Deputies apologize for leaving starter pistol at elementary school

Channel 2's Richard Elliot reports

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is apologizing after three deputies accidentally left a .22 caliber pistol in the playground of Mt. Carmel Elementary School following a K-9 demonstration.
 
"We just have to apologize to the students and the parents of Mt. Carmel Elementary," said Col. Jeff Nalley, of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.  "We just hope nothing like this ever happens again and try to make some safeguards tonight and tomorrow to prevent anything like this from occurring in the future."
 
According to Nalley, the K-9 unit was doing a demonstration for Mt. Carmel students and part of that demonstration requires a deputy to fire two blanks into the ground then drop the gun before one of the dogs chases him. Usually the deputies pick up the .22 caliber pistol, but for some reason, Nalley said, this time they did not.
 
"We made a mistake," said Nalley. "The deputies didn't follow the protocol that they always have in the past, so this is the first incident that I'm aware of that's ever occurred."
 
Nalley said two students discovered the pistol in the playground later Monday and alerted school officials. Those officials put Mt. Carmel on a Code Yellow lockdown and alerted the Sheriff's Office.
 
Douglas County's K-9 Unit is widely recognized as one of the best, not only in the state, but around the country. Nalley said this incident gives the entire Sheriff's Office a black eye.
 
Nalley said all three deputies will be disciplined and their protocols will be reviewed.