The Dayton Police Department is installing storage vaults in more than 100 unmarked cars and trucks, according to records obtained by this newspaper.
The vaults will come after the theft of Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl’s service weapon — likely from an unlocked vehicle.
Biehl’s firearm was stolen from his city-issued vehicle around July 27-28, and the city’s administrative review of the incident concluded that there was no forced entry into the vehicle, suggesting it was likely unlocked, according to a memo in the chief’s personnel file.
The city said that the loss or theft of any weapon belonging to police personnel that was result of “carelessness or negligence” requires the city to take disciplinary action and charge the employee for the cost to replace the item, the memo states.
Biehl was issued a written reprimand and was required to pay the city $469 to replace the firearm, the records show.
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein in the reprimand said her confidence in Biehl and his leadership has not wavered, and she credited the chief for making Dayton a safer place.
“It is obvious to me that you have accepted some measure of responsibility and I applaud your forthrightness and professionalism while working through this incident and subsequent investigation,” according to the August memo from Dickstein.
The city manager also asked Biehl to submit an action plan for the police department to prevent similar types of losses of city property in the future.
In August, Biehl sent a memo indicating the police department would install firearm storage vaults in its 126 unmarked city vehicles using forfeiture funds, at a cost of less than $10,000.
“The type of firearm storage vault as well as the installation location will depend on the specific design of each vehicle,” the memo states.
“Storing firearms in unmarked vehicles should happen infrequently, but there are times where it is the only reasonable option,” Biehl’s memo says.
The city and police officials released few details about how Biehl’s Glock 30 .45-caliber pistol disappeared.
The police department’s original statement said the theft took place “during a recent series of thefts in a Dayton neighborhood.”
Between mid-July and early August, there were a spate of break-ins within a couple of miles of Biehl’s house in Dayton, according to this newspaper’s review of police and public records.
Victims told police thieves entered their cars, trucks and sheds overnight and took various items, police reports show.
At this time, there is no new information on the theft of the weapon, according to a statement from a police spokesperson. Police asked anyone with information about the case to call Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP.
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