(This letter was written by David McNeil for the head of CHP in Sacramento. McNeil shared his letter with Sierra Wave.)
I was out looking at an archaeological site a few months ago with friends in an area called Round Valley, ten miles north of Bishop, CA.
A CHP officer pulled up and asked to see our licenses. He also took photos of our vehicle plates.
He said he was investigating the recent thefts of petroglyph panels and told us how his wife surveys the entire Round Valley from their house nearby in Paradise with a high powered scope.
He said she called him, and he diverted from his regular duties to come and harass us without probable cause. That is Los Angeles owned land, and we had every right to be there. We were not disturbing anything or removing anything.
We felt that the officer was way out of his jurisdiction to treat us in that way without a bonafide reason. I even tried to explain to him that I used to work for the Forest Service and was responsible for protecting cultural resources. I also explained to him that I volunteer my time to help the local land agencies to protect the archaeological sites. He did not listen. As far as he was concerned, we were guilty for just being there.
We contacted our local news people, and they published the story. I talked to the officer’s boss on the phone in Bridgeport. He was apologetic and said he would talk to his employee about the matter.
The fact is that the lieutenant never did talk to his employee and blew all of us off in the community.
He flat lied to me on the phone. Not cool! Not one bit!
We would appreciate if you would tell the lieutenant in Bridgeport to get his employee off our back and quit doing personal stuff on state time.
Why is this officer out on dirt roads taking calls from his wife to shake people down, when he should be out on the highway that we pay him for?
This behavior is extreme and out of control. It borders on gestapo tactics and is making enemies between the CHP and the public in the Eastern Sierra.
The public cannot even go out and enjoy their land without these two weirdos ruining the day.