Local law enforcement is required by law to provide an inventory of military equipment. As Bishop Police Chief Rick Standridge explained at last Thursday’s Town Hall, that requirement was his catalyst to open lines of communication with the community he has served for the last 18 months.
For those whose only knowledge of police procedure comes from watchingtelevision, Standridge’s comments and responses to questions went a long way in developing those lines.
Standridge started with the list of equipment and specific uses. The Colt M-4, the most
common AR-15, is also the most effective weapon in an active shooter response, far more
effective than a hand gun, he explained. The department made an attempt to trade-in some
equipment specifically designed for SWAT details, but “we couldn’t get rid of them,” he said.
That equipment, as well as an armored personnel carrier is currently available to the Inyo
County Sheriff’s Department.
The shift toward active shooter equipment came after Columbine in 1999. Standridge explained
the responders to the school shooting were out-gunned. The department has no plans to
purchase additional lethal equipment, as Standridge’s preference is for “less than lethal.” Any
future purchases would go before the Bishop City Council during the budget process.
On the department’s plans to acquire a canine, Standridge explained his department doesn’t
currently have a canine-trained officer. In the future, his preference would be for a dog trained
to smell out drugs and explosives, rather than one trained to bite. In response to using a drug-
sniffing dog in schools, he said there were legalities that prevented schools from making that
In terms of current crime trends, Standridge said petty theft topped the list; most of those
cases were drug-related with the thefts focused on getting money to make a buy. Meth,
cocaine and pot were the drugs of choice with heroin making a comeback.
The other “trend” was car thefts. Of the twelve cases, six were stolen when the owner started
the vehicle, then left it running to warm-up. All 12 were recovered, but Standridge said those
vehicles weren’t in the same condition prior to the theft.
Looking ahead, department plans include a Citizen Police Academy as well as a youth academy.
With Standridge’s preference to hire from within the community, both programs could perk
interest in law enforcement as a career. Standridge has also spoken with Inyo Health and
Human Services as well as Probation, the District Attorney’s office and state and federal law
enforcement in an effort to provide support for those tasked with protecting others. “It’s
important to have people available who are trained to listen and provide trauma counseling,”