Police Potty Training

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

“We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom.”

Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine

This really ought to be one of the more memorable quotes you’ll read in a long time. But for all we might laugh at the absurdity and show derision unto irresponsibility, we should also bear in mind that these are trained professionals.

Capitol Police officers are getting training after officers accidentally left their guns in the Capitol’s public bathrooms three times this year.

One gun was found by a child.

“We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom,” Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine told Congress on Wednesday.

Dine said there is no excuse for officers accidentally leaving their guns in public bathrooms. He said the officers were being disciplined, but he did not name them. A first-time offender typically would be suspended for at least five days, he said.

Dine said he is considering increasing the minimum penalty to a 30-day suspension for a first offense, and termination for a subsequent violation.

“I would be remiss if I did not say that the officers involved in these recent weapons cases reported in the media in no way intended to leave their weapons unattended. But as noted, this is not acceptable and they will be held accountable,” Dine told the House Administration Committee. “They do take very seriously their life and safety responsibilities and they acknowledge that they made a mistake.”

(Associated Press)

Police potty training. It really is a good chuckle, isn’t it? But part of the reason Chief Dine was in front of Congress was to answer for the gyrocopter and a few other embarrassing incidents, including this thing with leaving guns in the bathroom. Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA01) offered the ritual questioning of department leadership, but then mended fences with an awkward bit about how, “We’re not here to criticize you”.

A hint for the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania’s First: Yes, you are.

There is much about the hearing that seems almost ritualistic; lost guns, a gyrocopter landing on the White House lawn. Apparently Congress has to read the newspaper in order to find out what is going on with the Capitol Police. Which is why Mr. Brady explained to the Chief, “We’re not here to criticize you. I can’t do your job. You could probably do mine. This is the first time I’ve met you.” For his part, Mr. Dine acknowledged he would work on his communication skills.

Rep Candice Miller R-Mich. chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, sympathized with the officers who misplaced their guns, while noting the seriousness of the offense.

“Everyone has to go to the bathroom,” Miller said. But, she added, “securing your weapon is of primary importance.”

Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI10) gets the second-best line of the day, and it seems rather quite appropriate. Chief Dine actually went so far as to explain, “I would be remiss if I did not say that the officers involved in these recent weapons cases reported in the media in no way intended to leave their weapons unattended”. The question might occur as to why anyone should require such reassurance, and more than the fact that it turns out cops are human and some of them do dumb things like leaving their firearms sitting around unattended in restrooms, the idea that Mr. Dine thinks people need such reassurance that the officers involved weren’t trying to lose track of their guns might well be what compels us to wonder about department leadership.

Because, let’s face it, compared to the challenges facing a multitude of police departments around the United States … well, right. Not that it should make anyone feel any better.

After all, remember: These are trained professionals. What part of that means, relax, it’s okay if they are irresponsible with firearms?

Police potty training makes for a lovely little joke, but the observation that this is how far out have hand things have gotten would seem to strongly imply that changing a few names on the org chart won’t help a damn thing.

____________________

Associated Press. “Capitol Police Chief: No Excuse for Leaving Guns in Bathroom”. CBS DC. 20 May 2015.

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