Orlando police chief loses gun in a burglary of her city vehicle

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Thread: Orlando police chief loses gun in a burglary of her city vehicle

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Orlando police chief loses gun in a burglary of her city vehicle

    Orlando police chief's gun stolen -- OrlandoSentinel.com

    Orlando police Chief Val Demings lost her gun in a burglary of her city vehicle.

    The theft happened weeks ago, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, but did not become public until late Tuesday, when a tipster alerted the Orlando Sentinel.

    "It was devastating enough for me to be the victim of a crime and have my service weapon stolen after 25 years on the job," Demings said in a telephone interview. "I need to do everything possible to get my gun off the street."

    The 9mm Sig Sauer pistol was stolen the night of Feb. 27 and discovered the next morning. The weapon was left in a duffel bag inside her agency sport utility vehicle, which she parked outside the home she and her husband, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, share in an unincorporated area of the county.

    "I never leave my gun in the car, but I did that night because we were expecting guests for the weekend and they had young children," Demings said. "We are allowed to store our [weapons] in the trunk or passenger compartment as long as they are out of plain view. It was clearly out of plain view."

    The break-in and theft of her duffel bag and its contents were reported the same day to the Sheriff's Office. A report of the crime was not available late Tuesday.

    Demings said she reported the theft to her agency's Internal Affairs department to investigate whether she broke any policies. And she said she told Mayor Buddy Dyer that someone had stolen her gun.

    A major focus of Orlando's campaign to reduce violent crime is removing illegal guns from city streets. Stolen guns, by the nature of the crime, end up in the hands of criminals.

    As deputy police chief in 2007, Demings ordered off-duty officers to store city-issued AR-15 assault rifles at police headquarters after three of the weapons were stolen. Storing rifles and shotguns near the driver's seat is a common practice to make the weapons immediately accessible during a crisis.

    Since 2007, the Police Department has replaced all of its in-car gun locks and outfitted all new police vehicles with alarms.

    While Orlando policy allows officers to leave guns in unoccupied, locked vehicles, other police agencies follow different policies.

    Her husband's department, for instance, prohibits its nearly 1,500 deputies from leaving guns in patrol cars and undercover vehicles. The reason for the rule was demonstrated in late 2006 when teens stole a submachine gun with a silencer, a .308-caliber assault rifle and a .45-caliber pistol from a SWAT team member's unmarked SUV.

    Gun thefts from Orlando police vehicles have been an infrequent but persistent problem for several years. Thefts from Orange County residents' cars pose a much more serious threat.

    In 2002, the Sentinel found that 193 of 680 guns stolen in the county were taken from parked cars. That year, Florida ranked fifth nationally in that regard, with 7,434 firearms reported stolen.

    Since the 1990s, several dozen murders have been committed in Central Florida with stolen handguns. None of those has been linked to thefts from police officers.
    Haven't heard much about Chief Demings' stance on law-abiding citizens being armed. But, this is one more example that LE is subject to the same issues as citizens. No more perfect than we are.

    It is interesting that the fact of the crime/stolen gun was not reported. Coincidence? Who knows?
    Last edited by miklcolt45; March 25th, 2009 at 09:44 AM. Reason: left out a word in title
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Her excuse for doing so is weak.

    A car is not a safe nor a proper storage point for anything of any worth, muchless a firearm.
    This is street sense (though not common sense) and a 25 yrs. on the job cop much less chief of police who is married to a sherriff should know this better than anyone (!).

    She should own a proper firearm safe. She should have secured her firearm properly in such a storage location.
    As she did not and made no mention of thinking to do so then it seems she has announced to the world that on days when there are no children at her home she stores her firearm and her husband his own just within the house and not secured in any way within a safe or even a lockbox (!). Stupid on top of stupid.

    If this had been a civilian he/she would be in hot water for having not immediately much less at all reported the firearm stolen, and in some states would be legally and civilly held liable for any crimes that secondarily are related to the theft of that firearm including harm to others by the third person thief.
    She being chief of police and a cop of 25 yrs. experience no doubt knew and knows this as well to be fact.

    - Janq
    Last edited by Janq; March 25th, 2009 at 02:10 PM.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    She's an embarrassment.....

    .....and not just for this incident.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

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    Member Array oldnonry's Avatar
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    You'd think she'd know better than to leave a gun in a vehicle.
    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" - Thomas Jefferson

    "The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth." - Stonewall Jackson

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    The article had this quote: "We are allowed to store our [weapons] in the trunk or passenger compartment as long as they are out of plain view. It was clearly out of plain view."

    If that is the department's regulation and it is consistent with state law, she did nothing wrong. There is an element of blame the victim in some of the above comments.

    The article didn't clearly state if the vehicle was a personal one or marked. I think lots of us non-criminal folks falsely assume a cop car would be off target for BGs. Not so. They can be attractive targets for vandals and hard core thieves looking for expensive and unique stuff, uniforms, badges, weapons, ammo. For that reason, it should be required that weapons in unattended marked cars be locked whenever possible. Obviously it might not be possible in some situations to take even a second to secure the car.

    YMMV depending on where you live, the level of background crime, and so on.
    I would not hesitate to lock a weapon in the trunk of my car when it is in front of my home; though I have a very strong personal preference that it belongs on my person. (No visiting kids to worry about.)

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Well in my short experience, and it appears this may be true seeing how her husband is also sheriff....that some(NOT ALL) major police chiefs are not necessarily known for their policing but their politicking. This could explain her poor judgement. You are exactly right if not a locked safe in the house...a lockbox/safe in her city owned unit. I would say the children excuse is just that...for P.R.
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Doesn't matter Hopyard.

    If the vehicle was a cop car, other govt. car, or regular personal vehicle.
    Thefts of firearms out of police vehicles clearly marked and out fitted to be 'police' vehicles have been on going and in fact as reported nationally last summer ars on the rise, nationally.
    She too as a chief of police should have known this to be fact.

    As to the law being what it is she still did not self report her firearm, which also is government property (!), as being reported. The latter is a serious positional employment infraction never mind if the former is not a crime in her city or state.

    As well even as she may not have done something illegal per the limits of the states laws. The laws are a guideline and it is encumbent upon ones self as a firearm owner in specific to simply act right when it comes to safe and _responsible_ storage of firearms regardless of type or where one might live and the relative crime rate. She should know this as well and likely have stated same to civilians and support her officers enforce as much against others.

    Lastly even if she does live in a relatively low crime and so called safe area of town or street. That is not the same at all as no crime and absolutely without any reasonable doubt safe. Emphasis being on reasonable.

    Now I assume that it was an unmarked car that was robbed although again marked police cars are broken into as well. I wonder what damage was done to her vehicle to affect the theft. There had to be some damage as otherwise how would they access her trunk, without a key?
    If there was damage then was this damage reported to her insurer and under what stated pretense? If theft was stated then did she state that the contents of the bag as stolen included a firearm and ammunition? If not then that in it self is fraud. If so stated then why did she choose to not report the firearm lost to her employer the city?
    If she did not state the bag was there to be stolen to her insurer then why not? The insurer would ask first thing what was stolen or missing from your vehicle? I've been through this exact same event twice myself.
    If there was no insurer involved then why not? Was there no damage done?

    This story and her story has more holes than Swiss Cheese, as it's reported here.
    And what's left is a patchwork of stupid and legitimately wrong if not possibly unlawful actions, reaction, and an attempt to cover it up.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Senior Member Array gwhall57's Avatar
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    The police chief does not have a gun safe at her home? That's a bit hard to believe... I'm not even an LEO, and I have two...
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    VIP Member Array sass20485's Avatar
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    Yes, not too bright leaving her guns in the car. Poor example by the Chief of Orlando PD. I'd expect better from the head LEO. Especially since her husband is also now the Sheriff of Orange County. Two top LEOs in the same household and neither one seems to be very safety or security conscious.

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    Member Array oldogy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    The article had this quote: "We are allowed to store our [weapons] in the trunk or passenger compartment as long as they are out of plain view. It was clearly out of plain view."

    If that is the department's regulation and it is consistent with state law, she did nothing wrong. There is an element of blame the victim in some of the above comments.

    The article didn't clearly state if the vehicle was a personal one or marked. I think lots of us non-criminal folks falsely assume a cop car would be off target for BGs. Not so. They can be attractive targets for vandals and hard core thieves looking for expensive and unique stuff, uniforms, badges, weapons, ammo. For that reason, it should be required that weapons in unattended marked cars be locked whenever possible. Obviously it might not be possible in some situations to take even a second to secure the car.

    YMMV depending on where you live, the level of background crime, and so on.
    I would not hesitate to lock a weapon in the trunk of my car when it is in front of my home; though I have a very strong personal preference that it belongs on my person. (No visiting kids to worry about.)
    x====x===========x===========x========
    Orlando police Chief Val Demings lost her gun in a burglary of her city vehicle.
    x=========x==========x===========x===

    Opening sentence indicates it was a city vehicle.
    oldogy

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    Senior Member Array Frogbones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sass20485 View Post
    Yes, not too bright leaving her guns in the car. Poor example by the Chief of Orlando PD. I'd expect better from the head LEO. Especially since her husband is also now the Sheriff of Orange County. Two top LEOs in the same household and neither one seems to be very safety or security conscious.

    yep...Complacency at it's finest.

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    City vehicle not necessarily marked car

    Quote Originally Posted by oldogy View Post
    x====x===========x===========x========
    Orlando police Chief Val Demings lost her gun in a burglary of her city vehicle.
    x=========x==========x===========x===

    Opening sentence indicates it was a city vehicle.
    oldogy
    I was trying to draw the distinction between a marked and unmarked car as I actually think marked cars are attractive to the worst elements of the criminal world. Nothing should be assumed safe in there just because it is a marked cop car.

    As for the rest, so long as there wasn't a department regulation or state law mandating use of a safe, it is notwithstanding what Jang just posted, an unfortunate incident but nothing more.

    What she did or did not report, that has nothing to do with the issue of use of a safe. It might have something to do with how much or how little physical damage happened to the car--if someone wanted a safe and its contents, they'd get it; break the car or take the whole car to get it.

    As for a gun safe or other kind of safe, I don't own one.* Not in the house or for the car, and if something is stolen it is on the thief. Exactly the same as it would be if he stole money from my house and bought cocaine. That isn't on me, and a stolen gun isn't on me.
    __________________________________________________

    *Lately I have been keeping a large amount of the green stuff in the house. I've thought about getting a safe, but the fact is that won't keep my money or my guns from being taken if someone gets in and has sufficient time to do their thing while I'm away. At most, it frustrates the BGs. It would increase the amount of property damage the house or car will sustain. The crime is on the thief, not the person who didn't quadruple lock the valuables. The car presumably was locked. The gun was out of sight. Those are reasonable precautions.

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    Distinguished Member Array Der Alte's Avatar
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    Probably thought "I'm the Police Chief" no one would dare steal anything from me. Guess again.
    Its a shame that youth is wasted on the young.

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    Ex Member Array PNUT's Avatar
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    I don't understand why she had to leave the gun anywhere....so what if people with kids come over. When I was a kid we had guns in the house, we knew how to shoot them if we had to and to never ,ever touch them unless it was an emergency. The two kids that I've shared a home with since knew the same things.

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    No safe in the house? (hard to believe)

    Did not know that LEO cars are targets? (hard to believe again)
    Patrol and unmarked cars have been targets in at least 4 FL counties that I know of...she didn't?

    Leadership at its best?
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