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Officers Lose 243 Homeland Security Guns 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-were-right-here-a-second-ago dept.
In a screw up so big it could only be brought to you by the government or a famous athlete, 243 guns were lost by Homeland Security agencies between 2006 and 2008. 179 guns, were lost "because officers did not properly secure them," an inspector general report said. One of the worst examples of carelessness cites a customs officer who left a firearm in an idling vehicle in the parking lot of a convenience store. The vehicle was stolen while the officer was inside. "A local law enforcement officer later recovered the firearm from a suspected gang member and drug smuggler," the report said.

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Officers Lose 243 Homeland Security Guns

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  • Uh.. what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CerebusUS (21051) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:52PM (#31202240)

    by the government of a famous athlete

    I'm sure you had a joke in there that you were dying to get out, but this makes less than no sense.

    • Only America has famous athletes (Look at David Beckham--came to the US to become famous). Only the US Goverment can make mistakes this hillariously collosal. Thus, only famous athletes' government (the US) can do this.

      QED

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DeadboltX (751907)
      by the government or a famous athlete

      It's still a bad joke that he was dying to get out, but at least it makes slightly more sense.
    • The summary says "or", not "of".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Moof (859402)
      I think he's referring to Plaxico Burris [cbsnews.com] having a concealed weapon and accidentally shooting himself with it, resulting in gun charges against him.
  • Sleeping? (Score:5, Funny)

    by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:54PM (#31202252)

    The vehicle was stolen while the officer was inside.

    Sleeping in the back seat again?

  • the number of DHS officers who were fired as well.

    • Hmm; need to wonder if they should have called it the Department of Homeland Stupidity. Seems to fit as well with the insecure bastards that need the very sword shoved through their chests.
  • Yup, we all do stupid things. Lose our car keys, forget to lock up our guns, dont wear a condom...

    Oh, but when it comes to a cop, they better be more than perfect.

    Just the other day a 3 year old shot themselves while attempting to get a gun from under their grandmothers couch.
    So... yeah. If anything this just shows they need better weapons handling training. What? You think this was the first time someone did something stupid with a gun?
    • by landoltjp (676315)

      Oh, but when it comes to a cop, they better be more than perfect.

      Should they be perfect or "more than perfect"? No, but I would hope that they are better at demonstrating an adherence to the very law(s) that they strive to uphold, and better at putting practices and policies for that purpose.

      The theory is that these are officers of the law. They represent The Law. Y'know, serve and protect, uphold the law ... that sort of thing. In theory they should be held to, and hold themselves to, a higher standard of practice.

      I imagine that there are very defined practices for

    • by TheCarp (96830) <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:24PM (#31203430) Homepage

      Well, we all also do illegal things, but you best be extra perfect in front of a cop. All you need to do is one illegal thing in front of a cop, and he will gladly do his job and process you into the system for punishment. Why should hey get a break when he gets caught slipping?

      -Steve

      • But are Homeland Security personnel actually cops? Aren't they more like glorified security guards?

        It's a bit like the Australian Protective Service after they were absorbed into the Australian Federal Police. Many of them don't even have the same arrest powers as a police officer has, so they're effectively just government security officers. It's really stupid -- if they're going to wear the label of police, they should have the same powers and training as proper police do.

        • by sauge (930823)
          I will assume you are thinking of TSA. TSA is a part of Homeland Security but Homeland Security is not the TSA.

          Here is the list: http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/

          Note it is composed of the US Coast Guard, Secret Service, ICE, etc. -- all of whom have arrest powers and the authority to carry a firearm in work circumstances.
          • by TheCarp (96830)

            I didn't even know all that was under DHS. So... in that case I totally stick by statements that I have made in the past that they should be defunded and disbanded!

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:56PM (#31203986) Homepage

      Oh, but when it comes to a cop, they better be more than perfect.

      Yes. Exactly.

      We're talking about *cops*. We entrust them with our lives, and give them power over us, so yes, I think it's reasonable to expect them to be a little less careless than the average slashbot such as yourself. If they can't handle those expections, they should #gtfo, because they don't deserve the responsibility they've been given.

      We're also not talking about a set of keys, here. We're talking about a *firearm*. Last I checked, most people aren't dumb enough to lose their 38 special between the seat cushions of their couch.

      Frankly, I'm shocked this even surprises you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Yes, most people are. Try carrying a firearm 24/7 for a few decades. There's a significant chance you will lose one (or more) over the course of a career, no matter how careful you like to think you'll be.

        We're human beings. We're flawed. We do that sort of thing. Some leave their coffees, their groceries, or even their CHILDREN on top of their cars when they drive off. Some forget to take the iron off the board when they leave and their house burns down. Some forget to put the bar in the window and

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)

          We're human beings. We're flawed. We do that sort of thing. Some leave their coffees, their groceries, or even their CHILDREN on top of their cars when they drive off. Some forget to take the iron off the board when they leave and their house burns down. Some forget to put the bar in the window and their child falls out when the screen gives way. Some turn around to talk to their kid about some detail of the day and drift in front of a semi. And none of us are immune to this sort of thing.

          No. But you also

          • by natehoy (1608657)

            I'm not saying there shouldn't be consequences. I'm just saying it's going to happen.

            • by vadim_t (324782)

              Yes, but we can make it happen a lot less.

              This isn't about a freak accident, this is about 243 guns getting lost. With that many, there has to be a way to reduce the number. 243 guns in 2 years is a gun getting lost every 3 days on average.

              From what I heard, if a cop loses a gun, that's a very big deal, with serious consequences. By the 5th gun getting lost in a short timeframe there should have been a serious internal investiguation about whether the officers are getting taught the right procedures, and at

              • by natehoy (1608657)

                Yes, but keep in mind that the DHS incorporates almost all of the former federal law enforcement agencies, comprising over 225,000 employees as of last year.

                Assuming about half of them are gun carriers, and given that the losses were over a 2-year period, that means that fewer than one tenth of one percent of gun-carrying agents per year lost their weapons.

                According to several sources, about 25% of the guns were stolen out of lockboxes or safes - in other words guns that the officers did take reasonable mea

      • by guruevi (827432)

        On the other hand, the more responsible population generally has/wants better jobs than being a cop and the institutions themselves filter out any outliers (too smart, too expensive) leaving only those that have no viable other choices (because they're undereducated or underperforming) or those that like the power trips (because they've been repressed at school or home or because they're sociopaths).

      • by niko9 (315647)

        We're talking about *cops*. We entrust them with our lives, and give them power over us, so yes,...

        Going off slightly off topic from the main article...

        Who is we? I don't *entrust* my life to any police officer or any other official, and I sure as hell don't give them any "power" over me. This is on of the greatest myths, misconceptions, whatever-you-wanna-call-it that is self perpetrated amongst the American public. You alone are responsible for your own safety.

        Don't get me wrong: I don't have issues with

  • Statistics (Score:5, Informative)

    by FishOuttaWater (1163787) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:13PM (#31202408)

    So, over 3 years, 179 / 188,500 weapons went missing, 0.09%, only slightly higher than the percentage eaten by beavers or flattened by steam rollers.

    What a travesty. How could they have been so careless with our tax dollars. Let's impeach Obama.

    =^P

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 6ULDV8 (226100)

      How about looking at personal responsibility and labeling the individual as at fault. If you do that, your statistics will mean more. One officer was issued two weapons and lost one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mjwalshe (1680392)
      well you need to compare this to the army and the average loss rate in the general population
      • Re:Statistics (Score:4, Insightful)

        by blueZ3 (744446) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:39PM (#31204556) Homepage

        I think you'd find the loss rate in the Army vanishingly small. The kinds of punishment a cop gets for misplacing a weapon pale beside what they can do to a soldier losing a rifle.

        For a good number of years I was the company armorer and ran the company arms room when I was in the Army and we never lost a weapon--because every soldier knows what will happen to him if he loses his rifle, and every sergeant knows what will happen to him if his troop loses it, and so on up the chain.

        I doubt any of the DHS employees got more than a wrist-slap

        • by anglico (1232406)
          I was thinking the same thing. In the Marines if we had a rifle checked out of the armory we had better have it at hand at all times. if you wanted to take a leak you slung it over your shoulder, one guy made the mistake of leaning it against a tree and of course along comes the officer. He regretted that mistake for a long time. I think if every cop/DHS knew they would lose their pay or rank or even fired for misplacing it then they would be very careful.
          • During the Korean war the only reason the 1st Marine Division survived and inevitably triumphed over the Chinese was because the US Army abandoned a ton of ordinance and weapons. All the US armed forces lose weapons and ordinance, in fact, recently, nuclear weapons were misplaced for a few hours http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20427730/ [msn.com] .
        • A guy from another company in our battalion apparently took a nap on the night land nav course, woke up, and forgot to bring his weapon along when he finished the course. Their whole company ended up in the field for two weeks looking for it, and his platoon an extra two weeks beyond that. I can only imagine how bad life must have been for him.

        • That's odd. What I've read from a few accounts of British troops is that you couldn't trust them with gear; everytime they'd be on exercises with, say, the US Marines, half of them would have swapped their rifles with the Marines and the other half their boots. In the US Army, did it matter exactly what kind of rifle the soldier had to have on him, or just that he needed to have a rifle? Or was this just policy for when you were at base, and less enforced when you were on ops or exercises?
    • by ceejayoz (567949)

      Bingo. If this were Fark.com, this'd have been [NEWS FLASH] People lose and steal shit.

    • by blueZ3 (744446)

      I think they're intentionally misleading you with their statistics. There are only around 200,000 employees in DHS and the vast majority are paper pushers. I'd be surprised if over 10% are actually "agents" in the gun-toting ATF, Border Patrol sense.

    • It's a small number in the big picture, but the importance of losing a firearm should not be underestimated. It should be grounds for instant dismissal and punishment.

  • The vehicle was stolen while the officer was inside.

    Worse. Law enforcement Officer. EVAR.

    (Ohhhh, wait, nm I see wut u did there...)

    • Actually, this is very common. It isn't unusual at all for an officer to leave a vehicle running pretty much all day with the doors unlocked. It helps keep the cabin cool in the summer and warm in the winter. More importantly, most police cars are essentially roving data centers with limited backup power and no backup cooling. Boot up time for the CAD/Mobile client, the private radio broadband system, GPS locator, car-handheld radio relay, video evidence system, radar, and ALPR system can run upwards of fiv
      • Actually, this is very common.

        Yes, but law enforcement vehicles which need to be left running are equipped with a lockout switch which keeps the engine running and the accessories energized without allowing the vehicle to be driven

        You start the car normally, turn on the lockout switch, and then remove the ignition key. The car can be shut off by turning the lockout switch off, but it cannot be restarted or driven without the ignition key.

        There's never a good reason to leave the keys in a running and unattended vehicle. This is what th

        • I think I have seen 2 or 3 videos where a person in the back seat of a police vehicle has somehow gotten into the front and driven away. Are you sure about this lockout switch? The one thing is that people are assuming the DHS person was driving an official vehicle. I doubt that was the case. He was probably in his PoV.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by KC7JHO (919247)
          My patrol car has no such switch, except the one on the door, and neither do any of those in my department. I have never seen a patrol car with this feature, though technologically it is something that SHOULD and could be put in place! This would greatly help when having more than one officer at a scene needing to warm up but only one having the spare key... You would not have any links to where this system could be obtained would you?
      • My assumption was that to some degree they are just making the police car into a bait car. If someone is dumb enough to steal a police car, they would be more than happy to let him drive off in it in exchange for the pleasure of arresting him in a few minutes.

  • Too big to fail (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by interval1066 (668936)

    And we really need this huge, bloated, self-justifying, all-powerful organism to run our health care system because...?

    • The Department of Homeland Security runs our health care system? Oh my god, that explains SO MUCH!

    • Re:Too big to fail (Score:4, Informative)

      by Gramie2 (411713) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:01PM (#31203060)

      ...because the alternative is a ravenous beast that feeds on the sick to generate monstrous profits. Socialized medicine has been shown to work* in countries all over the world. I (a non-American) don't have to worry that changing jobs will mean a loss of health insurance, nor that a catastrophic illness/injury will make my family paupers.

      *work in the sense that decent healthcare is enjoyed by all residents of a country, instead of having superb care for the rich, generally adequate for the middle class, little or none for the working poor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lithdren (605362)
      ...Because a 0.09% rate of failure isn't as bad as you make it out to be.
    • who care more about delivering value to stockholders, than delivering you life

      the idea that there will be government death panels is hilarious, since we currently have corporate death panels: ex-nurses in cubicles looking at your list of CPT codes purposefully working hard to make sure you don't cost so much as you die

      besides, i wonder if you've ever dealt with the maze of paperwork between hospitals, doctors, health insurers. now THAT'S a bloated bureaucracy. not that the feds won't indulge in odious amoun

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)

      No one else has proven capable.

      Next question?

  • Yet another off-topic article. Or maybe /. has entirely become off-topic?

    No, I didn't RTFA, but the summary doesn't even try to explain how this is affecting my rights, online or otherwise.
  • Lost? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Eggbloke (1698408)
    Did they check behind the sofa?
  • The border guards can have my laptop if I get their gun?

  • 1. Buy cheap gloves und wear them.
    2. Steal HS gun.
    3. Shoot Cheney.
    4. Put HS gun back.
    5. Burn gloves
    6. Give the media a anonymous tip.
    7. Rinse, and repeat (with another real douche)
    8. Watch them beat the shit out of each other with accusations.
    9. Be quick, before they can react with new rules.
    10. PROFIT. ;)

  • The government and police lose guns (including machine guns) all the time. It hrdly ever makes the news, it's just a well-known dirty little secret.

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