A Wyandotte police officer will begin a 30-day unpaid suspension on Wednesday after admitting to taking a police rifle home with him without permission, Police Chief Daniel Grant said.
The incident began on Oct. 4 when the department conducted a regular audit of its inventory, Grant said. At that time, the rifle was found to be missing.
Command officers on each shift notified their platoon of the missing weapon and that an investigation was going to be launched.
On Oct. 13, the officer confessed to having the weapon at his home and voluntarily returned it, Grant said.
The officer told police he took the gun to prove a point, Grant said.
According to the chief, the officer works the day shift and found the rifle in his patrol car when he reported for work in the morning. Rather than re-racking the rifle inside the police station, the officer from the midnight shift left it in the vehicle, which didn’t sit well with the officer in question, Grant said.
“He just felt that since it was left in the car when he started his shift, he wanted to see if anyone would notice that the weapon was gone,” Grant said. “He clearly understands that he was wrong. … He’s been told that if he’s unhappy with our procedures, we expect him to make some recommendations on what improvements could be added and we’ll look into it.”
Grant said the officer who left the rifle in the vehicle didn’t do anything wrong.
“If we know a car is going to be used in consecutive shifts, we’ve said it was OK for the rifle to be secured inside,” Grant said.
That policy has since been changed, however, based on this incident and on another involving two police guns being stolen from a patrol car while it was in for service at the Wyandotte Department of Public Services garage.
Grant said the suspended officer has no prior suspensions on his record. The chief said he doesn’t feel the public was at any risk by the rifle being at the officer’s home as he said it was locked up in a gun vault in his basement, along with other weapons that he owns for his private use.
Grant said criminal charges would not be brought against the officer as he returned the gun on his own accord.
While he’s serving his 30-day unpaid suspension, Grant said, officers will be pulled out of the traffic division to fill his patrol slot.