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Published: Tuesday, July 1 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Sister McGoo
Cushing, OK

I find this letter hateful and misguided. No one is putting animals above people. however, it does seem to me that you saying that it is OK for police to shoot any and all dogs in a neigborhood if a child goes missing. Dogs that are secure and contained on private property. meter readers, repair men, delivery people, assessors all come into contact with neighborhood dogs, all without the need to carry guns and shoot dogs. There were so many other options open to this officer, not the least of which was dont enter the yard until Geist was restrained the the owner or animal control. i do blame this officer. I find Cheif Burbanks callousness unacceptable. Maybe you might try walking in our shoes, who count our pets as family. We don't like it when our children are shot in cold blood.

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

I doubt that if the officer had seen the child being cornered by the dog anyone would be upset by the outcome of the officer shooting the dog. No one is claiming the life of a dog is greater than that of a child.

However, especially in light the child was found at home, I want to see the officers justification for violating 4th amendment rights and trespassing laws to search a fenced off area with an expectation of privacy. Officers have to exercise extreme caution before they violate Constitutional liberties. Unless he had some suspicion that the child was there (like actually seeing the child, or some sign of the child back there) he had NO business being back there.

If I were the owner of the home and came home to find an officer back there, my first action would be to ask for a warrant, and barring a warrant I would ask him to leave.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Nobody's putting animals above people. The officer showed incredibly poor judgment, though, firing a gun in a quiet neighborhood and killing a dog.

As a missionary I dealt with plenty of ill-tempered dogs without a revolver. Why couldn't he?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Sister McGoo,
She didn't say that. You are putting YOUR words in HER mouth. That's not fair.

She never said, "it is OK for police to shoot any and all dogs in a neigborhood if a child goes missing".

Stop being over-dramatic. This situation is sensitive enough without you throwing stuff like that (which she never said) into the situation (obviously to cause Contention, and escalate the bad feelings towards police).

We need to start healing... not keep adding insults and putting insulting words people didn't say out there AS IF they DID say them (to get people riled up).

Nobody thinks it's OK to shoot all dogs in the neighborhood... if a child goes missing.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I don't know what happened other than the dog was killed by a cop. All I know is he should of apologized. Humility is the best defense from being humiliated.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@george of the jungle,
The officer has apologized. The DEPARTMENT has apologized... over and over. But some people won't let it go.

The officer is not happy about what happened, I can assure you.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Yes, Darrel, the child was found at home. But at the time of this incident, did the officer know that the child would be found there? No.

A missing child is considered an emergency. In an emergency, police officers have the right to enter yards and even, in some cases, homes if necessary.

If it had been your child, and if the results had been tragic --- or even if your child had been found asleep inside a box under a blanket in the basement, as was the case here --- would you want the officer to bypass anyplace in searching for the child?

This entire episode is one of the most overblown and idiotic things that's happened around here in a long time. There has been more whining and whimpering about that dog than there has been since the GOP began their whining and whimpering when Obama was elected.

None of us know what the officer was confronted with. This is one more case that supports the need for officers to be wearing cameras. But there are those who think that's a violation of their rights, too.

FreedomFighter41
Provo, UT

Humans are more important than dogs.

Sorry, but it's true.

Deal with it. Get another pet.

HaHaHaHa
Othello, WA

Exactly right 2 bits.

Zero hate in this letter. Not much consideration for those who show zero consideration for police officers , but no hate. I have seen people posting online that they would like to shoot the officer. Way over the top and don't tell me your not putting animals above humans. That's a lie!
I don't think any of us know all the facts in this case, and NON of us were in the officers situation. You need to realize also what they were looking for. A boy that wandered off or a boy that was taken? May not have been a toddler who happened to wander off on his own. We live in a day and age of depraved individuals and predators, so likely looking a little more thorough then you might imagine.
All that being said, I agree with private property rights and it does sound like this situation could have been handled better. Owner sounds like he was legally and responsibly holding his dog on his property. City needs to be held accountable for that, but I don't think anyone needs to loose their job, unless extreme negligence can be proven.

Sister McGoo
Cushing, OK

i am not putting words in her mouth. If anything she's putting words in our mouths. i have never heard anyone argue, other than police supporters, that a dog is more or less important than a child. Her dimishing the importance of of Geist, or any dog for that matter as a means of justifying the shooting is offensive to me. If a child is missing and its ok to shoot one dog in its secure yard during the search, how is there any diffence if they shoot three? or five? i am not being over dramatic. i am being realistic.

This in not a zero sum game, there was not situation where it was either Geist or the child. the child was found asleep at home. Geist was secure in his backyard. His death was needless and senseless.

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

Presumably none of us were in the yard at the time the dog was killed. Any judgments are therefore speculative and reflect our own biases. Each year there are more than 4.5 million dog bites in the US, some of which are serious. It was a difficult situation and there are no good or bad players. Let it pass.

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

@Sister McGoo

I agree with you. There were other ways -- effective ways -- to subdue a threatening dog (which a Weimeraner is not!) Pepper spray is very effective and very quick acting. This shooting was not appropriate and not well-based, and there should be recourse for the owner against the City. At the very least, the officer should have an unfavorable report put in his file and go through some rigorous remedial training concerning how to handle animals when he invades their yards.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Furry1993,

How do YOU know there were more effective ways???

You don't even know the situation details! At least I haven't heard a full explanation of where he was and where the dog was. But you seem willing to judge him on your ASSUMPTIONS of what happened.

I doubt he just reached over the fence and shot the dog so he could get in...

I assume (which means I may be wrong) that he entered the back yard to search (not knowing there was a dog) and during his search was caught off guard by a snarling dog charging him.

In that situation you don't have time to determine the breed of the dog, determine if it could be harmful or not, determine what the dog's mind-set is at the moment. Etc. You have to protect yourself.

I'm pretty sure if he thought he could get out before the dog got him... he would have.

He wasn't out looking for a dog to kill. Or killing any dogs that prevented him from getting into back yards.

silo
Sandy, UT

@2 bits
"But you seem willing to judge him on your ASSUMPTIONS of what happened."

yet you are doing EXACTLY the same. Judging the character of this officer based on your assumptions of what happened. The difference is that you are assuming his intentions were noble and that he followed policy.

No one has that information from the police department, and even when they get that info, there were only two witnesses to the event, and one is dead. The other may be truthful, or may be covering up.

Outside of that, the public deserves to know what the policy is in these situations and whether the officer followed the policy. They deserve to know why the child was found 30 minute before this dog was shot and no 'stand down' order was issued. They deserve to know what authority allowed an officer on private property without a warrant, and what is the extent of that authority.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

silo,

I made it clear I was making an assumption (because we don't KNOW the circumstances) and it was hypothetical. The other comments seem to assume they KNOW what he did.. and why he did it. There's a difference.

We don't know why he decided to shoot. But we know officers are trained to only reach for their weapon IF their life is in danger. They train on that pretty intensely. And they're pretty good at only using their weapon when it's needed.

Some mistakes have been made. But we should not AUTOMATICALLY assume he did wrong.

I agree with the rest of your comment. We need to know what happened.

We already know what department policy is, that's published and common knowledge. You only use your weapon IF you think your life is in danger.

Courts have already ruled on when you need a warrant and when you don't. Police DON'T need a warrant to enter your yard, they DO to enter your house.

Why they were searching 30 minutes after the boy was found... they must explain. But that's not the officer's fault (unless he had his radio off)

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

He right's hate of any government, even those who put their lives in danger every single day is reaching silly levels now.

Repubs, give it up. Stop trying to make this a political issue.

Yes, it's sad that the police over did this. But he felt like his life was in danger. Had parents done their job then they wouldn't have even needed government assistance.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

2 bits

It any one would of mention or even in this peace as "the officer that has apologized", I wouldn't of said any thing. So it's more important to be humble than to have companions, sometimes.

Utah Dem
Ogden, UT

Yes we are all making assumptions, we have to as the SLCPD has stated it would take one month to investigate. One month seems excessive to me. I have written previously that I just don't understand how the officer could have thought a three year old had unlatched a gate, re-latched it upon entering a yard.
Haven't seen any photos of the backyard - what kind of fence and gate does Mr. Kendall have, anyone know?

one old man
Ogden, UT

Utah Dem -- if it had been your child missing would you have wanted the officer to search every possible place?

Remember, sometimes children are carried off by adults. Adults who can open and latch a gate. Remember the little girl found in a garbage can behind a neighboring home?

Utah Dem
Ogden, UT

One old man - it really doesn't matter whose child it is. Since we only have the local media to tell the story we are going to make assumptions and second guess what officer Olsen did and could have done. Was it a chain linked fence that he could see through? Was it a wooden or vinyl fence where he thought he needed to open the gate? We don't know because Olsen is silent and Burbank thinks it should take one month to ask Olsen what happened.

I own two dogs and when anyone comes on to our property my dogs barks and let's us know. So yes search everywhere but be sensible about the search.

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