DesertExile: Much ado about alligators

12 February 2006

Much ado about alligators

This item appeared on toay's paper:

SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol plans to fire two officers after an internal investigation found they used their service weapons to shoot alligators while working in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, the CHP said Friday.
The CHP said the officers shot and killed at least one alligator and failed to report the firing of their weapons, as required by agency policy, said Fran Clader, a spokeswoman at CHP headquarters in Sacramento. The officers broke Louisiana law when they killed the animal, she said.
“This is an embarrassment to our department and especially to all our personnel who went to Louisiana and served honorably in helping the citizens of that state to recover from the clutches of disaster,� Clader said.
The department sent 116 Northern California officers to the state for two weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, Clader said. They were relieved by a CHP contingent from Southern California.
The two officers are from the Sacramento area and were with Louisiana State Police troopers Sept. 13 when they shot at alligators in a New Orleans-area bayou, the CHP said.
Louisiana State Police referred calls to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which is conducting a criminal investigation. That agency didn't respond to calls Friday for comment.
Clader said the length of the investigation was caused by the large number of witnesses in both states. She said the CHP wouldn't release the names of the officers while the criminal investigation is continuing.
The officers were placed on administrative leave pending their dismissal, but Clader declined to say whether they were being paid.
“Not reporting the discharge of a department firearm is a serious violation of policy, leading us to conclude termination is the appropriate action in this case,� she said.
Clader wouldn't elaborate on how many alligators the officers might have shot or whether the officers claimed to be acting in self-defense. She said she didn't know the specific types of guns that were used.

This shows you where priorities lie.
Some observations:
--With a shortage of officers, and fewer that were willing to go to Louisiana, does it make sense to FIRE an officer?
--Spokes-Person Clader. From experience, Spokesperson is an Officer's Staff Duty job. If Clader is an Officer, she should know: 1. Officers WILL be paid until they are terminated. 2. The CHP has only one approved handgun: a Smith and Wesson 4013 .40 calibre automatic.
Additional weapons are 12 gauge shotguns and AR-15's.

In the years that I was an Officer, out in rural ares, Officers would shoot at coyotes or rabbits. BUt, to get fired for not reporting shooting a weapon?


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