The Santa Barbara Independent newspaper jumped in this week with their coverage of the Santa Maria Police Department's attempted arrest of Officer Albert Covarrubas, Jr., which resulted in his being shot to death by another officer on the force, his best friend and best man at his wedding.
According to the Independent, the Police Department had specific information about Covarrubias, which led them to believe that it was necessary to immediately arrest the man.
So the department "sent two supervisors to a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) checkpoint" where Covarrubias was on duty.
The Independent quotes Tom Parker, retired FBI agent and former Santa Barbara Police Commissioner, as saying, "That was one of the department's many mistakes in handling the situation."
Based on what he knows about the case, Parker said that "only a few trusted individuals should've been brought into the investigation" and that "the arrest of an armed officer has to be one of the most carefully planned things you do."
Parker stated that he wondered (like the people of Santa Maria are wondering) why the department didn't wait for a safer situation.
"You have to get the person ihto a position where you can neutralize them," Parker explained. "Out in the public, armed with a gun, is not that type of situation," he said.
Parker also wondered why more people weren't involved in the arrest. "You have to overwhelm them," he said.
The Independent noted in its article that Covarrubias was the 3rd Santa Maria Police Department officer to be killed since December, 2011.
The article noted that officers last month were attempting to disarm and arrrest a suspected drug dealer when 2 officers -- and the suspect -- were shot.
It was later determined that the 2 officers had been killed by 'friendly fire' -- their own colleagues had killed them.
That leaves 3 officers in the Santa Maria Police Department shot and killed with bullets fired by their own colleagues in just over a month's time.
One Tin Soldier thinks that it's no wonder the Police Department has had to bring in members of the FBI's Crisis Management Team, with additional crisis counselors, to work with the personnel.
The whole department must be decimated.
The Independent closes wth, "The citizens of Santa Maria are wondering what is happening in the department that is supposed to protect and serve the public."
As Catherine Lombardo, a Los Angeles-based attorney and legal expert with a background in Internal Affairs, stated in the post CHIEF MAGANA COPS OUT, "The buck stops at the chief's desk." (emphasis added)