Letters to the editor
October 11, 2001
Police overreacted, claims Portola man
To the editor:
I recently visited your community for a day to perform X-ray examinations for Dr. Dean Stites and Dr. William Krissoff.
For my lunch break I decided to take a walk along the main drag. As I was making my way back to the office, a female police officer driving a Ford Explorer stopped me.
“So tell me, what happened at the Truckee Hotel,” she asked. I was speechless, all I could do was look at her. “Is your name Mark?” she asked.
“No,” I replied, “My name is Brad and I am working for Dr. Stites and Krissoff today.”
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Before I even got a chance to explain any further the lady abruptly stated, “I know you were just down there, let me see your I.D.”
I had no I.D. on me. I had I left it in my vehicle at the office. “I’m sorry, but I have no I.D. on me,” I replied.
“You mean you don’t have a wallet?” she asked.
“No, I do not, not on me,” I replied.
“Turn around,” she said. “I want to search you for a wallet.” Hesitantly I turned around. “Hold your hands at your sides,” she said as she stuck her hands in the pockets of my coat.
Needless to say I was nervous and humiliated as I saw traffic rolling by. After further interrogation I turned back around. To my surprise a second officer, this time a male, had pulled up. I told them if they would like they could go to Dr. Stites and Krissoff’s. I returned to the office and learned from the ladies that work for Dr. Stites and Krissoff that the Truckee Police Department is brand new.
The general consensus of the office personnel upon hearing my story was that they, the police, were trying to make it look like they were working hard to catch a hardened criminal. “In Truckee?” I asked.
I am not a lawyer, but I think what happened to me is called “defamation of character.” If I were a “gold digger,” I would be retaining the services of a lawyer.
Instead I hope to make something positive come out of this most unfortunate incident to caution your new police force that there are literally thousands of ways to get sued. Working in the medical profession I am quite aware of this.
I would ask the police to let an individual explain their position before considering them guilty.
Brad J. Loomis
(Editor’s Note: Truckee Police Chief Dan Boon was given the opportunity to respond to this letter. His reply follows:)
To the editor:
The Truckee Police Department takes great pride in our level of service and professionalism. Every day, we provide to our citizens and visitors the level of law enforcement services that we expect other agencies to provide to our family members. We openly encourage anyone who might have questions or concerns about the department to contact us immediately. This is especially true if the concern involves possible misconduct by any employees of the department. Such concerns should be immediately brought to the attention of the on-duty Watch Commander who can be notified by calling 550-2320.
In regards to Mr. Loomis’ letter sent to the editorial staff at the Sierra Sun, it must be noted that the officers of the Truckee Police Department were investigating an incident reported by the staff of the Truckee Hotel.
A member of the hotel staff had encountered a suspicious male subject sleeping on a sofa in a hallway of the hotel. When the staff member approached the subject and began questioning him about which room he was staying in, the suspect ran away from the hotel. Staff at the hotel gave chase to the subject, eventually catching him and obtaining identification from him. Staff then contacted the Truckee Police Department with this information.
When officers checked the subject’s identification, they learned the subject had an outstanding felony arrest warrant for his arrest for violation of vehicle theft. When officers were responding to the area where the subject was last seen, they saw a male subject who matched the hotel staff’s description of the wanted subject.
An officer did contact the subject, later determined to be Mr. Loomis, calling him by the name of the wanted subject. Mr. Loomis did not respond, which is usually the typical response an officer gets when approaching such subjects that do not want to be arrested. The officer then asked Mr. Loomis what his name was and he told the officer his name.
When the officer asked Mr. Loomis for identification, Mr. Loomis told the officer he did not have any identification on him, which is also a standard practice for wanted subjects who do not wish to be identified and arrested. The officer also explained to Mr. Loomis why he was being detained. The officer then informed Mr. Loomis that he should stand still and keep his hands to his side so the officer could check for any possible identification, and Mr. Loomis complied.
At about this same time, a second officer from the department arrived. This is a common safety practice for officers involved in the potential service of a felony warrant. It was about this same time, that officers determined that Mr. Loomis was not the outstanding wanted subject they were attempting to locate.
In total, Mr. Loomis was properly detained for about two minutes, the length of time it took the officer to clearly establish that Mr. Loomis was not the wanted subject. In this situation, the officer had sufficient probable cause to initiate contact with Mr. Loomis and to lawfully detain him.
Officers often find it necessary under specific circumstances to detain individuals to establish their identification. Such circumstances nearly always relate to an officer investigating suspicious activity or known criminal activity.
It should be noted that shortly after their contact with Mr. Loomis, officers did locate and apprehend the wanted subject they had been looking for when they detained Mr. Loomis.
We encourage Mr. Loomis to contact the department if he should have any questions about our practices and procedures, as we are here to serve the community by providing professional law enforcement services at all times.