ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Law enforcement officers leaving behind their firearms inside bathrooms is not uncommon, said Russell Ricalde, a former federal agent.
“It doesn’t show that somebody is intentionally careless or has poor training," he said. "I mean it could be, it’s possible that if something happens it’s because the person was not vigilant about keeping track of their gun, but mostly it’s just circumstances."
The practice made headlines when a Pasco County deputy left his service revolver in a Burger King bathroom on U.S. Highway 19 in New Port Richey.
David Scott Haney, 49, a homeless man who found the gun and kept it, is charged with stealing the firearm.
Ricalde, who spent 28 years in law enforcement, said it has happened to most officers but there isn't exactly protocol to prevent it from happening.
“I’ve worked for five different federal agencies and with hundreds of police agencies around the country," he said. "I’m not aware of training where they tell you, ‘okay when you go in the bathroom, this is what we want you to do with your gun.’ It may exist, but I’ve never received it.”
Ricalde, who trains officers, says everyone needs a routine, which would help prevent officers from leaving their firearms in places.
“You have to do the same thing the same way every day," he said. "So, if you carry your gun on the right hip, that’s where you want to carry your gun every day. If you put your gun in a lock box when you get home because you have children, that needs to be the first thing you do when you walk in the door.”
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