“’The Department takes very seriously all breaches of Department rules and has established policies that address such matters,’ said Lt. Kimberly Schneider.” The “such matters” Lt. Schneider’s talking about is a rash of shockingly casual firearms handling practices by the Captiol Police as detailed in a rollcall.com article. That GLOCK stuffed in the toilet seat cover dispenser above was left by a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail in a Capitol Visitor Center stall back in January. An 8-year-old found another pistol. . .
in the bathroom of House Speaker John Boehner’s office suite. That one was a left behind by a “dignitary protection officer.” And a third unattended GLOCK was found by a janitor when he was tidying up Capitol Police HQ last month.
How often do officers leave their guns unattended around the Capitol complex? The answer is unknown because Capitol Police are not required to disclose such incidents. The Jan. 29 incident went out over the radio system, but the other two have been kept quiet, based on conversations with nine Capitol Police employees from various divisions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal issues. None seemed surprised, and two offered other examples of officers who were investigated for leaving their guns unsecured or unattended.
Such lax gun-handling practices must result in some pretty stiff penalties, no? As Lt. Schneider’s statement makes clear, we’ll never know.
“Each disciplinary matter is thoroughly investigated and reviewed, employees are held accountable for their conduct, and they are provided due process in adjudicating these matters. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the violation, an employee’s record, and other required considerations, an appropriate penalty is applied, up to and including termination of employment. As a matter of policy, the Department does not routinely discuss internal personnel matters, in order to maintain the integrity of the Department.”
Maybe part of the reason the gyrocopter wacko who landed outside the capitol wasn’t shot down is that no one who was in charge of security could locate their weapon. As we like to say around here, you’re your own first responder. That’s advice anyone who works on Capitol Hill will want to take to heart.