Without adequate internal tracking and controls, weapons can threaten public safety – and police officers themselves – even after they’ve been confiscated. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office discovered this in November 2018 following a pursuit that ended in a shootout involving an Arizona man and eight law enforcement officers. None of the officers were hurt. But the 27-year-old suspect, who was killed at the scene, used a firearm that had been stolen the previous year from the sheriff’s office.
An internal audit later determined that dozens of firearms had disappeared from the county sheriff’s office, including 29 fully automatic weapons and 20 short-barreled shotguns.
The problem is hardly unique to Maricopa County or Arizona.
In November 2000, a city audit reported that the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office could not account for more than 200 firearms that were supposed to be in its custody. Some belonged to the department’s arsenal, and others were confiscated from people subject to protection-from-abuse orders.
The investigation found, among other things, that the sheriff’s office “lacked a comprehensive and centralized tracking system for service firearms.” Meanwhile, the logbook used to track confiscated weapons “had numerous deficiencies, and serial numbers that have not been recorded … since 2009.”
GL Solutions’ comprehensive weapons licensing system has an answer for this common challenge. Not only can the application track the ownership of weapons in general circulation, but it can monitor the location and movement of confiscated weapons in police custody.
Confiscated weapons typically end up in a secure vault, where they remain pending trial, return or disposal. The configurable GL Suite application tracks weapons by serial number during their time in police custody. The system records the date and location of the underlying offense, the location of the secure vault, the date of planned destruction and any other information a law enforcement agency would like. When a weapon is checked out of a secure vault, the system logs the identity of the person checking it out, the reason for the removal and the date and time of both checkout and return.
GL Solutions’ weapons licensing system can help law enforcement agencies prevent the loss and theft of confiscated weapons and the danger to safety and reputation that can result.