Pima County Sheriff Department “Standard Operating Procedures” questioned

dupnikBy Rob Larson

On May 23, 2013, at 10:00 pm our lives were changed forever.

Twelve officers from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department raided our house.

A new neighbor called 911 and stated that he heard yelling and screaming coming from across the street. He claimed that he had heard a POP sound that might have been a gunshot (the 911 operator used the word Gun Shot, not the caller).

Ten to fifteen minutes later, the deputies surrounded our house and begin pounding on the exterior walls, calling for us (my wife and I) to come out.

We were sleeping in the back master bedroom; we had two swamp coolers going plus a Hepa fan filter to help with my wife’s allergies. We had been sleeping since 9:00 p.m.

When we opened the door, we were immediately ordered to come out with our hands up. Three deputies were in sight, two of the deputies had assault rifles at aimed at us, while a third was aiming his semi-automatic pistol at me.

The adrenaline overload was so high in one the deputies with an assault rifle that we could see the visible shaking of his assault weapon. (This guy was so wound up we were afraid to even stumble as we were led away, we felt that anything no matter how small would cause him to shoot us). The rest of the deputies were stationed around our house. We were handcuffed (I was also expecting to be searched, but I guess they could see that in my tighty whitey’s I couldn’t really hide much) and led 25 yards through a gravel parking area in our underwear and bare feet to the road outside of our yard, we were asked if anyone else was in the house and our answer was “no.” Our house was then searched.

Up to this point, we had not been told why this was happening to us. My wife had asked to put on a robe before she was ordered out of the house, but the answer was “NO.”

After we were questioned, and our house was searched, our new neighbor came out and met with the deputies. When this neighbor was told that there was not any evidence of domestic violence in the house or on our property (this is the first time that we heard of the reason for this raid), the neighbor then stated, “well if it wasn’t that house then maybe it was the house next door.”

The neighbors next door were watching the raid from their front porch, but that didn’t stop these deputies from performing another SWAT style raid on them, (yes they used assault rifles and pulled in a squad car for cover ), again no evidence of domestic violence was found.

One of the deputies then started asking our new neighbor a few questions and he realized that this neighbor might have some mental issues.

Please note that during this raid there was not any kind of supervisor on the scene. In fact, it was almost 60 minutes before we were released and allowed to go back to our house to get dressed and came back outside, before a supervisor even arrived.

These are the facts of this case. As a result, we are suing the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for their mishandling of this event. All of the aforementioned facts are also in the deputies’ reports of this event and in one deputy’s deposition.

During one deputy’s deposition, it was discovered that these actions are part of the Pima County Sheriff Department’s “Standard Operating Procedures.”

Weapons may be aimed at anyone whether they are in their underwear or not (We were clearly not a armed threat). Please see the PCSD Major Policy/Use of Force/chapter 3 /page 1-2 here

Note: It makes me curious as to why several pages of these policies have been redacted and what is in the policies.

Your home may be raided, weapons aimed at you, ordered to leave your house undressed, you may be handcuffed and detained based on a phone call from someone (it doesn’t matter if the person is crazy or not).

Your house and property may be searched without permission or a warrant.

911 callers do not have to be interviewed before life changing actions are taken.

This neighbor had been transported to a mental health facility by the Pima County Sheriff Department just weeks before this happened. With 12 deputies involved, you would think that they could have spared one person to interview this new neighbor, before taking such drastic actions.

In fact, more than one of the deputies involved with this raid has had several interactions with our new neighbor and knew of his mental health issues. The deputies and the 911 operator both had computer access to the records showing that this neighbor had made threats against any law enforcement officer if they came on his property and documents stating that this neighbor had mental issues and had heard voices in the past.

We live off of Bopp road west of Tucson, there have been several home invasions out in our area, I wonder what would have happened if I had been armed when I opened the door (My wife still has nightmares about that possibility).

My wife is currently on medication and is seeing a counselor because of this event. She has not slept through the night since this has happened. We both have several other manifestations of PTSD since this event.

But

● The 911 caller has not been charged with making a false call
● The deputies involved were never reprimanded.
● We have never received any kind of apology for their actions and “The Standard Operating Procedures” that were used this night are still in place.

Is this how you would want to be treated by the Pima County Sheriff Department?

If this is how our Pima County Sheriff deputies are being trained, then I fear not only for my life but the lives of everyone in Tucson and Pima County.

Sheriff Dupnik should ultimately be held responsible for this action. He has been the Pima County Sheriff for 34 years. He is the man who has instituted these training procedures. I would venture to guess that none of these deputies involved have ever known a Pima County Sheriff Department that didn’t have Sheriff Dupnik at the helm.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has no problem handing out speeding tickets, but if you are in a traffic accident with no injuries, they will not send a deputy to investigate the cause and assign responsibility. If you have a theft, you have to go online and file a report, no one will be sent to gather evidence.

Illegal Immigrants are given free rein to do anything they want and they are never held accountable (they don’t even have to have car insurance, so watch out when one of the crimigrants causes an accident, you and your insurance company will have to cover the damage).

The PCSD will come and evict you from your house for delinquent property taxes, but if someone has damaged your house or your property, once again you will have to go online and file a report.

Some people want to blame conservative politicians for lack of funds. I blame Sheriff Dupnik. He has his priorities all wrong.

The Citizens of Pima County should come first!

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21 Comments

  1. It saddens me to read all the ignorance on this page. Domestic disturbances are one of the most dangerous calls that a police officer can respond to. And that’s without any reason to believe a firearm might be involved. I wish those of you that weighed in as to how reprehensible this police response was would simply look at other police agencies would handle a domestic with the possible use of firearms. The fact that the inhabitants said they were ok, were asleep, the officers weren’t needed, etc should NEVER result in the police saying goodnight and driving away. They are trained to realize that one of the parties could be under duress and they have an obligation to do what they can to ensure someone isn’t bleeding out in the home. Many times the victims of domestic violence will turn on the very police they called for help once they see their partner being placed under arrest. I could only imagine what some of you would say if the police responded but drove away without investigating further and someone in that house died as a result.

    I’m certainly not saying that the police in this case did everything right. I do question that this “new neighbor” was a “flagged caller” though. Based on Mr Larson’s own account, it was quite some time before deputies got the impression that he may have been mentally unstable. Finally, the very notion that this couple’s lives were “changed forever” and now suffer from “PTSD” is not only absurd, it’s a slap in the face of every veteran who really suffers from this disorder. Just be honest and admit that you are hoping to turn this errant police response into a financial windfall, and go do your thing in court.

  2. To all Pima County residents
    Please call or email the Sheriff’s Dept. and express your displeasure with how this case and other cases have been handled, Thank you all again
    520-391-4900
    888-477-2328

  3. Meanwhile he is busy blaming talk radio for vitriolic SPEECH?

    Hit the time clock and punch out for good. This community needs to move forward.

  4. Mr. Dupnik,
    An extra monetary settlement should go to Mrs. Larson for the humiliation she was asked to undergo by being treated so disrespectfully by your “home invading” male maffia SWAT team. Modesty and decency were put aside when someone wouldn’t even go to the closet and get a robe for this woman who clearly posed no threat to anyone. What’s next to lower the bar of your team’s professionalism? Sexual harassment or rape of female “suspects”?

  5. There will be another Jose Guerena-style settlement for Mr. and Mrs. Larson. Pima County will pay them but somehow forget to apologize.

    Mr. Dupnik – please, please retire and let some fresh blood in. You’ve done your service. There’s so much more to life. Please give the department a chance to start fresh and clean up some of the unfortunate heritage stuff that just won’t go away while you’re at the helm. Do it for yourself. Do it for Tucson and for those of us in the greater Pima County.

  6. Please remember that according to the first deputy’s deposition “No one was in charge” , he couldn’t explain as to why some of the deputies used assault rifles and some didn’t.
    The real question is Why did they take the word of a caller that they knew was unreliable, the caller had been flagged in the system as having mental issues and making false calls, he was also flagged as to making threats against LE if they showed up at his house. At least One of the deputies has had interaction with this neighbor before, Out of 12 deputies, Why did ONE not go check out his story before raiding our house (According to the deposition, the deputies all met and planned this attack, before they carried it out, so it wasn’t really like “We have to get in there now to help someone” , The Sargent (when he finally arrived) told us he was not happy with these deputies or the way the situation was handled and he would reprimand them (to date he has not). Some of our neighbors still will not talk to us, I guess we are now the neighborhood bad guys now, because so may officers were at our house. Why was our New Neighbor not arrested or charged for making a false call. I wonder what Real emergencies were not covered because of this. Total time on site for most of these deputies was over 2 hrs. ,what was this cost to Pima County? My wife can’t sleep through the night and suffers from panic attacks, my 20 year old daughter is afraid to stay at home alone, They must have done something to our 4 dogs, because they ran and hid until it was all over, we are probably going to sell our home of 23 years because of these and other issues caused from that night. My hope is that this issue will affect some change in how cases like this get handled.
    Thank you all for your support.

    • Peace, blessings, and healing to you and your family. I pray justice will be served and the incompetents involved with be punished. Hopefully the SOPs will be reevaluated and updated and some soul searching will occur on the part of Pima County. Regretably, you and your wife may never feel safe in your own home again and should probably consider moving as soon as possible for your own peace of mind.

  7. they actually got 12 of these guys to agree this is the right course of action – amazing! The same group that fired what 74 rounds or some similar absurd amount into a home to kill one guy – they did not kill with one shot – with family and children in the house and this is ‘swat’ – why wasn’t the dipnik fired then?

  8. well the saying goes “don’t make a Dupnik” out of yourself – they did – everyone of these officers needs to be FIRED as a result of this raid and their actions ‘ twice’ they should be banned from working as police officers – simply for lack of any common sense – a danger to themselves and the public they are supposed to serve. I can only hope these folks win a huge settlement – at least I’ll know some of my money wasn’t wasted doing stupid stuff like these guys pulled off – this is not Iraq – or Afgan – it’s Tucson – and folks like Mr. numb brain are more common than you think – just a matter of age quite often – that the officers and deployment personal could not see this prior to the attack mode they went into is ‘out of bounds’ they should all be removed. There simply isn’t a place for this type of lack of thought process in the line of work they do – which in this instance was 100% completely substandard. Seems to match the leaders mindset.

  9. So sad these deputies have to work under an incompetent leader.

    Much like our military and the current President.

  10. Would anyone like to bet Dupnik steps down after Nov. and appointes his pick for our next Sheriff? Remember, he has to be in office for 2 years before he steps down so as not to force an election. This was all planned by the democrats. In Nov. it will be 2 years. Anyone taking my bet?

  11. This is how fast something can spiral out of control. Leadership starts at the top, and there is none.

    Please retire Clarence. It’s way past time.

  12. I have met a few Deputies and they have always been great people who would never do something like this. However, I totally believe the writer that all this happened.

    Too much power is given because we trust the good officers, then we are shocked when a bad leader and a few bad officers go overboard. I’m not too shocked at that because it can and will happen.

    The cover-up is still extremely shocking, however. I have never voted for Sheriff Dupnik but I can’t help what others do and yes, the election system is very suspicious here.

    I hope and pray the courts will hold Pima County financially accountable, at least.

  13. You are all idiots! If a serious incident were happening at your home you would want law enforcement to be quick and decisive to make sure you were safe….then finish their investigation. With a report of shots fires in a home first priority is securing that home. If original information is not accurate and people who live there are upset/disturbed…it’s better than waiting to gather more information while something tragic could be happening in the home. If officers respond to shots inside a home and don’t first make safety of those inside priority….then there is a problem. Please spend less time judging law enforcement when you don’t know what you are talking about and support them.

    • Jon
      I agree to a point.
      First, remember that this guy had a history of making false calls and he is Flagged in the system, no one checked him out. Second: I have heard the 911 call on tape, as the deputies arrived, the caller was still making statements about people yelling and screaming (The neighborhood was quiet) Third, it was the 911 operator whose used the word gunshot, the caller stated all he heard was a POP. The caller was not even looking out the windows of his motor home until the deputies arrived and he lives over 100 yards away.
      Fourth, There would have never been an issue if the deputies had knocked on the door and asked if everything was ok and then asked to walk though the house to insure we weren’t lying.
      Fifth: Have you ever had an assault rifle aimed you? My son was in Iraq, his ROE stated they were Not to aim their weapons at people until they saw a weapon, why were we not afforded the same consideration.
      Sixth, Why were we handcuffed and led out into the street, They could see we were not armed and we were not hurt. Seventh, why did they perform the same type of raid on the neighbors (who were outside watching the show), Eighth, Why was no one in charge (there was not any kind of supervisor on scene until almost 1 hr later. ) There are a lot of Why’s

  14. Pima County, You had a chance to vote Dupnik out and failed. If you think that old man is making policy I would ask you to look at Ferguson, MO or any number of cities where the Feds have armed the Police as military. SWAT for a suspected domestic violence call? I am officially terrified of PCSD.

    • We never had a chance to vote him out. Chucknik won’t buy the scanners needed to protect the vote from being switched. Can you imagine how many people in the PCSO are probably taking bribes or stealing while our nearly 90 year old sheriff lives on a boat in Mission Bay?

  15. Both TPD & Sheriff are out of control. They have forgotten to SERVE & protect. The same ppl they are arresting are same ppl that pay taxes so they ( deputies) can get paid.

    When the people fear law enforcement and officers/ deputies fear people it time for change. All you get is a new gangd who instead of flying colors have a uniform.

    Time return to respect, assume innocent til proven guilty, minimum use of force, color blind & blind to ecoonic status, I say that means we must retrain officers & deputies.

    I hope this family get lots & lots of $$$ they deserve it.

  16. Wonder who wrote the policy and if Dumbnik even remembers reading and signing off on it. Someone wake him up in San Diego and ask him. By the way, as long as the Huckster has his four votes, Pima county will continue to be a sanctuary county and give water to the ILLEGALS that come across the border. You know, they have a free ride across Pima County and Pinal County picks up all the cartel members and ILLEGALS that the PCSO escorts through the county. Its great here in PIma county when the ILLEGALS have more rights than the taxpayer and the taxpayer continues to be screwed by the county departments that we support with our tax money.

  17. If a situation like this has happened to you or if you do not agree with how this was handled, Please speak up.
    We need Dupnik out.
    We need a Sheriff that will Serve and Protect the citizens of Pima County,

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