Four Woonsocket, R.I., police officers have been punished for failing to find a loaded handgun on a prisoner before taking her to jail.

Chief Michael Houle says the Nov. 7 incident has spurred the department to change its search and seizure procedures.

Officials say that officers confiscated cocaine from Anne Sullivan, 49, but did not detect a loaded semi-automatic pistol in her waistband before taking her to jail. The gun was discovered when it fell to the ground as Sullivan was being transported to district court later that day.

Two officers who had contact with Sullivan were suspended for two months without pay. Another officer was suspended for two days and a fourth was written up. Houle says that disciplinary action against a fifth officer is pending.

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