According to police, Officer Jeff Porter didn’t violate any departmental policy when he left the keys to his locked Clayton patrol car in his unlocked personal car parked beside the cruiser.
But that act allowed a thief to gain access to Porter’s patrol car, where a gun and the officer’s badge were stored.
We’re sure Porter didn’t intend for anyone to gain access to that gun, but in not following the advice police often give car owners – namely, to lock their unattended parked cars – Porter provided a criminal with access to a gun.
Leaders in the police department should take time to study the object lesson in all this. Security for police equipment is paramount.
Police are, no doubt, required to keep their weapons secure. Porter may have thought he did enough when he locked the doors to his patrol car.
But leaving the keys unattended should not have happened. Just as police are required to keep their cars locked, they should be required to maintain control over the one thing that could unlock that car.
Hopefully, police will track down the person who took Porter’s gun before it’s used for any illegal purposes. And we certainly hope no one gets hurt because of the theft.
But it’s serious business to keep these things away from bad guys.
Every step – no matter how commonsensical it may seem – should be spelled out for police when it comes to keeping their equipment secure.