Convoy Near Kettenpom Today and the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s New Policy Not to Answer Questions About Search Warrants Served
There have been no reports of where they went.
We have attempted to reach the Department of Fish and Wildlife for comment. However, in line with their recent policy, we don’t expect to get answers from them not today while officers are still on the property, not tomorrow when officers are gone, and not next month when most people have forgotten this incident occurred.
Unlike other law enforcement agencies, they are choosing not to answer questions on basic details about search warrants involving cannabis growing properties. In a response to one request dated June 8, a spokesperson stated, “I can only sometimes confirm immediately when we are NOT involved. When we ARE involved…I will usually not be able to confirm or deny anything about it, because it’s part of a current operation/investigation.”
Local Fish and Wildlife officials we have frequently reached out to in the past are refusing to provide information. “I’ve been directed to have all contact with journalists directed to PIO’s [public information officers] out of Sacramento,” said Lt. Dewayne Little.
Since the first week of June we have been attempting to learn from the Department basic information about search warrants served in rural areas west of Redway. We know five people were arrested. But beyond their names and basic charges which is provided by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, we have no information.
We sent a letter to the Department stating,
[T]hree people were arrested. The day before there were two…I believe this is in relation to the DFG vehicles that were seen heading into the China Creek/Miller Creek area of Southern Humboldt.
I can put in a public records request act for information on every single search done by Fish and Wildlife in Southern Humboldt but that will take a lot of time for both of us. And, more importantly, is not the way that government should be communicating with their community. A reasonable expectation is that the government will provide within a reasonable period of time a simple level of information when armed officers go onto private property in a democratic society.
The simple level includes, according to government codes, “[t]he full name and occupation of every individual arrested by the agency, the individual’s physical description including date of birth, color of eyes and hair, sex, height and weight, the time and date of arrest, the time and date of booking, the location of the arrest, the factual circumstances surrounding the arrest, the amount of bail set, the time and manner of release or the location where the individual is currently being held, and all charges the individual is being held upon, including any outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions and parole or probation holds.” Gov’t Code § 6254(f)(1). In addition, agencies should disclose “the time, substance, and location of all complaints or requests for assistance received by the agency and the time and nature of the response thereto, including, to the extent the information regarding crimes alleged or committed or any other incident investigated is recorded, the time, date, and location of occurrence, the time and date of the report, the name and age of the victim, the factual circumstances surrounding the crime or incident, and a general description of any injuries, property, or weapons involved.” Gov’t Code § 6254(f)(2).
I realize that it is difficult to get information… But, I’m going to start writing these up and pointing out that your agency isn’t not being accountable to the public.
We then put in a formal request for information via the Californa Public Records Act. After 10 days. The Department of Fish and Wildlife then informed us that they will “attempt to make the requested documents available within 90 days.” Please note the information requested is that which other law enforcement agencies are often able to provide on the same day and usually never more than 24 hours from the request.
We have deep concerns about this new policy. We will attempt to continue to bring our readers information about search warrants being served by this agency but without official confirmation of facts, we will be unable to provide as accurate and as timely of information as we believe the public is entitled to have.
Please remember that information gathered from initial reports is subject to revision as more facts become available.