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Police gun storage got sloppy, shotgun missing and backlog in firearms due to be destroyed: Liu
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Brooklyn, NY

OBAMA WALL STREET REFORMJohn Liu, city comptroller, said an audit by hisoffice revealed lax gun storage policy. Acker/Bloomberg

A city audit has uncovered problems at the NYPD's Brooklyn property unit - including a missing shotgun and a backlog of firearms to be destroyed.

The NYPD Brooklyn Property Clerk Division - which stores guns picked up from crime scenes and service weapons handed in by cops - needs to improve its sloppy firearms record-keeping practices , an audit by city Controller John Liu found.

State law requires the Police Department to destroy guns held for more than a year, but the audit found weapons in the Gold St. warehouse that had been gathering dust for more than six years.

"By storing firearms indefinitely, the risk is increased that the Brooklyn Division may lose track of the firearms and that the firearms could be removed without detection," the audit said.

In one case, it took NYPD brass five months to explain what happened to a shotgun that was on its inventory list for seven years.

"They searched for the ...shotgun in the Brooklyn Division's safes, the warehouse and the originating command, but were unable to find it," the audit said.

Later, NYPD officials told the controller's team that the weapon had already been destroyed in 2009.

The audit faulted NYPD officials for inconsistent tallies of the number of guns they collected.

One NYPD report showed that the property unit registered 2,729 firearms for 2009, but the monthly reports for the same period added up to only 1,684 guns.

It turned out the guns weren't actually missing; sloppy paperwork was to blame for the inconsistencies, the controller's office concluded.

"It is essential that the [monthly report] be accurate," the audit said. "If it is not accurate, management will be making decisions based on flawed data."

The audit concluded the NYPD's steps for checking and safeguarding guns "are generally adequate."

NYPD Deputy Chief John Donahue sent Liu's office a letter downplaying the record-keeping gaffes.

"Any reports that the department maintains on firearms ...function only as snapshots of property in custody," the letter said in part.

Donahue also wrote that officials would now adhere to the one-year timeline for destroying guns and that a new tracking system being developed would modernize the borough's firearms storage system.

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