Maplewood police will no longer use the type of firearm holster that let a 9-year-old student access a police officer's gun and pull its trigger at a school last month.
The firearm, still in the officer's holster, discharged into the gymnasium floor. No one was injured.
The Safariland Model 6360 Duty Holster had been involved in similar instances where a gun was discharged while holstered, according to a Maplewood Police Department summary of its investigation released Tuesday.
The manufacturer told the department that it had been notified of similar events with the holster, although those situations were uncommon.
"It's not defective, per se," Police Cmdr. Dave Kvam said. "But there are a combination of factors and elements outside the brand's control. ... There's always a balance between security and accessibility. Safariland can make the holster more secure, but that could mean it's more difficult to access [the firearm]."
The manufacturer told Maplewood police that a new model includes design changes to reduce the risk of misfire, and the holsters are made of a different material.
On Feb. 5, a student at Harmony Learning Center was sitting next to School Resource Officer Lonn Bakke, a Maplewood officer, when the student reached his finger into a gap between the holster and the handgun and pulled the trigger. At the time, police said the child did not intend to fire the gun but was reaching for it out of curiosity. Bakke, who was sitting with students and had the holster on his hip, was unaware the child was reaching for the weapon.
"The holster was a department-approved level 3 security holster, with trigger guard, that typically cannot be touched or fired in the holster, but the child's small finger was able to reach inside," according to a news release following the incident. The firearm, a Glock 22, does not have an external safety, Kvam added.
Bakke, a 21-year veteran on the force, called his supervisor immediately to report the incident. Bakke and his supervisor also spoke with the student and his family and made sure the student understood what had happened. Bakke was not placed on administrative leave, Kvam said.
The police department said it will no longer allow its officers to carry this model or style of holsters that allow similar access to the trigger, and officers will undergo additional awareness training to understand potential risks. The department has also notified other law enforcement agencies to help prevent similar incidents from happening elsewhere.