To the editor:
A few days ago, I became aware of a letter you published in December, "Security guard's action is sickening." I felt a need to reply, when upon reading the letter it became apparent that the writer was not totally aware of what had occurred that evening, Nov. 28.When a store employee was first notified of the incident, a security officer (in plain clothes) immediately exited the store in an attempt to locate the problem. I (uniformed) and an additional employee were informed of the problem and exited the store, going to the area where the woman reportedly had been chased behind some buildings. The woman could not be located.
Upon returning to the parking lot, we were met by the other security officer, who said the woman apparently left the area on foot. Also, the officer said the man who had been chasing her had been seen using the pay telephone in front of the store and had a girl with him who appeared to be his daughter and that after the man used the telephone, he and the girl got into a car and drove from the area.
At this time, a woman driving by asked us what we were going to do about the problem. I informed her there was nothing more we could do at this time as it seemed that all parties involved in the incident had left the area.
A few minutes later, a patrol car that I had requested when I first exited the store, arrived. They were advised of the incident and conducted a broader search of the area but could not locate the woman or man who had driven off.
Incoming reports from that location on that date were checked for the next week, and there was none filed on either a sexual or physical assault.
Whoever the woman being chased was, she apparently did not feel the need to report it to authorities.
As to the writer's "shock" at perceiving the security guard to be "her detective, who would not return her phone calls," I can only assume she was referring to me, as the other security officer was not a peace officer.
I checked my assignment log for the month of March and the first week of April. Of the 64 cases assigned to me, eight were sexual assaults of which two had been victims who were then or would now be 17 years old.
The first case occurred on March 3, was reported on March 12 and was cleared by the arrest of a juvenile on March 28, with the victim and her parents notified the same day. The second case occurred on March 3, was reported on March 26 and was cleared on April 4, because of the victim's reluctance to prosecute.
She was to inform me if she wished to pursue the case and never contacted me. Other than these two cases, I cannot find any that were assigned to me that would match the information as stated in your writer's letter.
I have no doubt the writer observed something in the parking lot that night which required the intervention of a peace officer. However, without a victim and her apparent reluctance to report the incident, there is little that can be done.
What concerns me about this entire incident is the bad image peace officers are labeled with, and no, it is not "well-deserved." The writer apparently was not observant enough to see that a search of the area was conducted not only by store security officers and employees but by on-duty patrol deputies as well.
If the writer is the victim of one of the two cases described, then she also has problems in remembering the facts of the case.
Brian C. Jackson
Salt Lake County office