Job well done by local law enforcement
A lot of rumors have circulated since the bodies of Shannon McKillop,
Frank Scaramuzzi and Jeremiah Johnston were discovered in the past
couple of weeks. But based on confessions from the suspected killer,
police have the perpetrator in jail and the community is able to
breathe a sigh of relief.
Our region’s law enforcement community, from the district attorney to the sheriff’s department to state police and local police departments, did an excellent job of bringing a horrific crime investigation to what appears to be a quick conclusion. Two weeks ago in this column we criticized DA Tim Thompson and the Major Crime Team for not being more forthcoming with information to let the public know what was going on. Though we stand by a belief that the crime team needs to have a commitment to disseminating basic information about public safety and whether people might be in jeopardy when a murder or murders have occurred, it’s clear that the team was pursuing leads and taking the necessary steps to bring the perpetrator to justice. When things started happening, resolution of the case occurred quickly. It was a job well done.
Both Thompson and new La Grande Police Chief Brian Harvey have expressed to The Observer how impressed they are with the professionalism and dedication of our local law enforcement agencies. Both stressed they have not seen in other areas the level of cooperation by law enforcement that they witnessed during the investigation into the McKillop case. That says a lot, especially coming from two rather recent arrivals to the community.
While the community can take heart in the quick resolution of this case, the disconcerting factor that we all should be concerned about is the impact methamphetamine and other drugs are still having in our communities. Gregory Cook, who has admitted the killings, has tried to put the blame on his use of meth. Although there is likely to be much more to the story, there is no doubt that meth continues to take a toll on people and communities. It’s an issue that law enforcement and all of us will need to refocus on.