Sheriff’s deputies dump homeless man in Gorda?

February 28, 2011

Jai Kamke


Store clerks watched as San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies rolled into the remote Highway 1 community of Gorda, located on the southern border of Monterey County, to drop off a homeless man in front of the Gorda Store last week. [CarmelPineCone]

Jai Kamke, 33, was left by the deputies after dark last Tuesday, Feb. 22, even though witnesses say there are no homeless facilities to take refuge from  the cold weather in the remote town of 12 residents.

Instead, Kamke brandished a knife, exposed himself, and threatened to kill a store employee shortly after the deputies dropped him off.

“The manager saw them drop him off, and from the looks of the guy, the manager was concerned about him causing issues,” said Monterey County Sheriff Cmdr. Tracy Brown to the Pine Cone.

After being asked to leave, Kamke, 33, “came back with a knife and threatened to kill the manager,” Brown added. “And then the suspect pulled down his pants.”

The employee called 911 at 7 p.m., but the nearest Monterey County Sheriff deputy was more than 60 miles away.

However, the San Luis Obispo County deputies who had dropped Kamke off heard the call, turned back around and had Kamke in handcuffs when Monterey County deputies arrived.

Brown said that San Luis Obispo County deputies claimed they discovered Kamki near Hearst Castle and that he allegedly told them he was headed north. They also contend Kamke was not drunk when they dropped him off.

Nevertheless, workers at the local store and gas station said that they did not sell Kamke alcohol on Tuesday.

Deputies arrested Kamke and booked him into Monterey County Jail on a felony charge of making terrorist threats and misdemeanor charges of trespassing, indecent exposure, brandishing a weapon and public drunkenness.


Do we have the whole story here? id anyone interview the guy? Maybe he asked to be driven to Gorda?


I am really surprised that no one put the pieces together; does anyone remember the photo of Mr. Du Vaul trying to get himself accepted at the Sheriff’s Department so he could serve his sentence, but they refused to accept him? Perhaps the Sheriff’s Department needs to help out Mr. Du Vaul with his code problems with the county so that there is a place for the Sheriff’s Deputies to take homeless persons who seem to have a substance abuse problem that Mr. Du Vaul seems to have had success with helping. The fact is the action the Deputies did of dropping off the man in an area with no facilities to offer was wrong, period. As another comment stated, was this policy by the SLOSD, or simply a bad judgement call by the individual Deputies? Perhaps Sheriff Parkinson will address this incident in a statement to the general public?

Mr. Holly

Everyone is critical of the deputies for what they did,. I ask you, what would you have done? There is no procedure to assist not only the homeless but also the deputies. It isn’t Sheriff Parkinson’s call to remedy the situation. The cure rests will all of us and the Board of Supervisors, they are the ones who will have to make the financial contribution. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one though because I would guess that the homeless do not vote.

The deputies have very little options. They can arrest the homeless for something. It appears that “terrorist threats” seems to be the new buzz word. Where they came up with that one I’ll never know. The deputies can turn an eye the other way. Or they can try to assist the person as best as they can under the circumstances.

Everyone who criticized the deputies should submit their names and contact information to the Sheriff’s Department so that next time a deputy finds a homeless person or family they can be contacted to add support.



Regarding the term “terrorist threats”; in another thread a link was put in discussing that very term, which is apparently now supposed to be call “criminal threats”, which in reading the account of what the man did, seems to fit the situation. Why both the SLOSD and the Monterey SD are still calling it “terrorist threats” instead of using the proper “criminal threats” is a mystery to me.


“I ask you, what would you have done?”

You have to be kidding me? I can tell you that the one thing I would not have done is dumped him someplace without a wing or a prayer. He was literally dumped in the one place where he could not have possibly found any refuge. That was an extremely cruel thing to do. Would you dump a stray dog out in the middle of the dessert or would you at least find him a place where there is water, wild rabbits and woods to find shade and shelter?

We should all be ashamed of ourselves because we all know that there is even a safe, warm place with plenty of food and a bed to dump even a homeless dog but not any place for a desperate man?

Mr. Holly


You still didn’t respond to the question.

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE under the same set of circumstances?

Please give us an answer to your critique.


“Brown said that San Luis Obispo County deputies claimed they discovered Kamki near Hearst Castle and that he allegedly told them he was headed north.”

We don’t have the story as to why the deputies picked him up to begin with and took him as far as they did however it was obvious that this man was exposed to the elements and needed help. What I would have done is taken him in the direction he was going but made certain that I dropped him near a homeless shelter or someplace where I knew there was a homeless camp where he could find shelter, at least a warm fire under a makeshift shack.

Kamke obviously panicked when he realized how dire his situation had now become and did the only thing he could to get some help. No doubt that he might have been behaving himself during the ride because he thought they were helping him, but they didn’t help him at all.

That’s the least that I would have done if I were the PD. If I wasn’t the PD and it was me, I would have stopped and made sure I bought him a sandwich and warm coffee before I dropped him at a shelter.


Pismo Beach Police does the same thing. Under Chief Cortez’s tenure I observed a Pismo Beach Police Officer in a marked police vehicle drop off a transient in a parking lot 1 block from my home. After the cop left I noticed the guy just standing around acting weird.

I walked up to him and asked him why the police dropped him off here. The transient replied “I was causing too many problems in Pismo and they told me they would give me a ride to Grover Beach so I would be closer to the soup kitchen and told me if I ever came back they would send me to jail.” I then asked him if he lived in Grover Beach? He replied “I’ve never been here, I’ve been living in Pismo Beach for over a year.”

I walked over to the police station and told our police chief of the situation. He was not surprised by my report and he sent a police officer to check the guy out and confirm my story. Turns out the guy was a felon who had been released from prison over a year ago with no where to go, so he was surviving as a transit in Pismo Beach making a living pan handling in the down town & pier area.

Now he was doing the same thing in Grover Beach. However, 1 week after he was dropped off he was arrested by Grover Beach Police for assaulting an elderly lady in the parking lot behind the post office and stealing her purse. The chief told me he would be prosecuted as a felony and would be sent back to state prison, which was the outcome. All of this because Pismo Beach thinks it’s OK to dump their problems into Grover Beach. Apparently the Sheriff has the same mentality.


Unbelievable, I’m surprised these departments don’t all do the same thing right back to each other! They probably do. At least SLOSD takes them to another county, of course they do have a wider jurisdiction! Geezzzzzz


FYI: Chief Bradbury was the Grover Beach Police Chief when this occurred. Chief Bradbury is well liked and respected. He was the first police chief to be seen walking the downtown business district in uniform and would personally handle issues as he would come across them. I don’t see the new chief as much, but he seems like a good guy.


“After being asked to leave, Kamke, 33, “came back with a knife and threatened to kill the manager,” Brown added. “And then the suspect pulled down his pants.”

^^This…for the WIN! LMAO!

What was he planning to do, strangle the shopkeep with his Johnson?

Kinda-sorta takes the intimidation out of the threat, don’t it? LMAO!


Since you put it that way, now you’ve got me laughing too.

But when you think of it, it was very cold outside and this guy was dumped in the middle of nowhere. How can anyone even think that the SLOSD were doing this guy a favor? What else was he supposed to do with no money, no friends, no shelters nearby and in the freezing rain? What are we going to do about all these homeless people? We do need shelters, it’s less expensive than jails and why can’t we put them to work maintaining all these parks that we have had to close down? I don’t see why we can’t provide a place for them where they can sleep, shower and get clean clothes (donated from thrift shops) these shelters could provide a mailing address and a place where they can receive phone calls when looking for jobs. I’m just talking about the basics to get them on their feet and yes many need medication to treat their mental illness. I also know that there are drug addicts and alcoholics that get forced into programs by the courts so why not the homeless? We “HAVE TO”, do something for these people. It’s not as if they aren’t a problem and an expense to us already so how about some positive action rather than a constant , costly , temporary reaction that offers no resolution?

If we would send the million illegals home, we could easily afford to take care of our own, many of these homeless men are vets and we owe it to them.


Sad how his county is so riddled with bleeding heart love thy neighbor types, screaming that we don’t care enough and are vile towards one another, then you give Cindy a thumbs down for caring about a mentally ill homeless man.


Were these officers following adminstrative policy or did they use really bad judgment? Kamke sounds like he was both drunk and is mentally ill and its common knowledge that the mentally ill self medicate with illegal drugs and alcohol.

Lets give the officers the benefit of the doubt – Kamke said he was heading north and wanting to be nice guys they offered him a ride because they didn’t have anything else to do.

Besides being dumped in the middle of no where he had the book thrown at him which means even if he has any employment skills no one will hire him.

Once you start cycling down in our society it doesn’t take long to crash and your classification is skuzzbutt. Ship em out.

Hey buddy pull yourself up by your boot straps.


Another waste of our tax dollars playing taxi. What if there was another problem within our their jurisdiction that they couldn’t respond to because they were taking an evening drive to Gorda?


Not only a evening drive but now perhaps they get to do a paid road trip to Monterey for court.


I have no love for power hungry authority. From this article, it appears SLO Sherrif strikes yet another unfavorable chord with us. However, caution must be taken before assumptions because the guy could have convinced the officers to take him to Gorda. Ahem. Could be. However, if I were homeless and forced to survive miles from nowhere, I might be inclined to get myself in a position of 3 meals and a warm cot too.


Now we know how Sheriff Parkinson intends to handle the homeless problem — go ahead and export them to other counties. Can you imagine the outcry if that guy had actually hurt someone?

As I recall, the SLO County border ends just after Ragged Point, so why didn’t they just leave him off there? Why drive out of their jurisdiction the extra 10 miles up to Gorda?