Officers shoot wrong-way driver in Santa Barbara County

December 5, 2013

carA Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy and a California Highway Patrol officer shot and wounded a man driving a pick-up truck the wrong way in neighborhood outside of Goleta. [KCOY]

Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, the CHP issued an alert about a wrong-way driver going northbound in the southbound lane of Patterson Avenue.

Shortly after, the deputy and CHP officer found the driver near the intersection of Patterson Avenue and Agna drive.

The deputy and CHP officer tried to stop a 52-year-old man driving a red pickup and fired several shots while doing so.

The driver suffered non-life threatening injuries and is receiving treatment at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The shooting is currently under investigation.


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Your proposal to have a citizen oversight commission would cost Mason his public safety job ! A plus !

They thought he was going the wrong way?


(paraphrased from one of the classics: Planes, Trains & Automobiles)

I only had one spot of tea?

No thanks to the government’s unconstitutional war on drugs, cops have become trigger-happy hoodlums, bullies and thugs.

And you feel this was a bad solution? What would you suggest NorthCountyGuy? I’m guessing you’d say “a neck rub and some free weed”. Unreal!

Um, generalize much? While I will agree with you that the “war on drugs” is unconstitutional and many agencies have used parts of the laws to take possession of suspects assets and enriched their agencies, your assertion about “cops have become trigger-happy hoodlums, bullies and thugs.” is beyond the pale. Sure, there are some bad LEOs, just as there are some in state and federal agencies as well, but your generalized condemnation of all in law enforcement does not square with the reality that many who choose the career are doing so to “serve and protect”, not to enrich themselves or to be able to “kick some ass”.

I personally do not know anyone in law enforcement; I do give them the respect of their position in law enforcement, but will also be quick to condemn any who are rogue or corrupt. I still say we need a citizens advisory oversight committee or council for San Luis Obispo county that would not only investigate allegations of abuse by LEOs, but would have a small amount of legal authority to have an officer terminated if they are found to have violated someone’s rights in an egregious manner, especially if there are more than one incident by the same officer.

I agree with your proposal but I think you are underestimating the degree of the problem. I think that there are growing numbers of cops who are over-inclined to use excessive force (including guns) and that it is a problem being ignored by government in general. It may even be encouraged by some elements (DEA & DHS) within government. We need to take a much harder look at recruiting and selection criteria as well as training so that we don’t end up with a police force with first world weapons and technology but with third world attitudes.

That said, I don’t know that we have a case of misuse of force here. I would have to know a lot more about the circumstances before I would be willing to make that judgment.

You make a couple of real good points; in watching an occasional “cop show” (one of those reality shows that video actual police in actual situations), I notice far too often the officer’s reliance on either a taser or a firearm, with no apparent realization that a simple unarmed takedown would suffice. My assumption is that either far too many officers do not receive adequate self-defense training, or they are not required to keep up any possible certification and instead rely on the available technology (taser guns). I will also recognize that there may be a lot testosterone and adrenaline getting in the way of potential good judgement on occasion, and self-preservation can also lead to an over-reliance on deadly force. I agree with you on the selection and training aspects; I’m sure most sheriff offices, police forces and other agencies would benefit from an introduction of training by an Aikido instructor as well as psychological screenings.

Why would there ever be a need to grapple with a man or woman who won’t submit to authority when the stun gun does the trick without risk of anyone being hurt? Too many police are injured during these senseless scuffles and if the crook hurts himself falling then that’s the risk he/she took.

There isn’t enough respect for the position of authority law enforcement really has.

While I would agree that it is unnecessarily risky for “grappling skills” to be anything but a last resort in most confrontations, I don’t think that cops receive enough training and encouragement in the art of talking and listening. This results in more confrontations than are necessary.

As for submission to authority, I reject the idea that it should be an automatic response to anyone approached by a police officer. A cautious respect may be in order but too much submissiveness is an invitation for bullies with badges to cut loose. We are not supposed to be a society of sheep with the police as our herding dogs.

Too often, LEOs are now demanding immediate submission before determining facts in encounters with the public. If the person they encounter is engaged in threats at that moment, it could be justifiable. But some LEOs seem to make the assumption that everyone is a threat and respond accordingly.

If this is a response to adrenalin, they need to learn to control it. If it is because of insecurity in their own ability to judge who is a threat and who isn’t, they need to get more training or find another profession. If it is because they give in to prejudices based on race/age/sex stereotypes, they need to be taken off the streets until/unless they can get rid of those attitudes. If it is because they were taught to react that way, they need to be retrained by someone better — and their original trainer needs to be removed from his/her job. If it is because they simply enjoy dominating people, they need to be fired ASAP and possibly prosecuted for abuse of authority.