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Officer In Trouble For Trying To Keep Confiscated Gun

NewsChannel 5 WTVF-TV,
BYLINE:Nick Beres,
Link to Article
One Video

Murfreesboro, TN

2012-01-26_Officer In Trouble For Trying To Keep Confiscated Gun_01

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – A Murfreesboro police officer faces possible termination after being accused of forging a signature and lying in an attempt to keep a confiscated gun for himself.

"He altered an official document. He was deceptive with Internal Affairs and he was doing it all for his own personal gain," said Kyle Evans, spokesperson with the Murfreesboro Police Department.

Evans said Officer Mike Fowler took a Jennings .22 caliber handgun after instructor Wanda Lewis at the Gateway Barber College reported finding the weapon in a drawer. Fowler turned the gun in to evidence to hold until the owner could be found.

Investigators said Fowler wanted the gun after it wasn't claimed, and forged Lewis' signature on the property receipt and planned to convince her to get it for him. Lewis refused and told investigators the signature on the form was not hers.

"I'm sorry with what happened to the gun and I'm so glad it's over," said Lewis.

The Internal Affairs report stated, "Officer Fowler was using his position as an officer for personal gain. It was an abuse of authority. This incident demonstrates a lack of integrity and reflects discredit upon the department."

In a statement to Internal Affairs, Officer Fowler said he felt he did not do anything wrong.

"We want the public to rest assured that when we get firearms, we dispose of them in a proper way the law sets forth," said Evans.

Officer Fowler was decommissioned and placed on leave. At a hearing later in January his supervisors will recommend he be fired.

NewsChannel 5 made attempts to contact Fowler for comment, but was not able to reach him.

Fowler never actually obtained the gun, but investigators said he wanted it for his gun collection. Officials said a Jennings .22 sells for about $100.

Investigators said Fowler violated the Officers Code of Conduct -- an ethical breach – but he likely will not face any criminal charges.

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