Saturday, October 27, 2007

This is serve and protect?

Once again police officers are in the headlines. Many of us grew up thinking that the men in blue were dedicated to protecting the public from criminals but lately, it seems that those officers aren't.

Robert Pavlovich Jr has been suspended from the Marysville PA police department since March 2007. A judge has now ordered him to surrender his badge, have no contact with the girls involved in the indictment and to be held in the Perry County prison on $500,000 bail.

Pavlovich, a police officer, is facing numerous charges including corruption of minors and involuntary sexual deviate sexual intercourse. Yes, this officer has been accused of propositioning or molesting 14 girls from the ages of 12 to 17 and they include girls who are injured, mentally ill or mentally retarded.

This week, the Lake County Sheriff's Office has placed two of it's officers on leave and it isn't "sick leave" either. Deputy Richard Palmer who has been in that office since 1998, was placed on leave after the arrest of his wife October 24 2007. Georgette Palmer was arrested on charges of selling perscription pills and later released on $25,000 bail.

A confidential informant purchased the pills which included Xanax, Lortab, Lexapro and Klonopin from the residence and other locations. Richard has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The Sheriff's office would like to know whether he had knowledge of the activity and failed to take appropriate action.

Shawn Heath was the second officer placed on leave after his arrest Monday in Seminole County. Heath, a corrections officer at the Lake County jail since March 2007, had been arrested on charges of indecent exposure, resisting without violence and burglary of a conveyance.

Shawn Sawyer, 34, an undercover NYPD officer for three years, shot an unarmed man Sunday in an apparent case of road-rage. Jayson Tirado, 25, died early Sunday morning after he evidently didn't let the off-duty Sawyer merge with traffic for an exit ramp and then flashed hid hand to immitate a gun. Sawyer then follwed Tirado to the detour in the road and fired at least one shot at him.

Rather than staying on the scene of the shooting, Sawyer drove away and didn't turn himself in for 19 hours. He claims that he shot Tirado in self defense, thinking that he did have a gun but other statements indicate that Sawyer made no attempt to show Tirado his badge which probably would have ended the incident.

Sawyer had privately told other officers that he had a couple of drinks prior to the shooting and he hasn't explained what he did in the 19 hours that he was missing. His claim of self defense will be investigated and that is cited as to why he has only been suspended without pay and not charged with a crime yet. Sawyer also wasn't administered a breathalyzer test when he turned himself in the next day.

Within one week we have an officer who preyed on not only young girls sexually but girls who often were not able to protect themselves, a flashing officer and another who has to prove he had no idea how his wife got the extra money in the family budget. Lastly, the group is rounded out by an off-duty officer who rather than called in a driver with a gun, decided to chase him down and shoot him and then drive off to hide. It is difficult to see how the public is supposed to look to officers for protection when they seem to be knee-deep in crime themselves.

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