Most people hold the mistaken belief that police are the ultimate gun guys. It’s an archetype born in childhood, by pre-pubescent boys playing cops and robbers. The men and women who eventually don the uniform soon learn the discrepancy between heroic fantasy and prosaic reality. There’s a reason cops call their work “the job.” Like most jobs, 90 percent of policing is mind-numbing routine. It’s easy for a cop to get blasé about the whole business. Easy to get sloppy and careless about ever-present firearms. This website has chronicled numerous cases where cops’ kids shoot themselves with Daddy’s gun. Thankfully, this isn’t one of them . . .
Sebeka Police Chief Eric Swenson, who lives in Otter Tail County near Sebeka [Minnesota], called law enforcement on Friday to report that several items of police equipment had been stolen from his home, according to the Otter Tail Sheriff’s Department.
As you read the rest of this post, keep in mind that local media like fergusfallsjournal.com are obliged to maintain good relations with the local constabulary. For example, one wonders if this story would have seen the light of day if Chief Swenson didn’t live in someone else’s patch. In any case, it’s pretty easy to see why Swenson had to call 911. Eventually.
Among the items were stun grenades, gas grenades, 25 gas shotgun rounds, loaded magazines for both a Glock 9 millimeter handgun and a AR-15 rifle, a police radio and a pair of night vision goggles. Swenson believed the items were taken sometime within the last two weeks.
Are we sure that this list isn’t missing something important like, say, an AR-15 or a Glock? Although it’s easy to understand why Swenson had his gear at home—local cops often have to respond to emergency calls straight from home—why in the world wasn’t it kept under lock and key?
Then again, maybe it was. The identity of the eventual culprit gives us a clue to the quality of Chief Swensen’s security arrangements.
On Monday, Swenson called the sheriff’s office back to report that he had found the items. Unbeknownst to him, one of his children had taken the items and moved them to a homemade fort in the backyard. All of the items were found there.
So either the items weren’t safely secured or we have another case where a child defeated his parent’s firearms storage “solution.” Does it even matter? The bottom line is the same: Chief Swensen failed to maintain proper vigilance re: highly dangerous firearms gear and/or educate his child on the dangers of the equipment stored in their home.
Society depends on police. We need them on that wall. But we also need them to respect the tools we give them, and not just for our own sake. Truth be told, the duty to serve and protect begins at home.