While there were protests, both peaceful and violent, over police shootings, Keith Smith delved into could Pendleton County be a place that these type of police actions could happen. The story below looked into the manners that Pendleton County law enforcement use in handling situations. It was named third place in Best Investigative Story.
The judge said, "Solid information from the source here (sheriff). It's hard to do investigative work on an international subject."
No chokeholds for Pendleton County law enforcement
The grisly video of Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, holding down and killing George Floyd with a knee to the throat shocked a nation. Floyd’s death combined with the deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta to fill June with protests, both peaceful and violent, throughout the country.
The chokehold on Floyd was held for over eight minutes is not a move of restraint that law enforcement in Pendleton County would use.
“We don’t use any type of chokeholds,” said Pendleton County Sheriff Eddie Quinn.
He said they use a combination of arm bars, pressure points, with the options of pepper spray and taser gun.
It was a point echoed by Jailer Tony Gillespie, whose staff transports inmates from detention center to court for appearances or after a person is arrested.
He added that the yearly training they received from the Jailers’ Association does not teach chokeholds.
Falmouth Interim Chief of Police and veteran police officer Ron Hutchinson said that Kentucky has never taught chokeholds, and they are not something that his staff would use.
In Atlanta, Brooks was shot after gaining control of a police officer’s taser and shooting the taser at him. Brooks was shot and killed by police.
All three Pendleton County law enforcement officers can justify this use of deadly force from the police officer.
“The point of a taser is to incapicitate the person and subdue them. If that is done to a police officer, the individual has access to the officer’s weapon,” said Hutchinson.
While violent protests of police officers have called for defunding departments across the country, that is not happening locally.
“We will continue our normal safe practices and, while there may be hatred of law enofrcment nationwide, in our small community there is still a level of respect,” said Sheriff Quinn.
As far as staffing, he sees the low pay in Pendleton County as the biggest barrier for him. He pointed out that a deputy sheriff could make $10,000 more per year in Northern Kentucky.
Gillespie added that family health insurance is much cheaper for those working in NKY than Pendleton County.
The Pendleton County Sheriff Office is presently fully staffed with Deputy Sheriff Patricia Dietz finishing up the academy at Eastern Kentucky University and the addition of Kyle Florer. He will head to the academy later in the fall as it restarts after a postponement of classes because of Covid-19.
Falmouth Police Department will see the return Fo Shannon Clem as Chief of Police. He retired and, after the required time away from the position, will return to lead the department on July 1.