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1 November 2009 at 12:38 p.m.
I am so sick of seeing nothing but negative comments about our law enforcement community since Ken Johnson's traitorous activities were uncovered.
Do you really think that all of the other officers are not sick over learning what their supposed friend did to them and everyone else? Do you think that they are not outraged, that they aren't just as disgusted as you are?
And yet, even though some people in this community want to blame all cops for the bad actions of one, these same good cops continue to show up for work, to do their best to serve the public.
One crappy person pulled the wool over everyone's eyes and dishonored himself, his department, his friends, and his family, not to mention abusing the trust of the community who trusted him with authority.
There has been a lot of criticism on the forums of the Chief of Police. Give me a break! He had rules to follow just like any other employer, and until he had enough reason to make a decision, he could not take action. Just like any other boss, if he had been wrong, the headlines in this case would have been something quite different, and everyone would be screaming to high heaven about getting the city sued over a mishandled firing. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. What would you have done?
Nobody had a crystal ball to peer into Ken Johnson's soul to see what he was trying to hide, and nobody else should be blamed for his bad deeds. To blame others would be the same as someone blaming you for another person screwing up at your job… that is not fair, and is not something we should tolerate.
I am challenging the people in this community to take a stand for the GOOD and DECENT police officers, deputies, and troopers we have, and to give them support in their day to day work that they do on our behalf.
They continue to go to their jobs every day even though they know fully well that some members of the community that they serve hate them just for the job they have chosen to do, and they still serve those same ungrateful and hateful members of this community as well as they know how.
I, for one, support our local law enforcement and challenge you to state support for them here as well.
1 November 2009 at 2:05 p.m.
I don't think anyone could say it any better than what you have posted TalkingTurkey. good job! And I have always said that I think being an officer of the law is one of the hardest most thankless jobs there is.
I hate seeing the negativity towards LE in Craig from the Police Dept right on down the the SO and the CSP. I know several officers and they are fine upstanding law-upholding people. I also know that if one of the hateful members in our fair town of Craig were to need help, the same officer that is being hashed over, wouldn't think twice about helping the ungrateful citizen. I've seen some LE go over and beyond their line of duty to help people and never once complained when they didn't get as much as a “thanks” - I wish the hate mongers would find something constructive to do with their time, energy and thoughts.
3 November 2009 at 10 a.m.
Just a quick comment here - some folks are having a good time dissin on the LEO's around here, but here's some food for thought: the men wearing the badges are just as upset, disappointed and disillusioned with this turn of events as you are…more so, even, because they trusted this guy and believed he had their backs if needed. Now they wonder if he ever really did, and who the heck he really is. There is no loyalty for this person, he's swingin' in the wind. And if you ever have to dial 911, those same badges will show up to respond to your need, whether you like them or not, regardless of the outcome, because they're here to serve and protect…that's what they swore the oath to do. There are some truely outstanding people working in law enforcement in this valley…don't dismiss them all just because of one —ithead.
3 November 2009 at 5:56 p.m.
Now just wait one second there. Mr. Walt had the ability to do an investigation as through as Little Joe over at the DA's office but he chose not to of is incompetent and for that he should have his fanny handed to him end of story! And nothing is going to get any better unless the City of Craig sends him packing. All this hand wringing and oh oh oh we were fooled too nonsense. If a proper investigation had been done in the first place instead of a cover-up job the Leos would not look so stupid. I know there are good ones but you have to cut out the cancer and in this case it was not just Mr. Ken but it is brain cancer at the top that needs to go. The city council needs to step up and do the surgery on the PD. If they don't get rid of them!
3 November 2009 at 6:57 p.m.
I beg to differ, oldsage…
It was very specifically reported that the DA's office had access to the actual messages exchanged between Johnson and Merwin that the PD did not have access to, and that the content of those text messages was what finally broke the case. It was also clearly reported that although there were enough suspicions of something going on, that there was no proof, and both Johnson and Merwin lied to police during the internal investigation. Even if the Chief wanted to sack Johnson then, he would have been putting the city in a dangerous position if it turned out that he was wrong, and unless I miss my guess, a lawsuit would have ensued.
Now I've read your posts and those made by others tossing out blatantly blanket statements without any information or evidence to back them up, and you and the others who like to bash on police have had a heyday dragging other cops into your postings who had nothing at all to do with any of this.
Chief Vanatta is a decent man and a good chief of police. He did the best he could dealing with a crappy situation and had his hands tied until the truth came out. Like it or not, oldsage, the chief has to follow rules just like every other boss, and that is what he did. When it came out that the suspicions were in fact true, the Chief booted Johnson immediately, and according to the paper, the department is cooperating fully with the DA's ongoing investigation.
I stand by my belief that the law enforcement officers in Craig are as good as any you'll find elsewhere, and one bad person does not make the rest responsible for their bad deeds. And I still believe that every one of the cops you are dishing on will come save your whining butt, God forbid, if you ever need help and have to call them.
If you think that everyone else is so sorry for the job, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and go be a cop. Then we can all sit back and just see if you have what it takes.
4 November 2009 at 7:58 a.m.
in this town to be a cop all you need is the ability to lie and cover up for every one
4 November 2009 at 8:49 p.m.
And just how did little Joe go about getting access to the massages? The same way Mr. Walt should have gotten access to them! If it was an investigation ???? then why the hell did he not investigate? What rule or rules state that in an internal Craig PD investigation the investigator cannot go get a warrant to obtain those messages? Because it was the typical cover up phony investigation the City of Craig and this county is famous for, that's why? There are no such rules! Show me and the rest of this forum the municipal code that prevented Mr. Walt from obtaining a warrant. It took the DA's Office and specifically little Joe to do it right! And in my opinion Little Joe is a big big man like the singer turned sausage maker sang about big bad John!
And what do you mean no evidence? The woman was having sleep overs with Kenny boy in the basement of another cop's house who was the previous arresting officer of the woman which put her in drug court in the first place. No proof, just another cops word about the sleep overs, no proof my ear. Every traffic ticket is only the cop's word against the accused! It was a sham cover up from the word go and everybody knows it and unless Mr. Walt gets the boot we will just get more of the same and everyone including you knows that is true also!
And I must correct you again because I have not bashed anyone other than the guilty parties (who were arrested) and those who did the sham, cover up, investigation! And make no mistake it is the sham cover up that has and continues to do the real damage to the Craig Police Department not the (Arrested) or posters of this forum who are only shining the light of truth on the fact that Mr. Walt could have obtained all the same evidence that the DA's office did if he was not either incompetent or intentionally not doing the investigation properly. This is only stating the obvious!
I think I will have to start calling Little Joe, Big Joe, and Mr. Walt, something I can't write here.
5 November 2009 at 7:48 a.m.
Ok oldsage, I think the two major points that have escaped you are the two that support my position.
Getting to the truth in this entire case hinged on the actual text message contents, and the police could not gain access to those messages without a search warrant. Obviously, with everyone involved (Johnson and Merwin) lying through their teeth, there was no way for the PD to get to the truth in the internal investigation because they could not use the information in messages that was unknown to them to confront the liars. Get it? Ok.
Now the 2nd point:
How do you think the DA's office even learned of the situation with Johnson? Surprise! It was the PD that contacted the DA and notified them that something bad was going on that they needed to look into!
It is completely clear by reading Mr. DeAngelo's affidavit that he learned of the situation when the police warned them that there had been an investigation into Johnson's activities that had shown as being inconclusive.
In other words, the Chief knew that something wasn't coming to the surface, and he also knew that he did not have the full investigatory power of a criminal investigation to uncover the whole truth through his internal investigation. He was completely correct in taking the information he had to the DA, which is what he did. Read the affidavit; this is clearly stated.
Mr. DeAngelo also clearly states in his affidavit that the primary reason that the investigation was inconclusive was due to both Johnson and Merwin lying, and to Johnson hoodwinking a medical professional into believing, and vouching for him that he could not, well, you know, “perform.” Based on this, and a lack of complete disclosure by witnesses the PD spoke with, they did not have any “eye witness” testimony in the internal investigation of an actual sexual relationship.
That information was only obtained later by the DA. Again, read the affidavit. Line by line, word by word. This is all very clearly spelled out.
So while you are screaming how bad Chief Vanatta is, he is the one who notified the DA. Exactly as he should have.
And to your statement that you didn't bash anyone but those involved, I went back and re-read your postings. You are correct… sort of. You did jump on the bandwagon with others and call Moffat County “Mafia County” which does reveal a general disregard for the good cops working here every day. And I do think it was disrespectful for you to call the chief a womanizer, particularly since there has never been any hint of any impropriety on his part.
So to correct my mis-statement, sorry oldsage that I wrongly accused you of bashing uninvolved cops, but shame on you for making disrespectful remarks about the Chief and making a blanket statement that is disrespectful to all of the good officers we have.
5 November 2009 at 7:56 a.m.
Oh, and oldsage, to answer your question about search warrants…
A search warrant can only be obtained when the agency applying for it has enough probable cause for a judge in a criminal court to sign it… and these are only obtainable through criminal investigations, not through internal procedural investigations.
The Chief must have known that the DA could, and would, apply for that warrant, and must have also felt that the DA might gain more cooperation from unwilling participants / witnesses than an internal investigation would generate.
Again, I believe the Chief did absolutely the right thing by notifying the DA of the situation and having the criminal investigation done by an agency outside of the PD.
5 November 2009 at 8:30 a.m.
Your words, oldsage…” What rule or rules state that in an internal Craig PD investigation the investigator cannot go get a warrant to obtain those messages? Because it was the typical cover up phony investigation the City of Craig and this county is famous for, that's why? There are no such rules! Show me and the rest of this forum the municipal code that prevented Mr. Walt from obtaining a warrant.”
as to rules, there is only one, and it is called the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States….
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
And yes, this also applies to police officers.
5 November 2009 at 8:37 a.m.
his car at her house everyday and him bringing her to the basement where he was staying is not cause for a serch warrent? come on now if it was an ordinary joe it would be more than enough.
5 November 2009 at 9:31 a.m.
Sorry, but no, it would not be enough, even for “an ordinary joe.”
Any information that goes into a search warrant has to be definitive in nature. Let's use a baseball game as an example:
Let's say the person suspected is the pitcher. The police are at bat. The pitcher throws out a pitch, or a “suspicious event.” Let's say the suspicious event is that the pitcher is running away from a convenience store in the dark.
“Suspicious events” that raise eyebrows but are not yet confirmed to be criminal activities may equal a strike call, it's not a hit. So just the fact that he is running away from the store in the dark is not probable cause.
Why? Becuase if there is another less damning or innocent explanation for any of the information, then by law it HAS to be counted, so to speak, in the favor of the pitcher. Maybe the pitcher is running because he is a jogger who stopped for a package of gum. Maybe he's running because police cars just make him nervous. Maybe he's just running because he likes to run. This in and of itself is not enough for a warrant.
Now, let's say the pitcher throws out a couple more pitches, let's say robbery is one and evidence is another pitch.
When the police stop to talk to the guy who is running away from the convenience store in the dark, they see that he has a wad of money in one hand and a ski mask in the other (evidence.) They get a call over the radio that says the convenience store he was just seen running away from was robbed of cash money by a guy wearing a ski mask (crime.)
At this point, the police have a lot of information that cannot be dismissed in the favor of the pitcher, so they have a couple of hits. The guy doesn't have an innocent explanation for being at that place, with those items, at that time.
Now they do have probable cause. That is the standard for getting a judge to sign a search warrant or an arrest warrant.
So, while the things you listed were suspicious, they alone clearly were not enough to constitute probable cause or to get a search warrant issued.
6 November 2009 at 6:07 p.m.
No, contrare, contrare, I did not say that Mr. W was a womanizer, it is the Chief LEO of the county who has that well deserved and earned reputation! That would be Mr. T, not Mr. W.
And since when is it that internal investigations don't go criminal when probable cause of criminal wrong doing is the only reasonable conclusion???, because after all, the woman was not just visiting Kenny Boy, she was known to have been sleeping over according to a Post Certified and Sworn LEO who witnessed the events. Maybe not in Craig America, or when the desired outcome is an inconclusive investigation, (Which is obvious in this case) but internal investigations do go criminal and investigators do obtain warrants elsewhere without having to go to the DA's Office. Pointing at the fourth amendment of the Constitution as the rule or reason Mr. W did not do his job properly is really lame.
Even what you have stated in Mr. W's defense doesn't pass the logic test. You say Mr. W went to Big Joe with the same evidence Mr. W could not use to get a warrant that was then used by Big Joe to obtain the necessary warrant.
The fact is that upon probable cause, supported by what Mr. W had evidence wise, Big Joe did what Mr. W failed or refused to do. (Which is why he should no longer be employed by the city.)
As soon as Mr. W was notified that motions were filed with the court questioning the integrity of Kenny Boy Mr. W had to start claiming he was fooled by the dishonest Kenny and his new squeeze. Mr. W's assertion that he was fooled seems to contradict your assertion that he initiated the criminal investigation at the DA's Office with Big Joe!
The fact that a fellow officer of the ACET team had witnessed the sleep overs by the new squeeze was enough probable cause for a warrant and Mr. W did not get one and that is why he is not qualified to follow in his predecessors footsteps (Mr. Rex) into a dog catcher job!
And frankly as a side note, I see hot future for Ms. Merwin (after she gets out) in the medical field as an expert in solving ED problems!
7 November 2009 at 11:11 a.m.
talking turkey is trying to cover for someone or somthing he don't want us to know about
7 November 2009 at 2:24 p.m.
I'm pointing out details that you could look up yourself if you really wanted to. That is the opposite of covering up information, it is called exposing information you might have missed! Isn't it better to have all of the documentation and see what actually happened rather than to make up your mind on only part of the story?
Like they say, never let the facts get in the way of what you want to believe…
And oldsage, I still maintain that the Chief could not get a search warrant. The PD was not doing a criminal investigation, it was an internal personnel matter.
Your boss can't call a judge and get a search warrant for your house if he thinks you stole $500 cash from his till. However, if he reports the theft to the police, they can investigate and apply for a warrant.
Now let's say that your Dad IS the local chief of police. If so, your Dad SHOULD turn the investigation over to the DA or the Sheriff to elilminate ANY conflicts of interest in the investigation.
That is what the PD did in this case.
I don't expect you to take my word for it, go read the 4th Amendment and the rules spelling out who and why a search warrant can be obtained.
Again, if you want to educate yourself on this particular case, read the warrant. I'll make it really easy for you, it is posted here… http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfil…
The bottom line in this whole mess is that one really sh****y human being did some really crappy things, lied his butt off over it, and was not man enough to stand up and take his medicine. Now everyone around him is suffering for his cowardice and lack of morals. That really IS the point.
And when I said you called the chief a womanizer, this is why I believed that was what you said…
“Walt needs a pink slip from the city council and they need to hire a no nonsense objective person with the intestinal fortitude to enforce the law equally for everyone. And as for enforcing the law equally in the county the womanizer in chief we have now ain't the right guy! ”
I'm not afraid to say I am mistaken when I miss something, so, “Sorry,” I missed your finer point.
We may just have to agree to disagree on this one. I have read, and re-read all of the available information regarding this situation, and based on that documentation i have taken the position I stand on here… So you arguing with me is not getting us anywhere.
One point we can agree on, (although after seeing her picture I can't figure out how and really don't want to think about at all because the thought is pretty damned disgusting) is your last point.
7 November 2009 at 6:41 p.m.
internal investigations are for police misconduct and follow the same letter of the law as a criminal investigation so walt was trying to cover up the whole deal just as he did when i brought up storm fallons crimes but of coarse it was coverd up.
8 November 2009 at 5:40 a.m.
Apparently you're not getting how this works norights… I've gone over it repeatedly and don't know how better to explain it to you… Despite what you might want to believe, an investigation into conduct is a personnel matter. When that investigation is finished, if there is truth to it, it becomes a criminal investigation that is handled by an outside agency. Just that simple.
I'll tell you another thing norights… I hate gossiping, and that is exactly what you're doing by making accusations against people here on the forum, and that's not right. If you actually have any proof, man up and take it to the DA. They'll tell you if anything illegal was done. If you don't have any proof, I hope the person you're slandering sues your pants off for working so hard to damage her reputation.
8 November 2009 at 8 a.m.
the attorny general was really glad to get my evedence and it is about to all come down around the ears of everyone involved
9 November 2009 at 12:53 p.m.
Talkingturkey, You really seem like you are involved on a much closer basis then the rest of the readers. I have not spent to much time reading about this case but of course I know a little about it, all I have to say is that it does not surprise me that the CPD is involved in any sort of scandal. It is very naive for one to assume that the majority of the Craig police are not just as scandalous as Ken, the only difference is that Ken (finally) got caught and the rest of the force has not. If the police force was not corrupt then you would not have to be defending the entire force, if they had shown the community that they are all fair and competent officers then everyone would know that Ken was the exception and that would be it. The fact of the matter is that the entire force has shown reckless behavior and therefore you are having to defend them.
10 November 2009 at noon
Ok folks. I also know quite a bit out how the “system” works. Search warrants, arrest warrants, evidence etc.
Bottom line: Walt Vanatta is the CHIEF of police. He had TWO sworn to uphold the law officers tell him point blank that Johnson told him he was in a relationship with Tausha and that he would not let it affect his work and that Tausha was in his driveway in her pajamas at 2 in the morning smoking a cigarette. He then told Johnson to move out of his home.
Walt and the City Council - had they known what was going on - should have fired Johnson instead of placing him on a one week suspension. The suspension was for the city property issue. Knowing there was more, knowing he had two LEA officers telling him what Johnson was up to……sorry, but Walt has absolutely no excuses for not firing him back then. I don't know if City Council knows the arrest warrant is on line or if they have received copies of it. They need to read it. It puts alot of this in black and white. I must disagree with Turkey. We (some of the public) knew about his sleeping with Tausha summer of '08!!! That is over one year ago……hello!
13 November 2009 at 6:23 a.m.
you want us to support this garbage ? another cop caught stealing come on now how far does the corruption go?
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