Letters and comments for November 3, 2011

By Observer Upload November 03, 2011 07:58 pm
Letters and comments for November 3, 2011

Investigate investigators

To the Editor:

As reported, the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police review exposes deficiencies in both the Elgin Police Department and the city council. Police Chief Lynch is justifiably without his job. Mayor and the city council, even after receiving numerous complaints and a petition containing hundreds of signatures, neglected their duty of annually evaluating the chief.

The question must be asked, “Would such evaluations have prevented the Aug. 1 homicide of Richard Shafer?” The mayor and council should explain their negligence.

Another deficiency references the city’s charter. The question must be asked of the city administrator why 2010 revisions to the charter have yet to be filed with the state.

Chief Lynch seems to be correct on one point. Contrary to the OACP report, Elgin may have submitted a Union County plan relative to officer-involved shootings. The county’s March 31, 2008, plan was approved by Elgin on April 8, 2008. This document is available on the Oregon Department of Justice website. It names District Attorney Timothy Thompson and Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen as co-chairs. Lynch is listed as a voting member.

Union County’s Deadly Force Unit investigated the Shafer’s homicide. The investigation was praised by DA Thompson. However, the question must be asked, “Did the Crime Unit Investigation comply with minimum protocols as stated in Section 6 (1) (d) of the plan,” specifically requiring background interviews? Such interviews would have established Officer Kilpatrick’s history of challenging Elgin citizens with his weapon, a petition drive to terminate Kilpatrick possibly ending his law enforcement career, Shafer’s involvement with such petition and his knowledge of Kilpatrick’s temperament, and Shafer’s experience with his firearms (he knew his rifle was unloaded).

District Attorney Thompson should not have convened a grand jury without submitting these required background interviews as evidence.

The question must be asked, “When will an outside agency be assigned to investigate the investigators?”

Jack Hoover



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