MORGAN TOWNSHIP | A school resource officer left his loaded handgun behind Tuesday in a locked staff restroom in the elementary/middle school section of Morgan Township School.
Officer Dale Marshall, who works for the Kouts Police Department, removed the gun while using the restroom and forgot to place it back in its holster while responding to an emergency text message, according to East Porter County School Corp. Superintendent Rod Gardin.
The locked handgun was discovered by a teacher entering the restroom and the gun was identified within a couple of minutes of being left behind as a police weapon by Principal Dolores Mueller, who also serves as a Kouts police officer, Gardin said.
While the single-user restroom is accessed off a school hallway, the door is locked and no students came in contact with the gun, Gardin said.
Gardin said Kouts Police Chief Jim Smith told him disciplinary action will be taken against Marshall.
Smith said the matter was handled according to policy and Marshall will remain on as school resource officer.
He said the gun was in a retention holster, which requires knowledge of how to remove it. The bathroom door also is self-locking, a fact Smith remembers from his time as school resource officer.
Marshall, who also helps coach track at the high school, began this school year as a resource officer and has performed well, Gardin said.
"No question about his capabilities," he said.
Smith said he filled in Wednesday as resource officer at the school because Marshall was out late the night before working a local burglary.
Morgan Township Elementary Principal Michelle Friesen-Carper sent a letter to parents and guardians of students explaining the situation. Gardin said he knew of no negative reactions to the news.