Washington legislator calls for Sheriff of Spokane Valley to apologize for MRAP remark

matt-sheaWASHINGTON – While citizens have not yet received an explanation for three mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles apparently being stored around Mohave County, a larger controversy was sparked this month by a comment by a Sheriff’s Deputy in Spokane, Washington.

Alex Jones of Infowars released a news report concentrating on a statement made by a Spokane County deputy. Apparently the officers were shopping for Christmas gifts for underprivileged children with the vehicle when a citizen approached and conducted a phone recorded video. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich responded to the report complaining that only a second of video was used and not the whole interview. Jones released an edited copy of the whole video on his YouTube channel.

The remark made by 20-year veteran deputy and former Army member Jerry Moffit was

Well, it’s like you said. I mean, we’ve got a lot of constitutionalists and a lot of people that stockpile weapons—a lot of ammunition.

When asked, next, if the officer thought that people had the right to carry have those weapons, Deputy Moffit responded:

Well, its the United States.

The Sheriff in a KXLY report stated:

There is no way this equipment will ever be used against any law abiding citizen. It will never be used to come and take your guns away.

Those assurances probably will not serve to assuage concerns in light of police unconstitutionally rounding up weapons after the Katrina debacle in Louisiana.

The surprising thing about the MRAP vehicle is that they are in places where one would not even think to look. NPR reported that the San Diego Unified School District acquired one in September of this year after paying the $5,000 shipping fee. Even in Southern California the idea did not seem popular. One reader commented on their web site:

“They can call it a ‘love buggy,’ a ‘student patrol limo,’ or a ‘campus police fun bus’ and then paint it pretty colors, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s a piece of military equipment that is unnecessary and sends the message that local officials are at war with students.”

The presence of the MRAP vehicle and statement by the deputy sparked protest rallies in Spokane in which no buildings were burned or property damaged. There were no reports of anyone being intentionally beaten and no police officer were shot execution-style. One video was released of a speech by Washington State representative Matt Shea who represents the Fourth District.

In the video, he said, “I do want to say, and I want to thank, the Sheriff Deputies in Spokane Valley who contacted me this week, and who said, ‘We don’t agree with the Sheriff. We would never arrest Constitutionalists because we are Constitutionalists’.”

Representative Shea mocked the response of the Sheriff that the statement was taken out of context saying that there is no context that would justify the statement that caused the controversy. “A real leader would have said, ‘I’m sorry’,” Shea said.

He also referenced a Senate hearing in which Rand Paul asked why the national government was giving bayonets to police departments.

Shea asked what training the deputy received which would embolden him to make such a statement. He noted that on May 11, 2007 Sheriff Knezovich brought in the Southern Poverty Law Center in to train the Sheriff’s department. He said that the Sheriff did not know the content of the training even though a picture of the Sheriff was included in the slide show.

This is not actual evidence that the Sheriff did know what was contained in the training. A cursory view of the SPLC web site, however, shows that they are an anti-constitutional organization spewing government propaganda against so-called militia groups. They are probably the group referenced as “A prominent civil rights organization” in the Right Wing Extremism memorandum issued by Department of Homeland Security director Janet Napalitano.

The Sheriff, in the interview, indicated that the use of the word Constitutionalist was unfortunate and the word extremist should have probably been used. The memorandum and the SPLC does not differentiate between the two, however. About five years ago, a video of FEMA training was leaked in which the facilitator stated that the founding fathers were terrorists.

Representative Shea ended his rally speech by saying:

So today we call upon the Sheriff of Spokane Valley to apologize to the community. To apologize to the American People. To conduct a constitutional rights class.

A School District Bought An 18-Ton MRAP Because The World Is Insane by Michael Ballaban
KXLY Spokane

Boy Scout Troop Rescued from West Fork

Flagstaff—Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Volunteers assisted a group of eight Boy Scouts and three adult leaders out of the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon after one of their leaders sustained a leg injury.

On Saturday, October 19, 2013 at about 11:00 pm the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a call from an adult male approximately thirty years of age who identified himself as one of three adult leaders who had taken a troop of Boy Scouts ranging in age from eight to twelve years on a hike through the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. According to the caller approximately three miles into their hike the group encountered an unexpected large body of water that ceased their forward progress.

According to the caller the group was not equipped or prepared to wade through the water that at its highest point was chest high on some of the boys. During this same time period the other male leader who was seventy-one years of age injured his leg to the point that he found hiking or walking to be painful. The reporting party hiked out to the West Fork Trail Head off of Woody Mountain Road which was the point where the group began their hike to call for help. He was able to obtain cellular telephone service and called the Sheriff’s Office for help and subsequently hiked back to the location where he left the rest of his group.

Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Volunteers hiked to the group’s location. Some of the rescuers immediately escorted the boy scouts and a thirty year old female leader back to Woody Mountain Road. A group of Search and Rescue Volunteers remained with the injured leader and administered wilderness first aid preparing him to hike back to the starting point. The rescuers and the injured leader reached Woody Mountain Road on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at about 7:20 a.m. A crew from Guardian Medical Transport met the victim as he arrived and conducted an initial medical assessment. The injured person refused additional medical care and declined transportation to the medical center. The Boy Scouts and their leaders returned to the Phoenix area where they live.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and County Emergency Management offer Community Emergency Response Team Training in Flagstaff

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Coconino County Emergency Management Division will present a three day Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training class in Flagstaff. More than fifty CERT classes have been delivered to urban, rural and reservation communities throughout Coconino County since its inception and we want to continue to share this training with our community members.

The class will be held in Flagstaff beginning Friday, September 27, 2013, from 6 pm to 9 pm, Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 8 am to 5 pm and Sunday September 29, 2013 from 8 am to 5 pm. The class will be held in the Brent F. Cooper Memorial Auditorium at the Law Enforcement Administrative Facility located at 911 E. Sawmill Road, Flagstaff, Arizona.

CERT Classes are offered free of charge by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and upon successful completion each participant will receive a Community Emergency Response Basic Certification and a back pack containing basic community emergency first responder gear to include a reflective vest, hard hat, eye protection, gloves, a four-in-one tool, and a CERT field response guide.

Successful participants who wish to serve their community will be invited to join a team in Flagstaff that meets monthly for additional in-service trainings and assists local first responders during emergency and non-emergency events. CERT Team members in Flagstaff meet monthly for additional training. CERT Volunteers have been utilized during responses to wild land fires, flooding, tornados, heavy snow storms and many other natural disasters. CERT Volunteers have served in a variety of capacities to include staffing road blocks, assisting with neighborhood evacuation notifications, staffing joint information call centers, assisting with Incident Command Centers, distributing neighborhood safety information and in many other areas.

Community members who would like additional information or who wish to register for the Basic CERT Training in Flagstaff are encouraged to call the Community Programs Office of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 226-5089 or go to the Community Programs & Education page of the Sheriff’s website http://www.coconino.az.gov/index.aspx?nid=354
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Lost Hiker in Bear Jaw Canyon Located

Flagstaff––On Monday, August 12, 2013 at about 9:20 pm the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an overdue hiker in the Bear Jaw Canyon area of the San Francisco Peaks. The hiker, a 24 year old male, separated from his hiking companions on their return hike to their vehicle at the trailhead. He was last seen at approximately 7 pm. When the rest of the group arrived at the trailhead he was not there. The overdue hiker was dressed in shorts and a tank top shirt, and only had a water bottle with him.

A search was conducted by Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Search and Rescue personnel who were aided by a helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Unit in Phoenix.

The hiker was located by searchers at approximately 2:20 am on 08/13/13 on a ridge between Bear Jaw Canyon and Reese Canyon. He was in good condition and was reunited with his hiking companions at the trailhead.

At this time of year the weather can be warm and pleasant during the day but can rapidly cool off at night. Day hikers should be prepared with at least the ten essentials when they set out for even short day hikes. Hikers should always tell someone where they are going and when they plan to return.

10 Essentials:

1. Water
2. Food
3. Extra Clothing for the conditions
4. Navigation Equipment (map, compass, GPS)
5. Headlamp/Flashlight
6. First Aid Kit
7. Shelter Material (emergency blanket/heavy duty leaf bag)
8. Fire Starting Kit (be aware of any fire restrictions)
9. Pocket Knife/Multi-Tool
10. Whistle/Signal Mirror

Woman Dies in Supai Canyon After Being Struck by Falling Tree Branch

Supai, AZ—Coconino County Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating the death of twenty seven year-old Danielle Marie Harris of Mesa, Arizona who was struck by a falling tree branch in Supai Canyon.

On Saturday July 6, 2013 at about 4:15 pm the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Officers who are assigned to law enforcement duties in Supai Canyon. According to the BIA investigator, Ms. Harris was staying at the designated camp ground in the canyon with nine other people in her group, all from the greater Phoenix area. The victim was seated at a picnic table positioned under a large cottonwood tree located in the campground. BIA investigators believe that as a result of high winds, a large branch that was approximately twelve inches in diameter broke off and struck the victim who sustained multiple injuries to include severe head trauma. A portion of the branch also struck a forty seven year-old male of Peoria, Arizona who was standing in close proximity to the picnic table.

Medical personnel employed by the Havasupai Nation responded and determined that Ms. Harris was deceased. The male who also was struck by the branch was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and flown to the Flagstaff Medical Center by an Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter. Coconino County Sheriff’s Detectives are continuing this investigation.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Flagstaff Police Department Offer Woods Watch Training and Orientation

FLAGSTAFF—As Coconino County has moved into heightened fire danger season and into greater fire related restrictions, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Police Department, and the US Forest Service are offering “Woods Watch” training and orientation. This volunteer program is similar to Neighborhood Watch and is of vital importance in residential areas that interface with forested land. Volunteers are asked to watch for people accessing closed areas of the forest and for people who are using fire carelessly or against current fire restrictions. These volunteers are trained to be especially vigilant for activity that may be occurring on forested lands in the Flagstaff City limits, unincorporated areas of Coconino County, and on US Forest Service land.

Woods Watch has been very successful in years past. In 2002, approximately 300 volunteers attended the training and assisted Northern Arizona law enforcement officers in watching access points to the forest. Teams of volunteers were trained in the greater Flagstaff area, Mormon Lake, Munds Park and other unincorporated areas of Coconino County. The additional sets of eyes on our community helped keep unlawful fire activity under check. With the extremely dry and windy conditions our community experiences, a fire start may spread very quickly endangering lives and property.

This year, we are offering Woods Watch re-certification and new volunteer training on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the Law Enforcement Administration Facility located at 911 E. Sawmill Rd. Citizens who have attended this training in previous years are asked to attend again as a review and to receive updated information. Coconino County Sheriff’s Office also will be providing Woods Watch training to its established volunteer groups of Search and Rescue, existing Neighborhood Watch Programs, and CERT during their regular meetings. The training takes approximately one hour.

The Woods Watch Program area a commitment to join local law enforcement officers with community members to keep our communities and our forests beautiful, safe and free of wild land fires.

Vehicle Collides with FUSD Bus

FLAGSTAFF—Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the report of a two vehicle collision involving a school bus and a suburban utility vehicle today at about 12:32 pm. The collision occurred on Leupp Road in the area of Copley Drive. To date Deputies have determined that the SUV was traveling southbound on Leupp Road and for an unknown reason crossed the centerline of the roadway and struck the driver side of a FUSD school bus that was traveling northbound.

The impact caused the rear axle of the bus to break free from its mounts. The rear axle of the bus struck the front drivers side wheel and axle of the SUV causing it to separate from the frame. Summit Fire Department and Guardian ambulance personnel transported the driver of the SUV for minor injuries. There were three children on the school bus at the time of the collision. All three elementary school students denied injury however two were transported to Flagstaff Medical Center as a precautionary measure where they were treated and released. The third child was released to a family member who arrived on scene. The driver of the bus was not injured in the collision.

The three students were being transported from an elementary school located in Flagstaff to their homes in Leupp at the time of this collision. Deputies are continuing this investigation. No citations have been issued at this point in the investigation.

Deceased Male Located in Oak Creek Canyon

FLAGSTAFF—The body of the man who was found deceased in Oak Creek Canyon on May 27,2013 has been identified as forty-seven year old Stephen Buck of Washington state.

On May 27, 2013 at about 4:13 pm an individual who was hiking in Oak Creek Canyon called a Coconino County Sheriff Emergency Dispatcher on his cell phone to report that he and a companion hiker were exploring the canyon when they found a deceased male subject. The caller’s location was determined to be off of State Route 89A in the area of mile post 379.5. Upon their arrival Deputies made contact with the reporting party and found the body to be that of an adult male, that was lying face down behind some trees by a creek. The subject was fully clothed and investigators did not observe any signs of injures or blunt trauma that would be consistent with an assault or some other manner of foul play.

Detectives found several types of controlled substances or narcotics in close proximity to the body. Investigators found a key for a U-Haul vehicle in a pocket of clothing worn by the deceased individual and matched it to a U-Haul van that was parked along SR 89A. The van was reported as stolen by the renting agency and investigators learned that there was an active US Marshal Federal Warrant for the deceased subject that was initiated by the Department of Drug Enforcement in California.

Detectives are considering the possibility that the individual died as the result of a self-induced drug overdose. This investigation is being continued.

Tuba City Man Arrested for Multiple Counts of Aggravated Assault

Flagstaff, AZ – Thirty-one year old Clinton Tsinnie of Tuba City, Arizona was arrested by Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies on Sunday, January 13, 2013 for three counts of aggravated assault stemming from an incident that occurred on Friday evening.

Investigators believe that Mr. Tsinnie and the thirty-two year old male victim who know each other hitchhiked from Tuba City to Flagstaff for the purpose of taking care of some business. According to information gathered by detectives from a witness and the suspect, the suspect and the victim consumed a significant amount of alcohol after completing their business. While the two were in the area of North Highway 89 and Townsend/Wynona Road attempting to hitchhike back to Tuba City, they got into a verbal disagreement that evolved into a physical altercation. Judging from statements made by the suspect, statements made by a passing motorist witness, and from physical evidence, Detectives believe the suspect knocked the victim to the ground and kicked him in the head and face multiple times inflicting serious facial and head injuries.

Detectives believe that while the suspect was kicking the victim, the victim lost consciousness and the suspect continued to kick him. The suspect was arrested for three counts of aggravated assault involving the circumstances of the infliction of serious physical injury, the infliction of serious disfiguring injuries, and assault of the victim while he was incapacitated. The victim remains in the Flagstaff Medical Center where he is being treated for his injuries.

Overdue Hiker Rescued from San Francisco Peaks

Flagstaff, AZ – On Saturday, January 12 at about 9:30 pm the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an overdue hiker on the San Francisco Peaks. The hiker, a 53 year old male from Scottsdale, was reported overdue from a one day hike by his family. The initial information indicated that he was planning to hike into the Inner Basin and Lockett Meadow areas.

With the roads closed into Lockett Meadow, patrol deputies checked the bottom of the Lockett Meadow road but did not located the subject’s vehicle. Deputies checked the trailheads at Arizona Snowbowl and located the subject’s vehicle near the Kachina Trailhead. They checked the immediate area of where the vehicle was parked and did not locate the subject. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit responded.

Concern for the subject’s safety was high due to the extremely cold temperatures. At the time of the search, the air temperature in the area was -1 degree Fahrenheit, with colder wind chill temperatures. It was believed that the subject did not have any winter hiking experience and may not have been properly equipped for hiking in cold and snowy conditions.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter from Kingman, AZ responded and assisted with an aerial search. The helicopter crew used night vision goggles and a forward looking infrared camera. While the air search was being conducted, ground search teams were deployed in a Search and Rescue snow cat on Freidlein Prairie Road and on foot from the Kachina Trailhead as well as on an old jeep trail that leaves from the Arizona Snowbowl Mountain Shop.

At approximately 3:00 am a ground search team located the subject above the Kachina Trail approximately one half mile from the Kachina Trail parking area. The subject was lost and had wrapped himself in an emergency blanket and was preparing to spend the night. The subject was responsive but was very cold. Searchers assisted the subject in walking out to the trailhead where he was met by a Guardian Medical Transport ambulance for treatment and transport to the Flagstaff Medical Center.