Officer Accused Of Selling Police Body Armor Out Of Squad Car
BY NICK BERES
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A veteran Murfreesboro police officer is stripped of his powers and facing possible criminal charges. He is accused of selling police-issued body armor out of his squad car.
Officer Jason Lowder is decommissioned and on administrative leave. Investigators say he sold the police department's bullet-resistant vests.
"This is government property and police property and he had no right to sell it," said Officer Kyle Evans, Murfreesboro police department spokesperson.
One of Lowder's customers told Newschannel 5 the officer advertised the vests for sale on Craigslist and Armslist.com for 175-dollars each. The customer said Lowder met him at a public parking lot in uniform and with his squad car. The trunk of the vehicle was full of vests.
The customer said he tried them on till he found one that fit and bought it.
"Officer Lowder did have access to the area where vests are stored and warehoused after they are issued and turned back in," said Evans.
But Evans said the officer did not have permission to take the body armor to sell.
Evans said the department replaces worn out vests for its two-hundred plus officers working the streets every five years. The old vests remain police property -- paid for by the taxpayers. Some are destroyed. Others are sold to a company that uses the kevlar to make automotive brakes.
Officer Lowder is off the job.
District Attorney Bill Whitsell will decide if he faces any criminal charges.
Meanwhile the police department has taken steps to ensure something like this never happens again.