An analysis by News4 Investigates shows eighteen police-issued weapons in five middle Tennessee counties have been stolen and never found in the last five years, most taken from officer’s personal or work vehicles.
In one case, a stolen AR-15 from a Franklin police officer was used a year later in a violent crime.
Our analysis also found other equipment, including swat gear, helmets, batons and badges were lost or stolen, most never recovered.
“It's a critical mistake when it happens,” said Ken Alexandrow, a retired metro police officer who now trains civilians on self-protection.
Metro police, which was by far the largest number of officers, had the most missing or stolen guns at seven.
All of the officers who had their weapons lost or stolen were suspended.
In an email to News4 Investigates, metro police spokeswoman Kris Mumford wrote, “Even officers are not immune to being crime victims.”
“If something happens with my weapon, because I didn't secure it, and someone got hurt, that's tough to live with,” said Alexandrow.
News4 Investigates found one case where a Franklin police officer had his AR-15 rifle stolen from his car while training in Louisville, KY.
The next year, that same rifle was used to shoot at a car and at a victim, but that victim was not injured.
“We're out own worst critic. And we're going to say I should have known better,” Alexandrow said.
Our analysis also found 38 instances of badges missing or stolen.
The Davidson County Sheriff’s department has the most missing or stolen badges at 26.
“The danger here is police impersonators,” said Alexandrow. “If they do have a real one, then again, they are perpetrating those crimes with real equipment.”
A statement from the sheriff’s department issued to News4 Investigates reads ““We understand the sensitive nature of law enforcement equipment provided to our employees, most specifically, assigned badges. DCSO staff, by policy, is required to file a police report for misplaced, lost, or stolen badges, and must reimburse the agency for a replacement badge. It’s imperative our employees are responsible with their issued equipment and take any loss of that equipment seriously.”
Below are the departments with guns stolen or missing that were never recovered.
Metro Nashville police department: 7
Williamson County: 4
Wilson County Sheriff’s Department: 1
Murfreesboro police department: 2
Franklin police department: 1
Davidson County Sheriff’s Department: 2