I-Team asks why some high-powered police weapons are going unused

CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has found some high-powered weapons for Cleveland Police patrol officers are sitting in a closet.

The city has AR-15 rifles police call ‘patrol rifles’ for use by specially trained patrol officers. Officers say those guns are meant to be used when confronting, for example, an active shooter, or hostage situation before a SWAT team can get there.

However, Cleveland Police say they have 99 of these rifles. Yet only 64 are assigned. In other words, about a third are locked up unused.

We uncovered this as mass shootings are making headlines regularly nationwide.

Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis said, “In this day and age, it's completely irresponsible." He added, “And in this day and age it's very, very important to be able to respond very quickly to crazy. We saw it in Las Vegas. We saw it in Dallas."

Multiple sources say Cleveland hasn't trained any new officers for carrying rifles in a year or more. And we've learned, no new training has been scheduled at least through December.

The I-Team has gone to Cleveland Police headquarters and City Hall asking about this. City officials are not answering our questions on camera, and they have not provided answers to follow-up questions in writing.

For comparison, Akron Police say they have about 90 rifles for patrol officers, and all are assigned. Westlake Police have a rifle in every car, and all officers are trained to use them.