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Search for fugitive ex-cop sets region on edge

By Tami Abdollah

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 12:09 a.m. MST

The search scaled down as the weekend went on, but a helicopter with heat-seeking technology scanned the area as two-dozen officers went back to some of the 600 cabins they earlier visited door to door.

With little apparent evidence pointing to Dorner's whereabouts, worrisome questions emerged: How long could the intense search be sustained? And, if Dorner continues to evade capture, how do authorities protect dozens of former police colleagues whom he has publicly targeted?

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department has deployed 50 protection details to guard officers and their families who are deemed targets in Dorner's manifesto.

"It can't be one guy with a gun in a living room," Smith said, suggesting that more officers would be necessary to keep families safe.

The department, however, is looking for alternatives if the search for Dorner stretches on, whether it's reducing the numbers of officers or something else, he said.

There were no plans to reduce protections until Dorner was in custody, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez.

As long as Dorner's whereabouts are unknown, the police department must provide protection to those named in his rant, said Chuck Drago, a Florida-based police consultant.

"We realize it costs money and it gets expensive, but this is as clear of a threat as you can get," he said. "We know that if he's able to get to these targets then he's probably able to hurt them. The money is always an issue but not when it's somebody's life at stake."

If the search drags on, the LAPD will likely find safe houses for the targeted individuals, much as they would for witness protection participants, instead of posting officers outside their homes, Drago said.

LAPD has remained on either a modified or full tactical alert since the ordeal began, responding only to priority calls and not to those for lesser issues such as public intoxication or business disputes.

Authorities Sunday morning had six cars protecting Capt. Phil Tingirides, who chaired a disciplinary panel that stripped Dorner of his badge. Black and white police cruisers were posted on each end of his street and four more were parked outside his home. At least a half-dozen officers were visibly standing guard.

Meanwhile Palacio, who has to navigate the heavy police presence to get to and from his home, said his family is trying to keep routines normal.

"Life goes on," he said, "and we're doing our thing."

Key events in the search for former L.A. police officer

Sunday, Feb. 3: An assistant women's college basketball coach and her fiance are found shot to death in their car in Irvine, Calif. Police learn later the woman was the daughter of a retired Los Angeles police captain who represented Dorner in disciplinary hearings that resulted in his dismissal from the force.

Monday, Feb. 4: Some of Dorner's belongings, including police equipment, are found in a trash bin in suburban San Diego, linking him to Irvine killings.

Wednesday, Feb. 6: Police announce finding Dorner's manifesto online.

10:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6: A man matching Dorner's description makes a failed attempt to steal a boat from a San Diego marina. An 81-year-old man on the vessel is tied up but otherwise unharmed.

1:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 7: LAPD officers, protecting person named in manifesto, chase a vehicle they believe is Dorner's. One officer is grazed in the forehead by a bullet during a shootout, and the gunman flees.

A short time later, a shooter believed to be Dorner ambushes two Riverside police officers during a routine patrol. One officer is killed, and the other critically injured.

2:20 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 7: A shuttle bus driver turns in a wallet with an LAPD badge and a picture ID of Dorner to San Diego police. The wallet was found less than five miles from the boat, near San Diego International Airport.

5 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 7: LAPD officers guarding a manifesto target in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance open fire on a truck they mistakenly believe to be Dorner's. A mother and daughter delivering the newspaper are injured.

8:35 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 7: Police find a burned-out pickup truck near the Big Bear ski area in the San Bernardino Mountains. Six hours later, authorities identify it as Dorner's.

9:40 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 7: Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego is locked down after a Navy worker reports seeing someone who resembles Dorner.

4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7: Authorities search a Las Vegas-area home belonging to Dorner and leave with several boxes of items. They say no weapons were found but decline to disclose what was discovered.

Friday, Feb. 8: Dozens of searchers hunt for Dorner in the freezing, snowy San Bernardino Mountains after losing his footprints near the site where the truck was found. Authorities search Dorner's mother's house in La Palma and collect 10 bags of evidence.

Saturday, Feb. 9: Helicopters equipped with heat-seeking technology resume search for Dorner in the mountains near Big Bear.

Sunday, Feb. 10: Authorities announce $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner's arrest.

Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed. Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LATams.

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