Length of deputies’ visit to sheriff differs
January 27, 2009
By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE
How long did sheriff’s deputies spend at the home of Sheriff Pat Hedges and his wife, Sandy Oneal-Hedges, following a reported domestic disturbance? Official reports vary from more than an hour, to just 15 minutes, depending on who provided the information, and when it was divulged.
San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies responded January 19 to a domestic disturbance call at the North County home of Hedges and Oneal-Hedges.
According to sheriff officials, Oneal-Hedges called 911 at 5:36 p.m. to report her husband was screaming at her and asked for assistance. A sergeant and a beat car deputy responded to the house and cleared the incident without creating a report
Two days after the incident, Undersheriff Steve Bolts told a CalCoastNews reporter that a deputy and a supervisor spent approximately an hour at the Hedges home.
A few days later, according to a Tribune article, the amount of time deputies spent at the scene had shrunk to less than 20 minutes. Later that night, KSBY reported the call had been cleared 15 minutes after the deputies arrived.
Oneal-Hedges said she is not sure of the exact amount of time the deputies were at her home, but believes it was more than an hour. She said neither deputy wrote anything during the time they spent interviewing her and Hedges. The incident ended, according to deputies, when the sheriff agreed to leave the premises. Oneal-Hedges noted that she is not the type to call 911 merely because her husband was screaming at her.
A freedom of information act request regarding access to the 911 and dispatch tapes was denied. One expert, Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, said the release of 911 tapes is discretionary to the department. He was unsure if the radio dispatch tape – which would verify the amount of time deputies spent at the residence – would fall into the same category.
Nevertheless, the department is required to provide the factual circumstance surrounding the incident, along with the time and the location for all complaints for assistance, according to Government Code section 6254(f)(2).
On January 26, the sheriff’s records department provided a report to CalCoastNews with Hedges’ address redacted. According to the latest account of last weeks domestic disturbance call to the Hedges’ home, the deputy and the sergeant both arrived at 5:52 p.m. and left at 6:12 p.m.
During a 1989 divorce, Patrick Hedges and his then wife, Sandra Hedges, took out restraining orders against one other during their legal separation. Another marriage, to Ramona Hedges, ended in 2003 amidst allegations of frightening behavior.
“I found my husband’s demeanor to be very threatening and intimidating,” Ramona Hedges said in court records.