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.

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24 Responses to Bethlehem Cop Blames Negligent Discharge on Incontinence

  1. You know, I am reminded of a story shared with me by a Hillsborough Co. Sherrif’s Office Deputy. Shortly after he had completed his year long Road Training and after he had been assigned his own patrol car he stopped for lunch while on duty. After joining fellow deputies and placing his order our hero excused himself to use the facilities. He hung his duty rig on the hook of the stall and procceded to contemplate his existence.

    After a few minutes of deep contemplation his radio began to squawk demanding his attention and insisting that he respond to a call for assistence. Our hero cleaned himself and rushed from the diner and jumped into his Crown Vic preparing to save the world when he looked into the mirror and noticed the waitres was holding his rig, sans his radio.

  2. It’s idiots like these that give the Glock a bad rap.

    Actually, it’s idiots like these that give idiots a bad rap as well.

    • Yes, idiots like this give Glock a deservedly bad name. A weapon that only has a safety on the device that makes it go bang is a bad design. Even the most careful people can do careless things. The addition of a single feature like Springfield’s grip safety can prevent a lot of these mishangling NDs from happening.

      Like most TTAGer I get a certain amount of schadenfreude when a cop screws up but aren’t we being just like Magoo (by the way where has he been) or MikeB. The number of cops with NDs relative to the number LEOs in the country is well below the noise. Even at one ND per day you are talking about the 1% of 1%. While any failure is an opportunity for a teaching moment let’s not get carry away on how “bad” LEOs are with firearms safety.

      • But all NDs are preventable. Just obey the four rules.

        I will never understand why people hang guns on restroom stall door hooks. Keep your fingers (and everything else) out of the trigger well until you’re ready to fire!

        • You only have to obey two of the four rules to prevent an ND. All guns are loaded and keep finger or other objects away from the trigger until you need to pull it.

          In a perfect world there would be no accidents of any kind but we don’t live in a perfect world and there are no perfect people. If the world were perfect there would be no need for safeties on guns or seatbelts/airbags in cars.

      • +1
        I grow tired of the MMQB’ing, anti LEO slant and perfectionism that oozes, on occasion, from TTAG. There seems to be a pervasive arrogance here. Yet I keep coming back, like an addict to heroin. TTAG is my insane mistress, tempting me each night. My Mr. Brownstone….

  3. Now I just let my rig rest on the floor. Oh damn well when my pants come down. If my heat is out of the holster it’s in my hand. I’ve worked places where I thought folks would rush me in a stall at an opportune moment but other than that it’s in the holster. Or on conceal carry days I hang my jacket and put my strap in a pocket in it while hanging it from the hook.

    I mean maybe if I thought I was going to have a meltdown I’d hang my weapon on the hook but…then looking at it there I would think hard about how not to make an ass out of myself while putting it back on my person. Sorry that’s not standard procedure for everyone.

  4. And they tell us civilians can’t be trusted with guns. I leave mine secured until it’s time to shoot something.

  5. IMO a design that relies on a trigger safety alone is not good for carry. A trigger safety would be a nice compliment to a thumb safety and a grip safety, not a replacement. The purpose of a safety is to prevent a boom when you screw up. Clearly the safety on this piece failed that basic purpose.

    Of course, this officer is an idiot. Betcha a nickle he is not into IDPA or USPSA and only shoots at the annual qualification.

  6. He’ll just be hired somewhere else. LEOs OUGHT to have their commissions yanked when they make deadly mistakes, then lie, et, et. But some small agency will be glad to have him.

  7. Wait, none of you .45 ninjas are going to point out that the big .40 couldn’t penetrate through one floor? Betcha if it was a .45, the bullet would have popped out of the roof of the cop shop and killed a hawk 4000 feet up with a through-and-through. Then, when the bullet came back down, it would have penetrated the roof again and blown up the cop shop bathroom with a Michael Bay explosion. Those extra 20gr moving 100 fps slower are all the difference.

  8. I read an article by Massad Ayoob many years back that said something like this:

    “You have to be awfully damned stupid to accidently discharge a double action
    revolver, but only a little stupid to do the same with a semi-automatic pistol.”
    Granted I have never fired a Glock before, preferring a revolver. Nonetheless,
    this cop’s ignorance and incompetence is inexcusable!

  9. When the Great Migration from service revolvers to autoloaders began a couple of bad things started happening. The first bad thing was suspects shot at thirty and forty times+ with the vast majority of those shots winging their way past the suspect and flitting merrily through the neighborhoods, destroying citizen’s property and sometimes, hitting those citizens. The second bad thing is the skyrocketing incidence of negligent discharges.

    It is a sorry fact of life that the political masters of law enforcement agencies will not pay enough to train LEOs , only those who also shoot for enjoyment with their own money become real professionals with the handgun. Most officers will not.

    When I hired on my Department used trustees in the jail to cast bullets and load practice ammo in old single stage presses. Any Deputy got all he wanted for free. We got a few bucks extra per month for each classification above Marksman we made. Our Department also had both NRA Bullseye and PPC teams, we often beat much bigger agencies. Then, a very few years later the county fathers decided that we were risking lawsuits for our use of trustees handling hot metal and ammo components. Then the agency quit the pistol teams. Not long after that the Dept. quit the extra money for shooting qualifications. Naturally the unlimited free practice ammo dried up.

    This same thing happened all over the country. My agency, being in the southwest, was one of the later outfits losing this. Our recruits became kids who’d never shot. At this same time county offices became lush for the powerful.

    With this background, all over the country, there started the great outcry: “Cops are outgunned!!!!” The Great Migration to autoloaders began. Departments all over the country started trying to disprove the old adage that you cannot miss fast enough, or often efough, to win a gunfight.

    I have no answer for this. Politicians will not give up their walnut desks and thick carpets to pay for officer training. Meanwhile these new, half trained kids may not know what a front sight is for. They damn well lnow what the trigger is for, though.

  10. I’ve heard so many stories of cops shooting toilets it must be a hazard of the job.

    Glocks are perfectly safe if you keep them in the holster and keep your finger off the trigger when removing from the holster.I carry a Glock 36 in an Comp-Tac IWB holster which holds it securely. I can drop my pants to sit on the throne without ever touching the gun or the holster, it rests upright just above my ankle where it is readily accessible, and goes right back on duty by simply pulling my pants up. The two full mags on the left side balance the pants while they’re down so the gun doesn’t flop over and point at my leg.

    My system is only one of many others that would probably work just as well, but everyone must have a system that works for them and keeps the gun in the holster when answering nature’s call. My system would be ideal for cops because it keeps the gun readily accessible if the bad guys rush you thinking you’re in a vulnerable position. Remember to practice shooting from a seated position without a bench when you go to the range.

    Jeffrey’s problem is that he failed to spend enough time thinking about how he would handle his weapon when going to the John. If he had made a plan and practiced it he’d still be a cop.

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