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LAPD investigating officers' handgun purchases

May 25, 2013 at 4:11 PM

LOS ANGELES, May 25 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating whether members of two elite units illegally bought special handguns and resold them at a profit.

The Los Angeles Times said Police Chief Charlie Beck has undertaken an investigation into officers in the department's SWAT team and Special Investigations Section.

A whistleblower lieutenant came forward three years ago and said an inventory of department weapons revealed officers in both units purchased specially made handguns from Kimber Manufacturing for about $600. Their street value is as much as $3,500.

Kimber has contracted with the LAPD to make guns with special features at the request of officers in the SWAT and SIS units. The .45-caliber handguns are lighter and can be cocked and fired with one hand.

Some of the weapons carry the department's logo and marketing of the guns includes the department's badge, slogan and Kimber brags it's the same gun used by the LAPD SWAT team.

The Times said an investigation into the gun buying allegations was conducted in 2010, but was inconclusive. It didn't interview the lieutenant who made the accusations nor any members of either department.

Beck acknowledged the probe was "clearly lacking" and that a new investigation had begun.

Officers may have violated department ethical guidelines or federal law depending on how the sales took place.

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Topics: Charlie Beck
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