Safety Violation: Officers Use Unloaded Service Weapons During Training Exercise

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Another dangerous incident involving Baltimore City Police training, just months after a recruit was shot in the head by a training officer in a horrible accident.

Meghan McCorkell explains what happened and how police are trying to fix it.

Police say those officers used unloaded service weapons during a training exercise, a breach of protocol.

A police recruit–shot in the head after his training officer mistook his service weapon for his training gun. It was this incident in February that caused city police to implement new safety protocols for training.

Now they say that protocol was ignored.

“It’s just unacceptable. We will not accept it,” said Dep. Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez, Baltimore City Police.

It was Tuesday during a room clearing exercise. Officers used unloaded service weapons instead of training guns that don’t fire.

“Clearly it’s a violation of protocol, the safety protocols,” said Rodriguez.

The training was run by the special operations section and included four senior instructors who were training six detectives.

The training exercise happened at Camp Freddert in Reisterstown, an approved location that police call a controlled environment.

Police officials say there were two major breakdowns. First, that the inappropriate equipment was used, and that nobody put a stop to the training.

“There’s a safety officer, or any of the officers that were participating, or one of the other instructors could have just raised the red flag and stopped the training at that point,” said Dep. Commissioner John Skinner, Baltimore City Police.

The department previously allowed the use of unloaded service weapons during training, but new protocol calls for training guns instead.

“Those shortcuts are too costly and the risk is too great,” Skinner said.

An internal investigation is now underway.

No individual officer has been suspended, but that could change as the investigation gets underway.

Activity with the mobile training unit, that was running the exercise, has been suspended pending the results of the investigation.

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