SCMPD vehicles to undergo maintenance after mechanical failure w - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD vehicles to undergo maintenance after mechanical failure with trunk

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Every Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department vehicle will now undergo maintenance after a malfunction had some people worried this week.

The trunk of a squad car didn’t close properly, leaving an officer’s gun visible to anyone walking by.

Someone spotted the open trunk and called police, but that incident left some wondering if police would do more.

The problem stemmed from the trunk not latching properly. A bent brace caused the latch to not align with the lock bar, something the officer could not have known.

Wednesday, the SCMPD Chief Jack Lumpkin ordered the trunk releases inside every police vehicle to be disabled, meaning officers will now only be able to open a trunk with a key. And that’s no small task.

"We have several hundred cars in the police department fleet, but he's starting with the Crown Vics and the marked police cars and then working through the entire fleet,” said Lt. Robert Gavin, SCMPD.

But a member of the "Bullhorn Crew”, one of Savannah's anti-violence organizations, said police didn't communicate with him or the community enough about the seriousness of this incident.

"When it comes down to the police and organizations that are trying to make a change in Savannah, they should be open and willing to help us in any kind of way necessary,” said Shawntray Grant, Bullhorn Crew.

Grant and a handful of others held a "press conference" outside SCMPD headquarters Wednesday demanding more transparency.

"We would like to see the mechanical history on the latch that they fixed. We would like them to show us that something was wrong with the latch. I can go to a vehicle now and tell you that the latch is messed up and I can do anything to it, but until you see it on paper, you're not going to believe me,” said Grant.

The pastor who spotted the open trunk called police on Monday. He said the chief's announcement is a step in the right direction.

"The first thing I thought about, it made me nervous, but I thought about a safety issue. I thought about if this revolver were to get in the wrong hands, what could have happened,” said Rev. Tony Reddick, New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

But police are going above and beyond to avoid another mishap.

"If there's a way we can keep it from happening again, then we're going to take those actions to make sure that happens. And the chief wanted to make sure it was very clear that he didn't want something like this to occur again," said Lt. Gavin. 

Grant complained that Chief Lumpkin was not open with him and did not return calls about Monday’s incident.

Chief Lumpkin said he called Grant twice before finally reaching him. 

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