Here’s the deal. In 2006, Montgomery County Maryland Detective Aaron Bailey set up a training company called Applied Sciences for Public Safety. He offered two-hour classes in firearms instruction. The schmooze cost attendees $1,600; a figure not-so-coincidentally just below the $1,630 available to county employees for tuition reimbursement. Note: taxpayers paid the entire fee. The attendee? Nothing. In three years, 330 county employees availed themselves of Bailey’s boondoggle, including 275 police officers. For one simple reason: Bailey offered them a wide range of new guns at ridiculously low prices. For example, attendees could pick-up a $600 Glock for $99. Sniper rifle? Tactical flashlights? Come on down!
The County paid Applied Sciences $400,000. In effect taxpayers got shafted twice. First, from the course. Second, by subsidizing gun purchases. The DA went nuts, vowing to recoup the funds from Bailey and/or the government-employed gun buyers. Only surprise! It hasn’t turned out that way, as The Washington Examiner reports:
Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann ruled that officials from a police training company who showered police officers with heavily marked-down guns . . . didn’t defraud the county.
Defendants Det. Aaron Bailey and his company, Applied Sciences for Public Safety, concede they offered discounted handguns and sniper rifles to public safety officials in an effort to swell enrollment.
But it wasn’t illegal, McGann said, because the county never dictated that the money couldn’t be spent on weapons.
“The county made a decision on its own to reimburse folks for attending the classes,” McGann said. “The county wasn’t forced to make this payment. I can only conclude there was an amount of embarrassment by the county that caused them to bring this action.” . . .
Defense attorney Charles Rand said the company wasn’t required to notify the county of the gun discounts and said it was like “buying lunch” to attract customers.
“Can we use our profits to create a massive advertising campaign to get more business?” he asked the judge. “What’s wrong with that?”
The county eventually obtained fliers for the public safety classes, which showcased the cheap guns.
“They drew you a picture,” McGann said, ripping into the county’s claims of deception by Bailey. “They almost whacked you over the head with it.”
County officials now will have to consider other legal options if they want to reclaim the hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money. They have declined to go after the individual officers who took the courses, saying instead they will seek to reduce paid leave for officers involved in the scandal.