Guns missing in sheriff’s office

Published 1:58 pm Monday, December 8, 2008

Newly appointed Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill told county commissioners this week that he is reporting three guns missing from the sheriff&squo;s office.

Hill says he is making sure that a full inventory of the sheriff&squo;s office is done.

Hill told commissioners Monday that he is seeking advice from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and is listing the guns as missing.

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Hill says he&squo;s not accusing anybody of anything concerning the guns as he&squo;s sure that anytime there&squo;s a change in administration, things are misplaced, but he wants to start off with an accurate count of guns and other equipment.

The guns that Hill cannot find are three 45 caliber pistols. He mentioned the missing guns to commissioners during a meeting on Monday. At the same time, he alerted commissioners that new handguns commissioners approved for former Sheriff Chris Abril had arrived, but the bill is overdue and the old guns that were supposed to be traded in to reduce the bill were still at the sheriff&squo;s office.

The overdue bill for the new guns is for approximately $12,000, but Hill says as soon as he trades in the old weapons (the 45 caliber pistols), the sheriff&squo;s office will owe between $2,000 and $3,000 for the new weapons.

Commissioners gave Hill the approval to trade in some other weapons as well to decrease that bill as much as possible. Hill said he also found a few weapons he didn&squo;t know the sheriff&squo;s office had.

Hill says he has until the end of the year to qualify all his officers with the new handguns or the sheriff&squo;s office will be suspended by the state. Qualifying the new weapons is one of many items Hill must accomplish quickly, he says. The certification will take more than 20 hours per officer to accomplish and must be done by Dec. 31.

Hill says by the end of the week he should have completed a full inventory of the sheriff&squo;s office that will include every piece of equipment the sheriff&squo;s office owns, from weapons to electronics.

Hill was appointed by commissioners last month after former sheriff Abril pleaded guilty to solicitation to take indecent liberties with a minor. Abril resigned as part of his plea bargain the day before he pleaded guilty in court.