Posted at: 05/06/2013 8:06 PM
Updated at: 05/07/2013 9:01 AM
By: Mark Albert
It's a mistake that could have led to another death of a local police officer.
Just five days after a Cold Spring officer was killed with a gun late last year, a "clearly" not thorough search of an intoxicated man failed to find a loaded handgun, which the man then pulled out while inside a Metro Transit Police squad car and pointed it in the officers' direction before they could wrestle it away.
The gun was not fired, but two bullets were later found in the Rossi .38 special revolver. VIEW PHOTOS OF THE GUN BELOW.
The incident was captured by a squad car surveillance camera and a copy of the video was obtained recently by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. The station had originally asked Metro Transit for the video at the time of KSTP-TV's original story on Dec. 19, 2012, which broke the news of the incident.
Metro Transit initially denied the station's request, citing the open case. The intoxicated man, identified as Wesley Rogers, 21, pleaded guilty March 7 to carrying a pistol without a permit, a gross misdemeanor.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS renewed its request for the video tape and photos of the gun following the conclusion of the case. VIEW AN EXTENDED CLIP BELOW.
In an interview Monday, Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington called the officers' failure to detect the weapon during their pat-down search of the man a "lapse" caused by a "rookie officer," identified as Jason Malland, who had been with Metro Transit police just two months at the time.
His partner, Ofc. Adam Marvin, had been with the department for three years.
"Clearly, it wasn't thorough because they missed something," Harrington said at police headquarters. "That's almost the definition of not thorough in this case."
The officers were not disciplined, Harrington said, because "in my judgment, this is a training issue... And the way, in my mind, that you deal with mistakes is you correct the behavior by training the officers and reminding them of the importance of good searches."
After the incident, Chief Harrington ordered two hour training for all 118 Metro Transit officers - including himself - on how to properly do a pat-down and booking search.
"So we have really taken this this lesson to heart, have really hammered that lesson home, I think, throughout the entire organization," explained Harrington.
"We don't know if they had a guardian angel sitting on their shoulder or sitting on his shoulder," Harrington said.
"There are times when you put young men out in sometimes very dangerous streets and you get lucky. And in this case, I think that's what happened."
Click here to view an extended clip of the squad car video.
Click here to listen to an extended portion of the interview with Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington.
Click here to watch our original coverage on this story from 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS at 10p on Dec. 19, 2012.
View a slideshow of the loaded revolver below (photos courtesy Metro Transit Police Department).