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Off-duty Fargo cop leaves gun in restroom

A Fargo police officer is facing an internal-affairs investigation after leaving her department-issued gun in the bathroom of a sporting goods store on Friday, police said Monday.

Jessica Homan, a nine-year veteran of the Fargo Police Department, left the handgun in the bathroom of Scheels in Moorhead, said Lt. Tory Jacobson.

Store officials contacted Moorhead police when the gun was found, Jacobson said.

Homan, who was not on duty, had already realized she had misplaced the weapon, and Moorhead police returned it to her on Friday, he said.

Jacobson said Moorhead police contacted Fargo officers about the incident, which he described as "an oversight on her part."

Sgt. Mike Mitchell of the Fargo Police Department, head of the Office of Professional Standards, said Monday he was asked to investigate the incident by Chief Keith Ternes to see if any disciplinary action is warranted.

Mitchell said because of the holidays, the probe is unlikely to be completed until January. Homan is not on administrative leave as the incident is investigated.

Jacobson said officers are typically encouraged to carry their weapons when they are off duty.

"Obviously, she has the right to carry her gun," he said.

A phone message left for Homan wasn't returned on Monday.

Homan's personnel file includes commendations for her handling of several cases, including two sexual assaults - one in 2004 and another in 2007 - and a 2002 death investigation. She was also credited in 2005 for testimony she gave in trials in Municipal Court.

In November 2002, Homan was given an award for enforcing violations of child-restraint laws.

Other than an incident in 2002 in which she struck a vehicle with her squad car, the sole issues raised by her superiors in the personnel file were the timeliness of her reports.

After reprimands in 2006 and 2007 for filing reports too slowly, she successfully met improvement goals in January 2008 and has not been reprimanded since, according to documents in the personnel file.