Capitol Cops To Get More Training After Leaving Guns In Bathrooms

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The Capitol Police chief Kim Dine said Wednesday that after a few high-profile cases of police at the Capitol leaving their firearms unattended after using the bathroom, the police force will receive a lot of new training.

Dine testified before the House Administration Committee on security at the U.S. Capitol that officers are told during basic training what to do with their weapons while using the bathroom, but he has added an online training course and enhanced training for firearm safety since the incidents.

“We’ve made additional training part of our bi-annual training process,” he said.

The hearing came after three different officers on the Capitol Police force failed to remember to grab their guns after using the bathroom since January.

The latest came when a janitor found a loaded Glock handgun that was left in plain view in a bathroom stall in the Capitol Police headquarters.

Prior to that, a member of House Speaker John Boehner’s security detail left a loaded gun in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite in late March, where a 7-year-old child on a tour with his parents found it. In January another cop left a handgun and magazine stuffed into the toilet seat cover holder in a bathroom stall.

“That’s a gross problem when you leave a gun, and particularly when a child finds it,” Rep. Richard Nugent said during the hearing, adding that a violation of the rules that egregious should be accompanied by swift punishment.

Dine said there are lock-boxes located around the Capitol that officers can use if they have time to locate one, and that the typical punishment for losing a gun is a suspension of five or more days. Subsequent offenses could possibly lead to termination.

He also noted that at least one offense involved a senior officer on a special security detail. Tenure with the department, disciplinary record and other factors are taken into account when punishment is handed down.

Investigations in to the lost guns are ongoing, Dine said, and he has a dedicated taskforce looking at the matter, though that explanation didn’t really sit well with Nugent.

“Putting in a policy that says ‘Hey, don’t leave your gun in the bathroom,’ that’s pretty self explanatory,” Nugent said. “This is a pretty simple investigation.”

Committee Chairman Rep. Candice Miller noted that in one of the instances a supervisor was made aware of the forgotten handgun and asked how long it took for that information to make it to Boehner.

“At some point the chain of command was notified,” Dine said, but he said he wasn’t sure when the speaker heard about it.

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