While it seems like common sense for police officers to make securing their weapons a priority, there have been far too many incidents where a lapse in judgment or an unlucky break has resulted in firearms being stolen from their vehicles.
In July, Police Chief Steve Annibali of the Arroyo Grande Police in California, had his unmarked police cruiser parked outside of his home. According to The Tribune, a San Luis Obispo County local news outlet, sometime during the night, an unidentified criminal smashed the window of the car and stole Annibali's gun, ammunition, ID and police badge. These items were all stored under the backseat in a bag.
Several months later, in Oxford, Ohio, an unnamed officer with the local police department left his AR-15 in the back seat of his unmarked squad car overnight. He told local Fox affiliate WXIX that he had intended to move it to his trunk the following morning, but instead found his window broken and the rifle stolen.
"My car has tinted windows and was parked in my driveway," the officer said in the police report, according to WXIX. "It is unknown if the person who [took] my shotgun was familiar with me being an officer."
Keeping police gear secure
Whether they leave their patrol cars at the police station or parked in their driveway, it is essential that all departments and individuals take every step to ensure the safety of their firearms. The frequency of theft of these weapons is far too common, especially when there are simple steps that can be taken to secure them.
All police officers should have a portable safe in their patrol cars at all times. These are perfect for storing hand guns, ammunition, badges and IDs in their vehicles. It's important to select one that features a steel security cable so it can be anchored to the car.
A lockable storage box is another essential item for patrol car storage. These can be kept in the trunk or back seat of a car, and have enough space to stage larger items that officers have to keep on them at all times, such as police tactical gear.
With the proper storage techniques, weapons are kept out of sight of any passers by, lessening the chance that an officer will wake up in the morning to find their cruiser ransacked or damaged.