Friday, March 24, 2006

Sheriff White: Policing by Press Conference

As I watched the news last night and saw the level of activity surrounding the manhunt for accused cop killer Michael Paul Astorga (rewards, press conferences, dozens of police vehicles, armored tanks, etc. . . .) I wondered why the same level of interest wasn't leveled at Astorga after he shot a man last fall and went on the run?

It seems the Sheriff's office had no problem locating Astorga's home, his hang out near La Cueva High School and his relative's homes in the hours after the cop killing. Also, there were no shortage of neighbors that interacted with Astorga every day. A guy called in to a KKOB talk show and said that Astorga was well known by law enforcement for years and was a notorious criminal.

So, where was the Sheriff''s office the last few months? Where was the manhunt for Astorga after he shot and killed a man last fall? Do we only get a concerted effort by law enforcement in an extreme circumstance?

Could it be that Sheriff White, who's whole tenure as sheriff has been marked by his ability to use the media to draw publicity to him and his office, is creating a big stir about catching Asotrga now because they failed to catch him earlier? Will the unnecessary death of an officer create enough of a story to cover up the story that should be written about White's missteps? Some aggressive reporter should ask White the question: Where was the press conference and the manhunt after Astorga's first killing?