- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Poor record keeping, break-ins and questionable gun storage practices allowed firearms to go missing from the Flint police department and some of those guns have been used in crimes elsewhere in Michigan, records show.

The Flint Journal (http://bit.ly/1CKbaMc ) obtained police department records through the Freedom of Information Act that detail what happened with some of the weapons.

The Flint Police Department conducted a full inventory of its firearms this year. During the inventory, officers were unable to locate 22 guns in addition to 17 already reported stolen and unaccounted for, from 1996 until now.

Chief James Tolbert said he has established policies to ensure the problem doesn’t continue. With 516 firearms registered in the Flint arsenal, Tolbert said the city is working to shrink the number of guns on hand to better reflect its department’s size.

The city has 200 service pistols, 136 shotguns, 78 AR-15s and other guns for its 114 officers. Tolbert said he wants to research what firearms his officers need and find ways to eliminate the guns that the department no longer uses.

“Why do we need them?” Tolbert asked.

In one case, a Flint officer in August 2013 had his .45-caliber service pistol under the driver’s seat of his SUV while in Lansing, records said. His vehicle broke down and, after he left the scene, the gun and holster were stolen from the locked vehicle.

The officer was disciplined. About a month later, a 15-year-old boy found the gun near a store in Jackson, records show. He and another boy used the gun to rob a drug dealer and, as they ran away, the gun went off and the other boy was shot in the leg.

The records also detail how another Flint officer’s gun ended up in the hands of Detroit police after it was used in a crime there.

In 1994, a 9 mm service pistol was stolen from a school liaison officer’s official vehicle while she was working near Flint Central High School. The records indicate that the theft wasn’t noted until 2002 by the department’s quartermaster, who maintains the department’s inventory.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.mlive.com/flint

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