CHP Lieutenant responds to citizen complaint

chp_logo.jpgIn the wake of the petroglyph thefts near Bishop, law enforcement officers in all branches have had an eye out for clues. In the view of one of the commenters on our website, too close an eye. The California Highway Patrol Lieutenant in Bridgeport investigated a complaint.

According to a local resident, he took friends to view a petroglyph site near Round Valley. He said a CHP officer drove up, asked for their drivers licenses and said he was checking to see if they were removing anything or disturbing the site. The resident posted a comment on our website that reported that the CHP officer said his wife looks through a high-powered scope from Paradise and reports to him anyone walking around the petroglyphs.

The man said the CHP officer took photos of the licenses and car license plates. This resident said the officer made him and his friends feel “very uncomfortable.”

The area described by the complaint is under the jurisdiction of the Bridgeport CHP office. Lieutenant Ron Cohen talked to us and said he would look into it. Lt. Cohen did say that one of the points in the CHP Mission Statement is to assist other agencies. He said his officers were briefed on the activities of potential rock art theft and considered that they would be on the look out to assist BLM and the Forest Service.

I spoke to Lt. Cohen again on Wednesday. He said that he discussed the complaint with his personnel to make sure no one makes people feel uncomfortable or unwelcome on public lands. Asked specifically what officer was involved and what the Lieutenant discovered, he said he still doesn’t know if the incident was exactly as described by the citizen. Lt. Cohen said he has not “had an opportunity” to speak to the officer implicated.

Lt. Cohen said first and foremost his people are not looking to make the public uncomfortable. He said his officers are assisting BLM in the petroglyph case and sometimes things people do prompt an inquiry.

Lt. Cohen said he did personally speak with the man who complained on our website and assured him the CHP does not want to make people feel unwelcome on public land. He did confirm that officers do use their cell phones to shoot pictures of identification for accuracy’s sake. He said they write down the information in computers later and destroy the photos.

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Sean
Sean
8 years ago

So many of you haters are so clueless as to the written law, case law, and to the tactics and training of our officers. This goes all the way to the Supreme Court. The officers are acting within the authority given to them under law. If you don’t like it… Read more »

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
8 years ago
Reply to  Sean

Calm down Sean. No one is expressing “hate”. Loving liberty and being concerned about officious government intrusion is not “hate”. You happen to believe that what the CHP has done is just fine, dandy and legal. Others do not share your view and this does not mean they are “haters”… Read more »

sean
sean
8 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

A good place to start any debate is with facts and reality. Things most comments seem to be short of when people make comments to the effect we live in Nazi Germany and all the police are out to get all the civilians. The case law is very clear on… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  sean

A better idea – stay in balance. Remain aware of yourself and others. Try to understand situations, and if you feel wronged go to higher authorities
and express your concern. Life is already too complicated to carry around copies of legal source books.
Benett Kessler

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
8 years ago
Reply to  sean

Well Sean, the only place you express “hate” in your latest is for how you feel about offending my sensibilities, so we’re making progress. “Kinesthesia” really doesn’t fit though, does it? I do not see how being aware of my body’s motion has anything to do with “sensibilities”, although I… Read more »

sean
sean
8 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

Lol Tourbillon I was wondering if you would actually look all those up. Yes Kinesthesia does not fit… you pass the test.

david m
david m
8 years ago

Do you think it is okay for a CHP officer’s wife to look through a scope, see three people at a well known petroglyph site right off the road, call her husband, divert him from his duties to come over and harass citizens and run their license for no reason?… Read more »

James
James
8 years ago
Reply to  david m

This chp person is not an officer, he is a sergeant and was promoted from the bishop office to the Bridgeport office because chp generally will not promote within the same office. While we all want protections, this may be going to far. I hope those involved do us all… Read more »

R.R.
R.R.
8 years ago

A fairly unknown local site is now getting way too much air time.
Look for patrol cars in remote areas for other obscure sites.

bishop lover
bishop lover
8 years ago

whaaaa try putting that vest on and do their job.
Glad the CHP are out there. If you are a law abiding citizen you have no worries. That is for all of you above.

Jeremiah's stance
Jeremiah's stance
8 years ago
Reply to  bishop lover

As much as I like acknowledge/complain/address/Wine about things that I don’t approve of, but dang lets keep it real. They day in and day out put themselves on the line, sacrificing their whole family’s livelihood with the dangers they face. I honestly believe if I needed help no matter who… Read more »

trouble
trouble
8 years ago

Jeremiah- their heads are big enough without you blowing them up more.

Jeremiah's stance
Jeremiah's stance
8 years ago
Reply to  trouble

No way Trouble, those inflated heads had done soaked up all they can hold. So there is no way they can adhere to what I am throwing down.

johnjcampnfish
johnjcampnfish
8 years ago

I liked the CHP a lot more before they started using radar guns.

Big AL
Big AL
8 years ago

The problem here is a failure to communicate … some men just can not be reached! hehe Actually … humor aside, the problem here is what some individuals do with their authority. Do they look after something as in this case, the petroglyths, do they wield their power because they… Read more »

Konzo
Konzo
8 years ago

This thread sounds like typical whining from locals who like it when the cops go after the people heading to Mammoth. But, when the locals are stopped, they want the cops to hold them to a different standard. What hypocrites! It sounds like the cop was doing his job and… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago
Reply to  Konzo

Konzo-I want them to respond to real emergency and go out of their way NOT to harass people. Especially tourist. Some CHP dude hiding in the bushes, in the middle of nowhere, does no one any good. “Inquisitive”, give me a break.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

I know some CHP officers that seem to be good,friendly people that are nice to know….but a few years back, had an incident in Independence with a young officer that’s no longer around this area that was disturbing.He pulled me over for going a bit too fast through town…When he… Read more »

Jennifer Duncan
Jennifer Duncan
8 years ago

Frankly, any enforcement towards the protection of antiquities gets a “hooray’ from me. Unfortunately the local theft of the native petroglyphs creates the need for a careful watch. I wonder how folks would feel if their family heirlooms were taken right from there own backyard? I am hopeful there will… Read more »

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago

The problem about stopping the average citizen viewing rock art in broad daylight is that the suspects went in at night to a remote location, out of view, with power tools to cut the pieces out. Also, does anyone think that the suspects don’t know the heat is on and… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
8 years ago

What people seem to forget Jennifer, is that these are our heirlooms … everyone, they are from our past. We as a people, the present generation. When they are stolen, we all suffer.

sierragrl
sierragrl
8 years ago

Jennifer…that is EXACTLY the attitude that allowed Nazi Germany to flourish….America is great because of our system of checks and balances. We need a healthy police presence in our country, but we need it to be kept in check by rules, regulations, guidelines, laws….stopping people for no reason is unacceptable.… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
8 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

And I would like to add .. being stopped for no reason is unacceptable, but if a cop really has a hunch about someone and he stops someone and makes a discovery of someone who is wanted for something, then they did their job. They stop someone … same hunch… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

I was there and it happened as stated! They have a picture of my ID… Bennett can you ask the CHP if it is ok to take pictures of our ID. Am I going to be a victim of Identity theft? Who’s camera was that?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Check the story. The Lt. said, yes, they do take pictures of ID with their private cell phones. He claims once they enter info into a
computer, they destroy photos.
BK

sierragrl
sierragrl
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

let’s see if I’ve got this straight….citizens on public land, not breaking any laws are being asked for their ID and having it photographed and their license plates photographed…doesn’t that go against all law enforcement standards??? Its my understanding that there is suppose to be ‘probable cause’ or ‘reasonable suspicion’… Read more »

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Sierragrl, they need Reasonable Suspicion to stop and detain you.

The CHP gave this video response to your question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqomZQMZQCQ

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Just so I have this straight – once they enter the info they photograph into a computer database that will be backed up from here to eternity, they destroy the original photos, and therefore we should feel better? I wonder what the LT would say if asked whether it would… Read more »

MWTC
MWTC
8 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

I always take a photo and record the officer if they make contact with me. CHP and Mono SO particularly in Northern Mono are out of control with their stops and searches with no probable cause and consent searches when a citizen doesn’t know he can refuse a consent search.… Read more »

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

“he said he still doesn’t know if the incident was exactly as described by the citizen” If I was one of the three people harrased by the CHP officer I would be offended by the lieutenant’s comment above. It’s rediculous that the Lieutenant even responded to the pubiic without speaking… Read more »

MJA
MJA
8 years ago

I am always uncomfortable when I see a CHP with guns hiding along the road that suddenly jump out of the bushes and race their cars with reckless abandon only to catch another vehicle that wasn’t doing nearly the speed of their own. They remind me of wolves going after… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
8 years ago
Reply to  MJA

Funny, I’ve often wondered why the armed (oh, the horror) CHP lurking behind the bush didn’t chase the Escalade that just burned by me as I lumbered along at 65.

tj nella
tj nella
8 years ago

waahhhh.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

“He said they write down the information in computers later and destroy the photos.” They are building a database of citizens they find standing on public land? All the more reason to not show them any i.d. and the Lieutenant has had plenty of time to talk to the officer..… Read more »

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

So the CHP don’t have telephones? The Lieutenant, over a week after the incident couldn’t call the officer and order him to write a memo by the end of shift detailing what happened during the contact? Or the Lieutenant could not have a sergeant interview the officer? This lieutenant seems… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

After making my first post concerning what Big Rick mentioned about Nicki Catsouras and the CHP photos,should have mentioned a few other things BEFORE anyone googles it…VERY graphic photos of a tragic vehicle accident where this young girl was killed…and people wanting to see it is a part of the… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Wayne .. good post, thank you, I wasn’t thinking of googling them, but in reading this post, yes I totally agree without even seeing the junk surrounding this tragedy. Some people can do these things like you say to show photos of someone’s deceased body and joke about it, kinda… Read more »

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
8 years ago

The CHP was also supposed to delete the photographs that they took of Nicki Catsouras…and it ended up costing the tax payers of California over a million dollars. If and only if, you have a VERY strong stomach, google it and you’ll see why. If a chippy can’t spot a… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago

You might want to read a thread on another local discussion forum called The Truth Points to Itself. The CHP have become very abusive and dismissive of personal rights. I used to admire them, even tried to become one many decades ago, but now they more closely resemble the LAPD… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

Desert Tortoise- I agree with you to a extent, but I would say all the local law enforcement have become way to aggressive . Especially up here.Some people are actually scared of most of our law enforcement. I know of one case in Inyo where a police officer was basically… Read more »

bishop lover
bishop lover
8 years ago

Yay CHP. They are always watching out for us, and our lands. Go ahead leave your negative comments about this post…. but it was first.
I love the California Highway Patrol!!

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago
Reply to  bishop lover

Think Lt. Cohen might find time to talk to his employee some time soon. Nice response Cohen, now give us a break.