Confrontation with local police seems over the line | SummitDaily.com
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Confrontation with local police seems over the line

Mary Pat and Lee CropperPtarmigan

We would like to tell the community about the events of the evening of Feb. 9. Julie Sutor’s article (SDN, Feb. 16) describing our ordeal with the local police lacked several details. It was after 8 p.m. on a very cold night. We had settled down to watch television. Our son was in another room doing his homework. I was curled up on the couch under a blanket still recovering from being sick when a very aggressive banging on our door jolted us from our seats. I grabbed our two dogs who were already at the door barking. My husband asked who was there. We were at a full length glass door with shades pulled so we couldn’t see out. There were muffled voices on the porch, then we heard “Frisco Police.” Since we live in Silverthorne we were both baffled as to why Frisco police would be banging on our door. My husband pulled back the shade to look, and all we could see was a man dressed in black pointing a gun at us. I shouted that he had a gun and the man said, “Frisco Police. Open the door.” He started yelling for my husband to keep his hands visible and open the door which was a feat in itself to hold the curtain, unlock the door and open it, but he did it. When the door opened we saw other men dressed in black with long guns pointed at us. We saw no badges, patches, hats, name tags or insignia to indicate that they were police. They had on black outfits that looked like police wear but the black coats covered their uniforms and badges. Their cars in our driveway were dark, no lights were flashing. The officer in charge started shouting commands at my husband to come outside, get down on his hands and knees, and then to stretch out on his belly. Since four people were pointing guns at him he did as he was told. I began asking for some form of ID. I asked this several times and was told they didn’t have to show us any. When I asked why they were doing this, why they were at our home I was told they didn’t have to respond to that either. The officer in charge just kept shouting orders at us. I asked again and one of them said we had a stolen vehicle in our driveway. We were both stunned at that revelation, but the shouting of orders continued for me now to get down on my belly. They entered our home, guns drawn, shouting in commando style. They asked if anyone else was in the house. I told them yes, our 14-year-old son. The officer continued to shout the question and I continued to reply until our son walked into the room. A gun was pointed at him as he was commanded to lie on the floor. They swept our home for anyone else and then patted us all down before we were allowed to get up. Then, guarded with guns, we were interrogated.What occurred that night seems way over the line and excessive. Why would the officers escalate the investigation of a stolen vehicle to this level? There were six officers with guns at the ready from four different police entities surrounding our house. This situation could have turned deadly very quickly. What would have happened if our son had been in the house alone? As it stands, what are the long term effects of this on a young teen and the two of us? It didn’t seem that any of these officers paused to look around and think about what might be going on. The stolen vehicle was blocked in our driveway by police cars. It wasn’t going anywhere. It had not been stolen in a violent manner, but instead by using a spare key left in the vehicle, which the officers apparently knew. Is there no system by which officers can check who lives in a house they are converging on? If there isn’t there sure should be. We have lived in the same house for nearly 20 years and are both well known business owners in the community. Don’t the police have to identify themselves clearly to citizens? What is the proper protocol for such an event? Why were Frisco police running swat style operations in Silverthorne? Who is in charge? Why were no senior officers at the scene or even consulted? The officer “in charge” had just been sworn in with Frisco days before. The chiefs of police in Silverthorne and Frisco have shown concern, apologized and are looking into what happened. We haven’t heard from Dillon. The Colorado State Patrol captain also listened to our concerns sympathetically. His officers were providing back up but were never seen by us.The thief, by the way, got away. We were told as this incident came to a close that it was a “joy ride,” a misdemeanor $50 fine if they ever found the person. It was no joy ride for us. If this happened to our family, it could happen to anyone in this community. Is this what we expect from our local police?


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