County keeps safety on DA rifle request
After the meeting (between Gallegos, his Chief Investigator Mike Hislop, Assistant District Attorney Wes Keat, Assistant County Counsel Wendy Chaitin and Risk Manager Kim Kerr) Wednesday, Hislop delivered a copy of the district attorney's use of force policy to the Times-Standard. The paper had asked Gallegos for the policy through a California Public Records Act request on May 18, after Gallegos said the document was not public and refused to turn over a copy.
Gallegos said in an e-mail that he forwarded the request to Hislop, who was on vacation last week.
Hislop said he receive the paper's request on his Blackberry on the way back from Baja California. Hislop said he had already finished working on the policy before the Times-Standard requested it, and has since given it to county counsel for analysis.
”This is still under review,” Hislop said.
Bringing policies up to date 06/01/2007 The Times-Standard
The office of the Humboldt County district attorney made public its “use of force” policy this week, after initially claiming it was not a public document. It was a good decision. Such a policy provides guidelines for use of force to reduce indecision in a crisis situation. Plus, as the California Peace Officers' Association says, it helps create public confidence in law enforcement.
We also feel a sense of assurance that the county, before giving its approval for the district attorney to buy investigators eight AR-15 assault rifles, is asking for an updating and modernization of the use of force policy, and that Chief Investigator Mike Hislop is planning to ramp up weapons training for his people from once a year to four times a year.
The rationale for making sure that investigators have state-of-the-art equipment, including weapons, is sound. In a county such as ours, with a lot of wild remote corners hiding Mexican cartel pot farms and meth labs, officers should be ready for surprises.
But it's important that, in its policy update, the district attorney's office view its role as investigators and not enforcers. They're not Lone Rangers, and have plenty of trained backup to support them.
Comments at TS
But the Times Standard did not print the policy?
On Thursday, I received a call from Gallegos' Chief Investigator, Mike Hislop. He asked about the Public Records Act Request (CAST), if I had gotten what I asked for. I said no, and explained that I had gotten 2/3 of one of the 6 items on the list, and that it looked like I was going to have to resubmit it, since it doesn't seem to me that meeting agendas, minutes and attendance sheets are "evidenciary" in nature, among other things. He seemed to agree. The end result of the conversation was promising. Perhaps there is a possibility that the DA's Office will comply with the request and put an end to the game-playing. I will keep you 'updated.'