Weapons stolen from police van raise questions about vehicle alarms

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — MPD Tactical is a high-powered unit with high-powered weapons, so much that the Memphis Police Department isn’t telling us how those weapons are secured.

Saturday, a TACT Unit 2004 White Ford Econoline Van was hit by thieves.

They stole a shotgun, assault rifle, department handgun, ammunition and other gear,

“You try to look for ways to enhance security when you can,” said Chip Washington with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

SCSO also has a TACT Unit, and their TACT officers have weapons and gear with them all the time.

“If you are a law enforcement agent you have to be ready at all times to perform your duties,” said Washington.

While Memphis Police refuse to answer if their TACT vehicles, including the one broken into Saturday, have alarms, we know the Sheriff’s Department cars do have them.

“If someone like tries to break into your vehicle and you have an alarm, it will make a sound and go off. It’s audible. So we have the same type of alarm system on all our vehicles,” said Washington.

It only seems reasonable to drivers since law enforcement vehicles have powerful gear.

“Beep beep. That’s all you gotta do. If I had guns in the car, I would hit it three times,” said Ben Williams as he showed how he sets the alarm on his car.

Police say the thieves not only got through the van door, but also into a locked compartment, unnoticed.

“Somebody needs to be fired. If you are gonna have weapons like that in an unlocked vehicle, it needs to be locked down like a Brinks Security truck,” said April Williams of Mississippi.

The Sheriff Department uses internal vaults in vehicles to make it harder to get to weapons.

Southaven police tell us they use the same thing, but Southaven also says considering the $40,000 cost to buy a police vehicle and equip it, some departments may opt out on alarms because of budget concerns.


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