In May, Roll Call reported on Capitol Police officers leaving their firearms in public places. In one instance, on January 29, a staffer for the Capitol Visitor Center found an officer’s Glock in the restroom; it was left in the toilet seat cover holder. To make the optics more damaging, it reportedly belonged to an officer on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail. Oh, but the House leadership’s detail had their trip ups as well. On March 24, an officer in charge of protecting Speaker Boehner allegedly left his loaded handgun in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite, which was found by a young child visiting Capitol Hill.
Roll Call added that a third incident occurred on April 16, where a custodian found a Capitol Police officer’s firearm in plain sight while cleaning the headquarters that day.
Now, Capitol Police seems to have suspended one sergeant for leaking such information, which by the way, isn’t required to be disclosed:
Capitol Police have suspended a sergeant in the Capitol division, allegedly in retribution for a leak related to Roll Call’s May 1 report of three incidents in which officers left loaded guns in problematic places, such as the bathroom.
The sergeant was one of two senior officials ordered on June 22 to speak with internal affairs investigators in the Office of Professional Responsibility, according to sources within the department. Those sources did not want to speak on the record about disciplinary matters for fear of retribution. Only one returned to work, the sources said, while the sergeant has not been back on duty since.
After the lost guns made waves around Capitol Hill, law enforcement officials announced the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility and its independent inspector general would review the incidents and report all findings and recommendations to the Capitol
Police Board. Police subsequently launched a hunt for the source behind the photo of one unattended Glock service weapon left in a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom.
Seven weeks later, at least one suspected whistleblower appears to have been removed from duty.
But it is unclear if disciplinary decisions have been made for the officers who left their guns in the bathrooms on Jan. 29, while protecting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., or on March 24, while protecting Speaker John A. Boehner.
On May 20, Chief Kim C. Dine told House Administration Committee lawmakers the six-day suspension for the agent protecting McConnell was “still in the process, but close to being fully adjudicated.”
It isn’t just Capitol Police who are reportedly leaving their guns in public places. Last year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on documents they obtained on agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, who were leaving their government-issued firearms in bathrooms, movie theaters, on top of cars, and at a hospital. One document reported an incident in December of 2009, where two young boys found an ATF’s agent Smith & Wesson .357 handgun in a storm sewer grate in Bettendorf, Iowa.
So, this isn’t new, but it’s somewhat disturbing and highly irresponsible regarding handling firearms.