Police counter policy unlikely to change
A citizen’s complaint that the South Lake Tahoe Police Department failed to take a child endangerment report in a timely manner led to an investigation by the El Dorado County Grand Jury.
Chief of Police and Fire Brad Bennett has looked into the matter and said his employees followed departmental policy. Bennett said the woman who filed the complaint requested that a report be taken when many of his officers were on the street working an emergency situation.
“We received an estimated 8,000 people at the counter last year,” Bennett said. “And to my knowledge it’s the first complaint we’ve had in the two-and-a-half years I’ve been chief. They can wait and we’ll get somebody, or they can go home call us and make an appointment. She didn’t want to wait – what else could we have done?”
The woman said she was told by an employee at the public counter that no officer was available to take her report but that an officer would come by her family’s house to gather information.
The Grand Jury reported that was not acceptable to the woman because she believed a police car in front of her house would cause conflict between her and a neighbor.
Bennett said it is common for a policeman to arrange to meet a citizen at a place other than their home. That did not happen in this case because they had no way to contact the woman, who did not provide her name or phone number at the counter.
The Grand Jury recommended in its report that the police department include a counter report policy in their manual. Bennett said he plans to write out the policy and add it to the manual.
He said he believes the jury’s recommendation that police post a sign at the counter explaining their policy will only create confusion.
“Not to take the grand jury recommendations lightly, but I don’t think we want to change things we do based on one complaint,” Bennett said.
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