Hundreds of firearms — including pistols, rifles, shotguns and machine guns — have gone missing from the U.S. Park Police and officials there have no idea why, according to the Inspector General's Office of the Department of the Interior.
Worst yet, the DOI-IG said it has been warning Park Police officials for years to fix the problem, but those warnings were met with a "decade-long theme of inaction and indifference."
Acting on an anonymous tip, the DOI-IG launched an investigation into how the USPP — the law enforcement agency that watches over the National Mall and other federal landmarks across the country — manages its weapons inventory. The report that resulted shows agency officials have no idea how many weapons they have now or how many they have lost, plus, they can't track down those that are missing.
"Commanders, up to and including the Chief of Police, have a lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management," the DOI-IG said.
The investigation found that more than 1,400 extra weapons — including military-style automatic and semiautomatic rifles — were unaccounted for by USPP. Almost 200 handguns were transferred from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and stored in a facility room without being recorded.
The DOI-IG conducted unannounced reviews of storage areas in Washington, D.C.; Staten Island, N.Y.; San Francisco, Calif. and a training center in Brunswick, Ga. between February 11 and February 15.
Though there is no evidence the guns reached the hands of criminals, USPP's mismanagement could result in "theft and misuse of firearms, and the ability to conceal the fact if weapons were missing," the DOI-IG said.
The IG had 10 recommendations for the USPP. Park Police officials offered no response to the report in its official release.
Go here for the full report.