The weapons belong to local and statewide police departments and sheriff’s offices.
Watch report: Weapons go missing from local law enforcement agencies
The Stockton Police Department is one of those agencies. It had to make changes to its protocol after an audit found two M-16 rifles were missing.
The rifles are part of the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which loans weapons and military surplus equipment to law enforcement.
As a result of losing the two M-16 rifles, Stockton’s access to the program was suspended.
The department also made some major changes to how Stockton police handle their weapons.
The former military weapons now have individual gun locks, and they are kept in one armory and assigned to specific officers who have to check into the department’s armory before taking off to patrol the streets.
But Stockton isn’t alone when it comes to getting its Department of Defense program suspended.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department was also suspended when the agency was unable to locate two M-16 rifles.
“It should never have happened,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said. “It’s embarrassing and it’s disappointing, but nevertheless, we’re all human beings. We make mistakes.”
Christianson said he thinks the weapons are missing due to a paperwork error — or that they were kept by retirees, and therefore, did not end up on the streets.
Christianson said his department can’t find the records for the weapons because the record-keeping system was lost due to computer problems.
“Our inventory controls were deficient,” Christianson said. “We had all of those records on a computer, one computer in the department’s armory — and you know, you never expect the hard drive failed. But it did and the records weren’t backed up on our network.”