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PD 'Embarrassed' by Unattended Rifle

PD 'Embarrassed' by Unattended Rifle

Associated Press

The Seattle Times via Yellowbrix

June 29, 2011

SEATTLE – Everybody’s done it.

You place an item on top of a car only to remember later — after you or someone else has driven off.

But when the forgetful individual is a Seattle police officer and the item is a semi-automatic rifle, it’s more than a little embarrassing. It’s also the focus of an internal investigation.

Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb conceded Tuesday it was “very embarrassing” that a semi-automatic rifle was left on the trunk lid of a police cruiser in downtown Seattle on Monday.

“The fact of the matter is that a police rifle was left on a car in public, and that is unacceptable,” Whitcomb said. “It’s very embarrassing, and it shouldn’t have happened.”

According to two sources with knowledge of the incident, it began when one officer was inside the secure parking garage at the West Precinct and unloaded his equipment from a police cruiser. The officer placed the rifle on the trunk of a nearby patrol car.

That officer, identified by sources as acting Sgt. Bill Collins, forgot about the rifle and walked off.

Another officer, identified as Lt. Deanna Nollette, then went into the garage and drove away in the patrol vehicle without realizing the rifle was on the trunk lid, the sources said.

The patrol car was parked a few blocks away from the West Precinct in front of the Roosevelt Hotel on Seventh Avenue around 9 p.m. Monday when at least two people spotted the rifle on the unattended vehicle.

A man who identified himself as Nick Gonzales confirmed he snapped a photo of the unsecured weapon.

Police said he then flagged down a couple of nearby bicycle officers.

A second witness noticed the rifle around the same time, and tracked down and alerted the officer, Whitcomb said.

He would “not confirm or deny” the sources’ account, but said an investigation has been launched into the “circumstances that would allow for this patrol rifle to be left on this car.”

He also couldn’t say whether the rifle, reportedly an AR-15, was loaded.

Whitcomb would not speculate as to whether either officer would face discipline, but the Police Department’s policy manual requires officers to inspect patrol vehicles before use.

He said it is a violation of the department policies to leave a weapon unattended, but not a criminal violation.

Whitcomb said such rifles are assigned only to officers who have additional training.

The high-powered weapons usually are kept in the trunk or between the driver and passenger seats.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    I don't know about the Lt's culpability; maybe the vehicle had been checked out earlier, maybe not.
    My only real question is: How in the heck can you drive "a few blocks" without the rifle sliding off of the trunk? Does Seattle use rubber based paint???

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    Guys you need to be more careful you were lucky no one got that rifle and those who saw it there let you know. As the joke goes a senior moment. I agree displinary action is needed. Just be more careful please.

  • Nj_508th_mp_co_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Wow!!! I learned this lesson back in Boot when I ran to the porta Joihn without my girl. Needless to say, Drill Sgt smoked me like BBQ Ribs and made me low crawl around our entire AOR. In this case It's a blessing the weapon was returned back in the correct hands. Its gonna be a tough lesson learned just take your days and keep it moving

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago

    Well,well,well.Two command officers combined to pull this off.Who woulda thunk it?Do you suppose a Patrolman would have been suspended by now?I think so too.

  • Cruise_2014_max50


    about 3 years ago


    We can play "what ifs" and guess what might have happened if this went in a different direction. Bottom line is the Sgt. deserves disciplinary action for placing the rifle there. The Lt. deserves to be disciplined for failing to find it before driving off. This was an avoidable error and both parties share some responsibility. The Sgt's share is greater. Let's thank God it didn't end in a worse way and move on.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    Sry Lt. and Sgt., but there is not 1 excuse for that. All rifle operators know 1) never remove your master grip until unloading and 2) keep it slung until it can be secured. At the end of the day hopeful we can all take this as a learning experience.

  • Me2_max50


    about 3 years ago


    This is not good at all. It shouldn't have been left there even though we ALL MAKE MISTAKES, yeah yeah, but this is a big one. A loaded AR15. I mean coffee or somethin is a oopsies, laugh it off situation but this could potentially kill 30 people. No bueno...

  • L_ae1b658846e2d300078fb1b39c85f297_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Absolute careless. Yea, we make mistakes,but I agree that both should be diciplined. This could have been much worse. In my opinion if it was the officers personel rifle that he paid 1500 for he might be more carefull here he lays it.

  • Reblemac_max50


    about 3 years ago


    We had a guy do that with a shotgun only it fell off in the middle of an intersection. One of the good citizens of our city had found it and was standing in the intersection holding the loaded 12ga. when an LT rolled through and about had a heartattack. That one could have ended real bad but it didn't and life goes on.

  • Headshot_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Go ahead and take a one-to-three day suspension and move on. It'll be a blemish on a record and something the co-workers will never let you forget, but life will go on.

  • Somegiveall_max160_max160_max50


    about 3 years ago


    ouch, thats gonna leave a mark......

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    This is complacency, not a mistake.
    One rule everyone in LE remebered while going
    through the academy is to be aware of
    your weapon's location at all times.
    This is not just limited to your assigned firearm
    that's worn on your person.

  • Img_20111016_163737_max50


    about 3 years ago


    ouch, well glad it wasn't stolen or anyone was hurt.

  • Thinker_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Mistakes happen, but we hold others accountable for their mistakes so we need to be accountable for ours! Imagine if that rifle would have fallen off the car and ended up in the hands of a gang banger or worse like used against other police...

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump! dark_ blue

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