Police have ended the search for a still-missing Boulder City Police Department rifle.
A three-month independent investigation by the Henderson Police Department could not locate the semi-automatic AR-15 carbine, which was discovered missing last year, Boulder City Police announced in an Oct. 9 news release.
The investigation revealed that policies and procedures were not adequate for the record keeping and security of department-issued firearms, according to the police.
However, police say the investigation did not indicate that Boulder City officers are to blame.
“While the investigation did not locate the rifle, I am confident the investigation determined that none of the current officers with the Boulder City Police Department had anything to do with the weapon’s disappearance,” Police Chief Bill Conger said in the release.
Conger later said that he does not believe the former officer to whom the rifle was assigned, Robert Woolsey, is to blame.
“We don’t believe anybody stole it who was on the department,” Conger said Tuesday.
Although the investigation is closed, the rifle is still reported stolen in the FBI’s national database, Conger said.
The AR-15 is the civilian equivalent of the military’s M-16 assault rifle.
Woolsey, who left the department in October 2011 and is chief marshal for Boulder City Municipal Court, said he turned the rifle in to the police department when he left.
However, there were no records of the missing rifle being issued to another officer or the rifle being checked back into inventory once the officer resigned, according to Boulder City Police.
“My gut feeling honestly is that it was poor oversight. Policies weren’t in place; procedures weren’t in place. Too many hands were on it,” Woolsey said.
Police say the policies and procedures that allowed the rifle to go missing have since been corrected.
“We have put safeguards in place to ensure that the police department and the armory are secure,” Conger said in the release.
The rifle was discovered missing during an inventory check shortly after a December City Council vote to have the police department audited, City Attorney Dave Olsen told the Boulder City Review in January.
In January the city began an internal investigation into the rifle’s whereabouts.
After being hired as acting chief in March, Conger requested Henderson Police investigate.
The Henderson Police detectives began the investigation in June, and were given total access to all Boulder City Police information, documents and personnel, according to Boulder City Police.
Henderson detectives interviewed department employees and those with access to police vehicles, according to Boulder City Police.
Boulder City Police say Henderson detectives also searched the armory and police vehicles.
“It’s not that uncommon (for a firearm to go missing),” Woolsey said. “It’s just a lot worse when you simply don’t know what happened to it.”