Southern California

Local Police Agencies Suspended From Federal Program After Guns Go Missing

The weapons were given to local agencies as part of a program to aid police. But some departments have been suspended after guns went unaccounted for.

The Pentagon's so-called 1033 program -- dating back to the late 1990s -- was supposed to give local law enforcement a helping hand.

Hundreds of pieces of equipment, including military-grade weapons were loaned - indefinitely - to departments across the country with two big conditions: they had to be used for public safety and the agencies had to keep track of them.

“They're almost immediately suspended once there's a discrepancy found,” said Kelly Huston, deputy director of the California Office of Emergency Services

Two Southern California agencies are among dozens nationwide that are now ineligible for the program, after heavy-duty weapons seem to have gone missing, according to recently released documents.

In the case of the Arcadia Police Department, the discrepancy was a Colt 1911 semi-automatic pistol.

During an inspection by the state’s Office of Emergency Services, the gun could not be found.

“They need to figure out where it's at, and show us what they've done to find it,” Huston said.

The Huntington Beach Police Department lost track of a military-grade M-16 assault rifle.

Calls from NBC4 to Huntington Beach police officials for comment were not returned.

As a result of the guns going missing, state officials said both departments have been suspended from the 1033 program since 2013.

“Anytime they lose track of it -- especially in this case, rifles -- that's a big concern of ours,” Huston said.

Captain Paul Foley of the Arcadia Police Department, said there was an explanation for the gun that went missing from his department.

“We have to take responsibility. It's on us. That's why we got suspended," he said. But he said the government’s shipment, which recorded 15 guns, only contained 14, according to Arcadia police records.

“The number of guns they sent us doesn't match the number we received,” he said.

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