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home : opinion : letters April 30, 2016

8/27/2013 6:00:00 AM
Letter: Questions the MCSO must answer

A long time ago when I was a younger man, I worked as a peace officer in Southern California. Over the course of my career, I handled many such calls as the young deputy did the morning of Aug. 16. Although injuries did occur on occasions, no one died. Now a man is dead, a mother grieves and a young man will never forget what he had to do. There were a couple of factors that probably had something to do with that.

First, I would never have taken 25 minutes to respond to what was described as "a person acting strange and violent." Lives are at stake and time is of the essence.

Second, I would never have gone to that type of call by myself. It would just not happen. There are statistics on this type of incident that would back me up.

Yet it has happened right here in Mohave County, and it should not have happened. I'm sure the sheriff will talk about manpower and being spread thin and no budget and every other thing he can think of. He will probably not mention that it is standard procedure in probably every law enforcement agency in the country (except maybe this one) to send at least two people on this type of call.

I personally believe that the Bullhead Police Department will not find the young deputy at fault and, I believe, rightfully so. However, the investigation should not stop there. The Mohave County Sheriff's Office and its policies should be investigated top to bottom.

The very first question asked should involve requesting assistance from the Kingman Police Department. There was probably a unit within a minute or two of the incident. Why was assistance before the shooting not requested by the Sheriff's Office?

I could fill a lot more space with questions but hopefully the Board of Supervisors and the courts will ask them. It is time to do something before another man dies and a mother grieves because of the Sheriff's Office failures. It is time for them to answer.

Rick Veradt

Valle Vista

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013
Article comment by: Shame on Our Public Officials for Not Answering ?s

A citizen review board is a good step in the right direction. The city council should initiate such in the city and the BOS for the county. Will it happen any time soon? I suspect not until there are 1 or 2 more questionable incidents.

Also, the Miner's web page has become the "public forum". Why don't the officials respond when there are legitimate questions asked about their realm of responsibility. I have seen comments made by Carole Young, Erin Cochran. Thank you to them. But why didn't both Sheahan and DeVies respond to the questions about handicap parking on private property.

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013
Article comment by: Michaele Lee

He could have had back up. Im sorry but with the exception of a select few the MCSO are trigger happy little boys or overweight aging men. One day I got pulled over for no reason. There was no probable cause. Officer would not tell me why....finally he said it was because I did not stop at the limiting line. Well first of all there was no limiting line. He pulled me over because I looked at him and was driving an old car. I had everything legal, wearing by belt and he could not give me a citation, but what a waste of time and resource. A good half hour harassing a law abiding citizen.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: Richard Wittaker

@ Jim Consolato

LOL really leather strap for proper use? What decade are you living in? Nowadays the most commonly used baton is a asp which is collapsible and has no handle, strap, nothing! We've carried them as military police for the last 10 years minimum so I imagine the civilian agencies have carried them longer!

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: Not to surprised

They way we generally looked at it as officers was that it was unfortunate when we didn't have adaquate backup but that people were depending on us and we had to do what we had to do. Our job was to be there for people when they needed us and that is what we did even if the situation was a little more dangerous than we would have liked. And to Jim, the baton strap when the way of the horse and buggy. I've watched suspects pull batons from the hands of other officers who were otherwise pretty well trained. It happens. Way too often officers get shot with their own guns too.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: Bill Stephens

Rick, how do you know that the officer didn't have back up on the way? How do you know that Kingman police didn't have an officer on the way? You do realize that there are areas that the sheriff patrols that is very remote and takes a long time to get to? How do you know that the officer wasn't in a rural area when he got the call which would explain a longer response? How do you know that the response was 25 minutes? Because that's what the mother said? I don't know the answers to these questions either but I certainly wouldn't jump to conclusions based off what is reported by the media and write a letter like that and sign my name to it without knowing the facts.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

"...if the leather strap was around his wrist for proper use?"

Wow...what decade are you thinking of? Nightsticks, billy clubs, whatever you want to call them haven't been in common use since the 70's. Modern batons (commonly known as PR-24s) have no retention strap. If used improperly, they can kill with a single blow. IOW they are a deadly weapon.

"Why four shots?"

Common training is to shoot until the threat is neutralized. Might be 1, may be 2, may be 6. You are talking within the space of a few seconds. It's not like taking game with one carefully placed shot.

"...can't out smart or outfight a suspect"

Have you ever struggled with a whacked out person? Either mentally deranged, or on drugs or alcohol? I have...and sometimes it would take 4 or 5 people to pile on and restrain them. Unless the offender is very small and the restrainer is very large and fit...it's a losing proposition that you never want to be in.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: Not too surprised

I was a police officer in Needles during the eighties. I remember nights when the whole of Mohave County had something like only three deputies on duty. We were all "cross sworn" so-to-speak in order to provide back up for each other back and forth across the river (NPD, SBSO, MCSO, DPS, Tribal, CHP, KPD, LHCPD) and once in a blue moon Border Patrol when they were in the area which was very rare. I can say that even we on the NPD had to at times respond to rather dangerous calls with little to no initial back up. It sucked.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

Here we go again. I agree with Foxhound and the author Rick Veradt. First why no backup? No backup on the last few police shooting incidents like the case of William Bonnie. Also in the incident of a mental case with a pellet pistol.
Second how can a baton be pulled from an officers hand if the leather strap was around his wrist for proper use? Why four shots? 7 years does not constitute a veteran and the trend here in Mohave County is when a poorly trained officer can't out smart or outfight a suspect, they just shoot to kill. I feel as if we have some serious training issues in this county and we do need a citizen review board. One law enforcement department will always make a biased decsion on behalf of the other.Calling the police is often more dangerous than not calling at all. Another needless death.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Bergstrand

I will take issue with only one point. The fact that you would NEVER take 25 minutes to respond. You need 2 pieces of information to make that statement valid. 1) Where was the deputy when he was told to respond to the situation. 2) At what time did he get the call.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Tinker Toys

As I recall the Sheriff already warned the BOS that he needs at least 130 deputies. There are areas in the county that take a deputy over an hour to respond to an emergency. The county needs to hire more officers to prevent these incidents. But as a former cop the author of this article should know that things can turn deadly in a second and no amount of staffing can stop it.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: not well ` Trained

@ well trained?

Really back in those days there were not as any bad drugs around?

Really....What rock have you been under? I recall in the 70's any friends have problems with all types of prescription meds, Heroin, Coke, Crank, meth, PCP, horse tranquilizers, Qualudes, angle dust, LSD, all types of acids, and yes Pot.....Which never harmed anyone I knew to this day. All the rest was cheap and very easy to get.

Wake up....your 40 years behind.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

you know what's funny, is to read these supposedly thoughtful letters written next to a lampstand at one's desktop computer in the quiet of their home - something like a Hollywood film wher everything is carefully crafted. Then you have the real-world behaviour of our law enforcement heroes and their criminal assets, out to destroy others'lives and get paid for it with a sense of accomplishment and superiority. Billions of dollars are constantly at stake, and even our national policy, gauged upon what they believe they can get away with as they see citizens roll over at the local level in front of police crime.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@the fox hound

"It points out that even the police dept needs independent watch dogs."

Who exactly? Leftist cop haters?

"local politicians don't fill that role."

Local politicians cannot be "independent" at the same time they are party politicians. But hey, I know you just tossed that in as a cheap shot at Republican politicians anyway. Cute leftist trick.

"the tools they need to do their very dangerous job properly."

He had the tools. First he tried to use a "tool", his baton. When that failed, he used another "tool", his gun. He used both properly, did his job properly. You just don't like the outcome and are using it for leftist cop bashing purposes. We all know that even after he is cleared of any wrong doing, you lwill still be whining.

"Police all over this country are over reacting on a daily basis"

First you say you don't blame the cop. Now you say cops overreact on a daily basis. Sounds like you're blaming him to me.

"and their role in protecting the public should be re-evaluated."

By who?.......leftist cop haters?

You make it so easy.


Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Officer Thin Air

I think everyone is looking for the answer as to why 2 officers weren't sent to the scene when every one seems to think it to be a pretty by the book move. I just want to make a theory, not saying it's right or wrong just making an observation. When my father worked as a deputy for MCSO from 1982-1999 he had 2 other deputies on duty with him during swing shift, and even when he went to graveyards. That's 3 officer's to cover ALL of Mohave County, 13,311 sq miles, Butler does not equal all of Mohave County. Back then Bullhead City was part of Mohave County they didn't even have city police. So if 1 officer was in Bullhead on a domestic violence call, another one in Lake Havasu for a robery in progress and bringing the guy to jail to book, and then the 3rd gets a call to a person "acting strange and violent" all at the same time, where is this 2nd deputy supposed to come from?? Thin air?? I don't know how many Sheriff's deputies are on duty these days but the point is they could have all been out on a call just as intense and could not have assisted this officer.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

I agree with Foxhound.

All except the Wallstreet protestors part.

I think they all should have been beaten.

Not for protesting but not knowing specifically what they were protesting against.

Obama is never going to take money from the rich to give to the poor.

Where would that leave his buddies like Oprah, Soros, Hollywood elitists, Jay Z, Russell Simmons and all his other vile millionaire rapper friends?

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Richard kale

Isnt it about time we (the people) look at the problem of crime. It all stems from US (People). I for one dont blame any law inforcement officer or force, it is the people. If they would stop doing drugs or what ever they do, and obey laws, we would not have the problems. The parents need to be parents. I think that if you use drugs, you are in the wrong, and should punished, and if you get hurt while being picked up, big deal, one less person to deal with. Just my thought, and it will never change. So bring on all the sorry answers I will get for this note. Just remember, people are the one causing all the trouble, so dont go blaming someone trying to clean up the place.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: BOBO CLOWN

Rick Veradt you are 150% right...

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: rick veradt

@Trained Observer

You need more training. When I started work in the 70s mental health clinics were in very short supply. Drug of choice was PCP along with Meth in various forms. I wrote the letter because I am a trained observer with extensive experience. You know not of which you speak.
I am confident that many LE trainers and professionals would raise these same issues.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@the fox hound

"even the police dept needs independent watch dogs. Too bad our local politicians don't fill that role."

Hmmmmm. So cops can't police themselves, and you don't really trust or want elected officials to do it. Who does that leave in your mind? You and fellow leftists, right? lol

"This endless drug war..."

Saw that coming a mile away, Cheech.

"During the occupy wall street protest peaceful protesters....."

Was the one OWS clown "peaceful" before or after taking a dump on a cop car?

"..and their role in protecting the public should be re-evaluated."

Which in leftist-ese means. You can't bust me for drugs. You can't bust me for rioting. You can't bust me for anything.

Tell you what. Call for a protest to be held in front of city hall. See how many fellow leftists show up to join you. If past efforts, like the local OWS supporters "rallies" are any indication, you should have a whopping half dozen or less.


Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody sr

I too, was a LE officer in my past, and would prefer that NO officer arrive at a family dispute alone.
but these are different times, and as you said ,budgets and manpower are thin.
no amount of hindsight will change the outcome of that tragedy.
that said, there were NO drugs like there are today, and abuse was not as common as now days. I don't have figures, but just my observation, I'm willing to bet more than 50% of people today are using some form of illegal drugs.
and with drugs like "bath salts" 10 police officers wouldn't have been enough!
don't condemn the Sheriffs office or police. instead blame the problem - DRUGS!

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: PERSON CONCERNED


Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Thanks for your very thought provoking letter. It points out that even the police dept needs independent watch dogs. Too bad our local politicians don't fill that role. They seem to rubberstamp whatever the sheriff does. I do not blame the officer who responded to the call. This is clearly a management issue. Even in times of budget shortfall you don't send someone into harms way without the tools they need to do their very dangerous job properly. In this case it was clearly two officers. I also think that it is time to have a national discussion about the roll of the local police in our daily lives. This endless drug war that we have been waging since the Nixon days has given local police more power over citizens than I think is justified. During the occupy wall street protest peaceful protesters were pepper sprayed and beaten with clubs simply for doing what most people believe is a God given right to protest their govt. Police all over this country are over reacting on a daily basis, and their role in protecting the public should be re-evaluated.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Trained observer

Along time ago when you were LE people had better access to mental health services. There were also fewer drugs to choose from that cause people to be violent.
I realize its easy for everyone to Monday morning quarterback this situation. I realize that the Miner wrote a piece that played up the sorrow of the mother instead of objective reporting.

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