol rifle was accidentally set down when the officers were going “hands on” with the suspect. Thank you to the neighbors for making this observance and bringing it to the officer’s attention. It is unfortunate that this accident happened, but we as police officers are human and do make mistakes.
That last statement should have been the first. Talking to rcnky.com, Bellevue PD Chief Colonel Lee Estepp called the incident “a rookie mistake” and identified the rookie who abandoned the AR curbside:
“Basically, Officer Lockman is a young officer, he’s new to Dayton and I think it was just a mistake,” Estepp said. The chief noted that the suspect’s hands were visible and that Chapman was comfortable relinquishing his firearm, handing it off to [Dayton Police Officer Brett] Lockman. “Normally, in a perfect world, you would walk back to your cruiser and put it in your car (but) he’s not going to leave the suspect on the porch and walk back to his car.”
Yeah I blame an imperfect world. Anyway, small town humor . . .