PINAC correspondent Raymond Rodden was out taking photos in downtown Tucson this week when he was confronted by a cop, who said he was responding to a report of suspicious behavior, which is nothing new for Rodden.
Within 30 seconds and without having to violate Rodden’s Constitutional rights, Sergeant Jeffrey Dellinger was able to determine that Rodden was not up to anything sinister and allowed him to continue taking photos.
Dellinger, a 23-year veteran, was involved in the shooting death of an armed bank robber last month where he and other officers were placed on administrative leave, so apparently he is back on the streets.
But reading the description of the incident in the Arizona Daily Star, the shooting was justified.
Police said Avila had walked out of the bank armed with a handgun as officers arrived in response to a call about a robbery in progress. A teller had given to police a description of the robber over the phone.
Avila ignored officers’ repeated orders to stop.
He walked to a blue Jeep Cherokee and retrieved two boxes of ammunition, police said.
Officers shot Avila as he walked back toward the bank doors with a handgun in one hand and the ammunition boxes in the other, police said.
There were 16 people inside the bank and no one was injured in the incident.
Police said Avila’s gun was loaded and he had a loaded magazine in his front pocket, in addition to the two boxes of ammunition.
Efforts to revive Avila were unsuccessful and he died in the parking lot, police said.
The officers involved in the shooting were: Jeffry Dellinger, a 23-year veteran; Pablo Camargo, a 16-year veteran; Randy Lucero, a 15-year veteran; Oscar Ramos, a 13-year veteran; and Daniel Martinez, a seven-year veteran.
No officers were injured. The five officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol for all shootings involving officers.
In 1996, after just over five years on the force, Dellinger wrote a letter to the editor in the Tucson Citizen, responding a letter from a citizen who had been criticizing police.
Challenge to police critic
I am compelled to respond to Mike Edmonds’ June 4 letter “Police put in their place.’ From the title, I wondered where exactly the police’s “place’ is. The ultimate answer to that question will probably be open to debate as long as police departments are necessary. I do know however, that one of the many “places’ for police officers includes Edmonds’ neighborhood. I do know that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, holidays included, police officers are doing their absolute best to ensure that Edmonds is as safe from “bad guys’ as possible.
Edmonds basically states that he agrees with Judge Brown in barring officers from carrying their weapons while in court. He goes on to say that TPD as a whole is pompous, arrogant and unprofessional. He continues by saying that Tucson is one big happy, quiet retirement community. Then he refers to an earlier letter by an officer which spoke of “fighting to stay awake’ on a midnight shift after spending all day in court. He says that this shows disdain that TPD has for the public.
I am a Tucson police officer and have been so for almost 5 1/2 years. There has been a recent ban on weapons carried by “off-duty’ and/or non-uniformed officers at Superior/Juvenile Court. This ban compromises the safety of everyone within the court building. However, I must comply with the order since I am a police officer and that is my “place.’
As for TPD being pompous etc., I cannot answer for the department. But I can say that the sergeants and officers I have the honor of serving with lack the traits Edmonds describes. They are professional and have a deep concern and love for the community they serve. As for Edmonds’ description of Tucson as a “large retirement community,’ I can only say that he does not know the Tucson I know. Tucson is nationally recognized as one of the leading cities with chronic street-gang problems. Tucson is also a major thoroughfare in drug trafficking. Our homicides per capita are right up there with the worst. If Edmonds has any doubt about this, I challenge him to ride with an officer on midnights on a weekend summer night.
I included the above letter, even though it was written almost two decades ago, to shed some light into his personality.
A cynic may view the letter as an example of the Police PR Spin Machine trying to twist the facts. An apologist may view it as an example of police keeping us safe, even though many of us refuse to appreciate that fact.
I view it as an example of an officer attempting to reach out to critics by stating his opinion, then offering those critics the opportunity to ride with police to get a first-hand glimpse into the work they do.
So I view it as an attempt at transparency. And I hope it inspires more officers to do the same.