Citizens are still questioning a reported incident in the Round Valley area in which a Highway Patrol Officer questioned residents as they looked at a petroglyph site in that area and photographed their identification. The CHP Lieutenant in Mono County has offered further response.
The report came in that the wife of a CHP officer was watching the petroglyph area through a spotting scope at her Paradise home and then contacting her CHP husband to check out people there.
Asked again if he had contacted the officer and investigated this report, Lieutenant Ron Cohen in Bridgeport said, “I have zero authority over the spouse or significant other of an officer.” In an earlier conversation, Lieutenant Cohen said he had not yet talked to the officer involved in this encounter.
Asked again about that, the Lieutenant said that considering his days off and training time out of the area, he had not talked to the officer. Asked why he had not phoned him, Lieutenant Cohen said he would rather speak with the officer in person. Cohen said he could not comment further on personnel issues.
Citizens had asked if the officer had probable cause to approach them and photograph their licenses. The Lieutenant said that the petroglyphs are the subject of a sensitive case and that someone’s presence at a site could generate law enforcement contact. He said, “You don’t necessarily have to break a law to be contacted.”
Lieutenant Cohen also said that it depends on the code under which his officers are operating – vehicle, penal, fish and game – as to how they may ask for identification.