Sheriff's Monthly Messages for 2009
Message From the Sheriff, January 2009
As I compose this message, I reflect on the past two years and the accomplishments this office has made. There have been numerous changes in the Sheriff’s Office to better serve the residents of Humboldt County. As you read this article, I will briefly explain these changes. Your Sheriff’s Office is working hard daily to strengthen and improve the services that you require and expect from your public safety professionals.
On January 1, 2007, I officially began my term in office as your Humboldt County Sheriff. The planning and implementation of changes within the Sheriff’s Office began during my campaign for Sheriff in January of 2006. I talked with as many residents of Humboldt County as I could from May 2006 until I took office in January of 2007. Many residents informed me that they would like to see Deputies patrolling neighborhoods more often. Other residents talked about the drug problem in Humboldt County and asked questions regarding combating the problem. Several other residents wanted to know about repairing professional relationships with the Winnemucca Police Department.
I began a plan of action to address these concerns that you, the residents of Humboldt County, asked me to fix. The first item of concern was that, within the Sheriff’s Office, there was a shortage of manpower in all three divisions. The divisions within the Sheriff’s Office are the Patrol division, the Detention division and Dispatch. It is no surprise that when employees put in more time at work than they have time off, the quality of service is severely hampered. By July of 2007, we had held testing for Patrol, Detention, and Dispatch positions. This was successful and the positions were filled in Patrol and Detention. The Dispatch division proved to be a much more difficult division to get up to full staff. To this day, we have still not been able to come to full staff in this division. While testing has been ongoing for Dispatch, the level of stress and job tasks require unique individuals. The Humboldt County Dispatch Center is responsible for dispatching entities other than our own Deputies. We serve entities such as the Winnemucca Police Department, all county fire services, all medical emergency dispatching ambulance services, Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement personnel, Nevada Division of Investigation, Nevada Highway Patrol, Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement, Humboldt County School District Police functions, and Nevada Parole and Probation.
The next task was to bring advance training to the members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. These trainings included topics such as Crime Scene Investigation, Interview Techniques, Drug Investigations, Ethics in Law Enforcement, Death Investigation, and Drug Endangered Children training to name a few. The goal was to enhance the abilities of those Deputies responding to serve you and your needs. I believe that through quality training, the service to you will be greatly improved. By aggressive hiring practices and quality training, the Deputies on patrol have made an impact in neighborhood patrols and the ability to serve you.
To address the drug problem, I called upon Deputy Will Bourland who came to this administration with a program called the Drug Endangered Children program. This is a unique approach to break the cycle of generational drug addiction. I am proud to say that Humboldt County is the first agency in the State of Nevada to have a fully operational DEC program. I will talk in depth about this program in later articles. As of 2009, we now have a narcotics K-9 program. This came as a unique donation of a canine from the Elko Police Department and Deputy Cory Allen is assigned to K-9 Lilly. By February, this team will be making a positive impact to combat the drug problem in our area.
The other item listed in the beginning of the article was the repair of the professional relations between the Sheriff’s Office and the Winnemucca Police Department. I am proud to say that both entities are collaborating daily as well as participating in joint training. This shows in the seamless service to you as residents of Winnemucca and Humboldt County.
In the coming months, I will explore and explain in detail various programs we have implemented to better serve your needs. As always, I am honored to serve as your Sheriff. My staff and I are always available to talk with you about your concerns or questions.
Sheriff Ed Kilgore
Message from the Sheriff, February 2009
As the New Year officially got started, my focus was on what has not been addressed satisfactorily with regards to what Humboldt County residents wanted. The Sheriff’s Office has seen numerous changes since January 1, 2007. New administration with new direction and focus brings change. One more component that you as residents of Humboldt County wanted to see happen is that of addressing the drug problem in our area.
First, let me state that we have many programs that are in place that do have a positive impact on illegal drugs and our families. Programs like DARE have a lasting impact on the youth of our community. These children are going to someday be the leaders of our community. We need to invest time and effort into our future leaders. Thanks to a great working relationship with the Humboldt County School District, Officers and Deputies are able to teach the DARE program to area youth in the classroom. The Deputies and Officers have seen the impact of mentoring and empowering students from kindergarten to the core classes taught at the 5th grade level. Officers and Deputies also have a curriculum targeted to Junior High age students. As a past DARE instructor, I have had many students who have been to and graduated high school, gone to college, then come back and recall the positive lessons they were taught in DARE. I understand that not every program is 100% effective, but I also understand that if one child is impacted positively by a program, then the program made a difference.
We have had a tri-county drug task force in place here in Humboldt County for over 20 years. Through these years, this task force has made significant seizures and arrests primarily targeting those individuals who sell and manufacture illegal drugs. It has been stated that nationally, 85 to 90% of all person and property-related crimes can be linked to drugs and alcohol. This takes into account various crimes such as Burglary, Robbery, Domestic Violence, Homicide, and Theft. Often, with the arrest of those individuals selling and manufacturing illegal drugs, we find stolen property that hopefully can be returned to the victims. It is with the long-term tenacity and relentless pursuit by law enforcement that we continue to focus resources towards holding the offenders accountable.
In December of 2007, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office hosted a Drug Endangered Children training. This program was first brought to me as I entered office as your Sheriff in January of 2007 by Deputy Will Bourland. Deputy Bourland came to Humboldt County from Butte County, California, where he was employed as a Sheriff’s Deputy. This program targets those individuals who are addicted to illegal drugs and who have children in their care. Law Enforcement has primarily focused on investigating those people who are using, selling, and manufacturing illegal drugs. This unique approach of targeting children of those addicted to illegal drugs is another way to combat the disease. The goal is to break the cycle of generational addiction by removing at-risk children from the unhealthy environment of homes where drugs are used. The end result is that the parents who are addicted have a choice to enter treatment, end the lifestyle of drug addiction and reunite with their children, or refuse to change and have their parental rights terminated. These scenarios are the two extremes of what could or should happen. Removing at-risk children from these homes often requires placement into foster care. Children should be able to have the opportunity to be safe and healthy and this program gives that chance. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office implemented this program in January of 2008 and is seeing success. The real test will be measured with tracking those at-risk youth through to adulthood.
The latest item to address the drug problem was donated by the Elko Police Department to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in January of 2009. Canine Lily officially became a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office canine in January of 2009 and united with her handler, Deputy Cory Allen. In their first month working together, small quantities of illegal drugs were located and arrests were made. They are a great asset to our agency and in the coming months I will feature a story on the canine impact regarding drug seizures.
As your Sheriff, I will continue working hard to make our community a safer and better place to live.
Ed Kilgore, Sherif
Message From the Sheriff, April 2009
As the winter passes and spring is upon us, many of us are preparing gardens and doing spring clean up around our houses. Others are eager to get out and enjoy the warming days with activities like atv’s, sports and long walks in neighborhoods. With the onset of spring, we notice more people outside. This is a good chance to get acquainted with neighbors and friends. It is also a prime time to get acquainted with your local Deputies. As mentioned in previous articles, there were a lot of residents that expressed a change with services from the Sheriff’s Office. One change that was requested was to see more Deputies patrolling the neighborhoods in the county.
With the warmer weather there are many times to observe Deputies patrolling neighborhoods. I have instructed our Patrol Deputies to be stopping and visiting with area residents when they see you in your yards. The majority of the time, it will be to introduce themselves and to ask if there is anything that we, your Sheriff’s Office, can do for you. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know those Deputies that are working in your area. It is also an information sharing time that is critical to have. It is no secret that the best eyes and ears in a neighborhood are the people who live there. If there are concerns about suspicious activity or traffic complaints in an area, the calls typically come from those who live in that area. I have encouraged all of my staff to get to know someone in every subdivision located within Humboldt County. Many of you have commented on seeing increased Law Enforcement presence in your neighborhoods. Some areas that were inconsistently patrolled are now being regularly patrolled. This has led to many compliments and a few concerns from those who live there.
Some of the concerns were that there must be some bad activity going on to have Deputies coming out there on a regular basis. Other concerns were that local citizens are being targeted because Deputies are always on their street or parked watching traffic. The increase in patrol activity in certain areas may have ties to investigations into illegal activity. It might be that your Sheriff’s Office is listening to what you have said and are providing services that you are entitled to. Law Enforcement presence is the first step to building strong community partnerships. These partnerships are an important tie for ensuring we have safe neighborhoods and healthy communication to solve problems as they arise.
The most common reaction that I hear from the various communities is that seeing the Deputies more regularly is a welcome sight. On a recent visit to the Denio Community meeting, I was asked by a citizen how many Deputies I had that patrolled Denio. My statement to this citizen was that there are three resident Deputies whose primary area for patrol and calls for service are McDermitt, Orovada, Kings River, Denio and all parts in between. This resident stated that they had noticed more than three faces from the Sheriff’s Office in Denio. I then commented on the fact that although those resident Deputies are the primary Deputies they would see, there are Deputies from the Winnemucca area that will be patrolling and responding to calls in Denio as well. In fact, the outlying areas of Humboldt County are seeing more of our Deputies for the simple fact that we are attempting to cover all parts of the county with all of our patrol staff. The same comment was made to me by a resident in Paradise Valley and McDermitt. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is actively recognizing your concerns and making adjustments to better serve you.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you who have noticed different patterns in Patrol service. With change, also comes growth and partnerships. Without the citizens we serve, we cannot move forward and make Humboldt County a safer, nicer place to live, work and visit. When you see a Deputy in your neighborhood and you have a question or concern, wave them over and talk to them. You might be surprised that the Deputy doesn’t come over and talk to you first. If you have comments, questions or concerns, I would like to hear them. My staff and I are here to answer questions and would welcome the call or stop by.
From The Sheriff’s Desk, May 2009
Now that Spring is officially here, it will not be long until the summer heat is upon us. As summer approaches, we see ourselves spending more time outside planning camping trips and outings into the rural settings of Nevada and beyond. It is no secret that Northern Nevada can have very high temperatures during the day and can drop over fifty degrees at night. These events often turn a mundane outing into a life threatening event. I would like to give some suggestions and advice regarding heat exhaustion, notice of trips and what role the Humboldt County Search and Rescue plays in events such as these.
When I took office as your Sheriff in 2007, one priority was to organize a Search and Rescue program for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. By law, the Sheriff is mandated to have a Search and Rescue component within the Department. There was no such component in place when I assumed office. I then employed Tom Casey as Special Programs Director, whose first task was to organize and make fully functional a Search and Rescue program within the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. In less than six months, the program had sixty volunteer members who have diverse backgrounds and geographical locations in Humboldt County. Casey, as he prefers to be called, is very skilled with managing civilian groups and has more than 30 years in law enforcement. He has organized your Search and Rescue into units such as 4x4, ATV, aircraft, horse and hiking members.
The Humboldt County Search and Rescue has been assisting local citizens since June of 2007 and their first call out was the Thomas fire that happened in early July of that year. They assisted in volunteer evacuations of residents and animals, traffic control and information relays to other departments. The interest became large enough to break into several groups of members called teams. Each team has a team leader, who organizes the rest of the team when called upon by the Sheriff’s Department.
Some examples of calls that we have responded to as Search and Rescue are as follows: In the fall of 2007, Search and Rescue members responded to a report of a private airplane that had crash landed in a remote portion of Northeast Humboldt County. The pilot had indeed landed the aircraft, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and had to be transported out by trailer. The pilot was uninjured and was transported to Winnemucca safely. In the winter of 2007/2008, we responded to a call to assist a member of the Summit Lake Indian reservation to rescue canines at a residence there. The recent snow storm had impacted the area and no vehicle could get in or out of the canyon. A local resident had left before the storm hit and could not get back to care for her animals who did not have enough food to ride out the storm. With a snowmobile, Search and Rescue member Giovanni Giordano was able to retrieve the canines and deliver them safely to the owner. In the summer of 2007, Search and Rescue members were called upon to search a large area for evidence potentially left from a homicide that occurred. In the winter of 2008, we had the call of three overdue coyote hunters around the Hinkey Summit area. Within 24 hours, they were located by the members of your Search and Rescue unit and were safely moved off of the mountain. This is just a brief synopsis of the diverse calls your Search and Rescue members have been involved with.
This service provided by your Search and Rescue team is not just haphazard. There is a definite commitment to giving back to society that these members have. All members actively participate in monthly training and give solid input regarding safety, logistics and area specific expertise. I am very honored to have each of these citizens who unselfishly donate their time and expense to lend a hand to someone else in times of emergency. The Search and Rescue members have a uniform shirt and hat, as well as vehicle identifiers. Your Humboldt County Search and Rescue members have saved this county countless thousands of dollars in manpower, fuel and food. You see, they are all volunteers whose good deeds are only to help a fellow human. The next time you see a Humboldt County Search and Rescue member, I hope you find the time to say thank you.
From the Sheriff’s Desk, June 2009
In last month’s article, I gave each reader an in depth look at your Humboldt County Search and Rescue program. This program is a vital component to the Sheriff’s Office and provides essential resources to those who are in situations they are not prepared for. In this article, I want to go back and explain to you about a program we started in January of 2008. This program is actually the first to be implemented in the State of Nevada. It is titled the “Drug Endangered Children” program.
As I mentioned in the January 2009 article, in 2007 Deputy Will Bourland came to me within the first week I took office as your Sheriff and wanted to tell me about a program he would like to see implemented here in Humboldt County. I advised Deputy Bourland that I would need time to address other department needs before I could spend time implementing a new program. I assured him that I would not forget about his ideas and that I would meet with him when I had more time to look at this new program. It took until December of 2007 until I had the time to sit and listen to the idea of this new program. Deputy Bourland and I then spent about two hours together as he explained the Drug Endangered Children program to me. I will attempt to explain the program to you in this article.
Drug endangered children (DEC) are those children who suffer physical or psychological harm or neglect from exposure to illegal drugs or persons under the influence of illegal drugs or exposure to dangerous environments where drugs are being manufactured or chemicals used to make drugs are accessible. Today, most drug endangered children are discovered or “rescued” during law enforcement actions relating to their parents or care givers. That event may be one of the most defining moments of their lives. If ignored and left unmonitored, these children continue to be victims caught in a cycle of drug abuse. The Drug Endangered Children program is a collaborative effort made up of Law enforcement, District Attorneys, child advocates, substance abuse treatment providers, child protective services, other community leaders and the general public. Upon removal from a dangerous environment, drug endangered children need the immediate attention of child welfare services and assessment by medical and mental health professionals. If parents have endangered children, their actions may necessitate prosecution, termination of parental rights or court supervision of family reunification. This program seeks the long term goal of providing safe, supportive and drug free environments which permit children to prosper. With the ultimate goal of breaking the generational cycle of drug addiction, this program has been effective in many other states.
To many of you, this problem of drugs and drug addiction is a reality. Drugs used to be a “big city” problem and rural America appeared to be insulated from the effects. The reality is that the illegal drug trade has embedded itself into almost every community in this great nation. In law enforcement, we have spent untold amounts of hours and money at targeting those who manufacture, transport and sell illegal drugs with the hope that drugs will not be accessible. I have seen the generational effect of drug addiction where grandparents, parents and their children have been arrested for illegal drug use or the sales of illegal drugs. The DEC program is designed to facilitate choices for those parents who are addicted to illegal drugs. It is also an avenue for children to have a chance at a lifestyle free of the effects of drugs and for nurturing a positive environment.
In January of 2008, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office implemented this program and has investigated and intervened on behalf of the children of Humboldt County to attempt to break the generational affect of drug addiction. We have seen positive results from the cases we have generated. In some cases, family reunification was achieved with parents abstaining from drug use. In other cases, we have seen children placed in long term foster care. This program that was implemented was the first DEC program in the state of Nevada. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s office has been requested to speak in front of the Nevada State Legislature and the Attorney General on this issue. This is something we should all be proud of as the rest of the state is looking at what proactive steps we are taking to combat drug addiction.
Ed Kilgore, Sheriff
From the Sheriff’s Desk, August 2009
Summer break is over with school back in session. This does not mean summer is officially over. As we transition into school mode and making arrangements to get our children situated into the school routine, we still see summer as warm days with much to do before it starts to snow. It is at this time that we try to pack as much time as we can into enjoying the outdoors. Many of us are either hunting or preparing for our hunt trip. Still others are preparing for that last couple of camping trips before Mother Nature forces us to winterize our camp trailers and get ready for stoking up those wood stoves and turning up the furnace. Most of us now days have ATVís and, or UTVís that we enjoy and often use them when we hunt, camp and also for day trips.
This last year, the Sheriffís office has seen the hazards of what can happen when ATVís and UTVís are not used properly. Some have ended in tragedy with the deaths of loved ones and others have been injured severely with broken bones and lasting injuries. There are countless reasons why all terrain vehicles are enjoyed and used for work and pleasure. There are also many uses for these vehicles in the farming and ranching communities that make more sense than using a traditional pickup truck. Simple maneuverability and gas mileage are just the tip of the iceberg. When we are operating these vehicles, safety should be the first priority. Simple things such as helmets while operating ATVís could be the difference between injury and death. Operating ATVís safely and knowing what your limits are will prevent many accidents. On many of the accidents we have had, there were no helmets worn by the drivers. In at least two instances, a fatality would most likely have been prevented by the wearing of a DOT approved helmet. When we are out on the back roads riding our ATVís or UTVís, we have the ability to go at a rapid pace because these vehicles are designed to absorb rocks and bumps to provide a relatively smooth ride. Sometimes, this lulls us into a false sense of security. A corner comes upon us too fast and we end up sliding off the road. When we go off the road, simple physics can take over where we end up under the machine. I have talked with countless riders who have admitted this happened to them. It has happened to me. Some are lucky enough to not get injured, but some are not as lucky. .
With the increased interest in ATV riding, there are more and more people operating these vehicles with little to no training. This is also a major concern for the Sheriffís office as we are often called to respond to an accident involving an ATV rollover in very rough terrain. In many of our investigations, it has been learned that the injured or deceased driver of the ATV was inexperienced and should not have attempted the terrain where the accident occurred. In others, alcohol was a factor in the accident. We have seen nationwide the devastating effect that drunk drivers have on our highways and have instituted laws that are tough to attempt to deter those from drinking and driving. These accidents and deaths have a long lasting effect on families and friends who all grieve for the loss of a friend or loved one. It is my request that we keep each other safe and enjoy the outdoors with our ATVís. It is all of our responsibility to look out for one another. We teach our children to respect others and be safe. Operating ATVís is no exception. I know many of you reading this already preach safety when it comes to ATV use. To you I say thank you. If you are reading this article and do nothing else than re-read this to your family member, you have started the safety process. Be safe and enjoy your outdoors. If you have any questions regarding ATV safety, please call me at 623-6419. Thank you for your time. .
Ed Kilgore, Sheriff
Ed Kilgore, Sheriff
Message From the Sheriff, October 2009
This month has seen its swings in both temperature and weather conditions. October has run the gamut with weather from warm and dry to very unexpected cold snaps with very gusty winds. With this weather we have the upcoming holidays right around the corner starting with our beloved Nevada Day. In this month’s letter, I want to remind you that these conditions make driving more hazardous. Your Sheriff’s Department has been vigorously addressing traffic enforcement through many of the federal grant funds allocated to this agency throughout the summer. This will not fade away and it is vital to the safety of you the residents. We have had many targeted efforts to curtail drunk driving and the wearing of safety belts and this will continue.
As the daylight hours shorten and the weather gets colder, many of us now travel home in the dusk hours after work. This time is the most difficult time to see pedestrians and other traffic at intersections with the glare on the windshield. With the increased hours of darkness we are going to experience until Spring, stay alert while operating your vehicle. Just this week has proven the extremes that Humboldt County can expect with the weather. Residents are now stoking up their wood stoves and rushing to get the end of summer projects done. Please take an extra minute to prepare for winter driving conditions before you leave your residence or workplace. Remember that road conditions change rapidly and many times during the day. Many times, it is other drivers who are in a hurry or have their attention diverted that cause vehicle accidents. Accidents due to weather happen. When these events occur, statistics have shown that proper use of a safety belt has proven to save lives and lessen injuries. Wearing your safety belt is a learned habit. Make yourself aware of the safety equipment in your vehicles and use them every time.
With the upcoming holiday season rapidly approaching, we look forward to celebrating these times with family and friends. Many times these gatherings include great food and much laughter, as well as adult beverages. It is up to us to be responsible with each. Too much food will have lasting effects on your digestive system, not to mention your waistline later. I don’t think you can laugh too much. It is healthy. Too much alcohol can be a bother to those you are with, and often leads to bad decision making. Some bad decisions relating to alcohol consumption lead to driving a vehicle. You can bet that during the holiday time, your Sheriff’s office will be diligently looking for impaired drivers before they cause an accident or loss of life. It really boils down to choices and concerned friends as to actually getting into a vehicle and driving while intoxicated. If you find yourself in a situation where you are intoxicated and need a ride home, please call the Humboldt County Dispatch at 623-6429. If a Deputy is free, we will gladly assist you with a ride home. You may have to wait a little while if calls for service are happening, but we would much rather assist you home. It is far better than the alternative, those being arrest or loss of life.
In closing, I want to wish everyone a happy Nevada Day and encourage all to look out for one another. Be responsible while driving your vehicles and wear your seat belts. Halloween is a very busy time with many hundreds of children walking house to house trick or treating. Be mindful of pedestrian traffic and lets make this Halloween a very safe and happy one.
From the Sheriff’s Desk November 2009
This year has been a rather odd year in terms of weather. We have seen torrential rain that caused major flooding in our area this spring. We have experienced very dry and mild temperatures this fall that usually is filled with precipitation of either snow or rain. The last two to three weeks have given us a little of the normal weather we are used to, but it has also brought with it unusually high sustained wind gusts that we usually see in other parts of the country.
With the longer dry spell and warmer afternoons, a lot of residents have enjoyed spending more time out of the house and in their yards preparing for winter to officially arrive. Needless to say, more fall cleanup equates to less to fix or do in the spring. The daylight hours are getting shorter and we are getting ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This time spent with friends and family is always time we look forward to. Here in Humboldt County, many of us are happy to help one another. From the unexpected things that arise such as a flat tire on the side of the road to the expected things that we do to help our friends and neighbors with yard work or projects. This lifestyle is why many of us stay in such a great place. Sometimes, there are those who look for opportunities to try to alter this sense of community.
It is not uncommon to see garage doors open or gates to yards left open. It is a matter of convenience and the fact that our friends and neighbors are around. Many of us don’t make a habit of locking our vehicle doors in our driveways. Even leaving our doors to our houses unlocked if we are only going to the market and back. To those who are looking for property to take, these communities are the places that make it easy to prey on good people. I would like to take this time to hopefully raise your awareness and impart helpful advice for you to think about.
With the economy hitting our pockets hard, it is even more devastating to the holidays when thefts of Christmas presents happen. Be aware of your surroundings when you are out of town shopping. Many of us go to bigger cities to shop, and we usually try to get all of our shopping done in one trip. This means that we have a lot of property in our cars when we are done. Burglars will look in parking lots for an easy target as well. Cover your property or store it out of sight in your vehicles and make sure you lock it up.
A home that is not occupied is a prime target to burglars. When you go on vacation, think about leaving a light on in your home while you are away. Tell your neighbors to watch for suspicious activity and call law enforcement. Here in Humboldt County, we also provide a service to those who are going on vacation for the holidays as well. You are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dispatch and request law enforcement to watch your house while you are away. If we know you are leaving town, and time permits us to do so, we will do drive bys and walk around your residence to do our best to ensure that upon your return, you have not been a victim of Burglary.
From the Sheriff’s Desk December 2009
With all of the last minute shopping and the accompanying packages mailed to relatives and loved ones quickly coming to an end, Christmas will be upon us. I have talked with many residents about the holidays and I think everyone is in agreement that a white Christmas is going to happen this year. There are other things that coincide with the Christmas holiday as well. Families reuniting, friends meeting again and seeing the true meaning of Christmas fulfilled. While many lasting memories will be the result of this great holiday, some will have less than pleasant memories due to fire, vehicle accidents, theft and physical battery.
As I compose this message to you, it is my sincere hope that some will realize that it is mostly choices that have bearing on the outcome of what happens in the end. By this, I mean that planning and evaluating your choices will bear the results of many things that happen. I will explain each in detail.
With the winter season upon us, we experience sub-freezing temperatures. Some of us have alternate sources of heating such as wood stoves and pellet stoves. This source of alternative heating allows supplemental heat for our residences. In my opinion, there is nothing finer than a roaring fire while watching the snow fall outside. With these alternative heating sources comes maintenance. Objects can cause blockages in chimneys. Any restriction in the flow of outgoing smoke can back up into your residence. The result can be fatal with depleting oxygen levels and increasing carbon monoxide. Another result of blockages or restrictions in chimneys is the build up of heat and a secondary fire inside the chimney. Many residents have suffered complete loss of property due to complacency in proper maintenance of chimneys. We usually do not think of cleaning the chimney after the winter has passed. Soon, fall and winter are here again and we start putting wood or pellets in the stove to warm our residences. The advice is to have a maintenance schedule for your chimney and stick to it. Your life and the lives of your loved ones are important.
As these holidays arrive, many families travel to other cities to celebrate Christmas and the incoming New Year elsewhere. Most will travel by vehicle to their destination or to an airport to fly farther distances. With winter weather at its peak, roads we are very used to driving on can become treacherous due to ice and snow. When storms arrive and pass, we in law enforcement get intimately involved in accident investigations. As we are dispatched to each one, it is our hope that no occupant in injured and that minimal property damage resulted. When you lose control of your vehicle while driving, many drivers use drastic movements to try to regain control. As your vehicle loses traction with the roadway, overt movements and drastic corrections often cause rollovers as the end result. If your vehicle loses control, turn into the direction you are going. When you begin to slide, ease off of the gas pedal and gently apply brake. Overall, the most important driving tip is to drive safely in consideration of the conditions and always wear your seatbelt. These tips will hopefully minimize the chance of injury.
Criminals who are looking for things to steal are waiting for the holiday season as well. At this time of year, so many people are shopping and have many expensive items in their cars. Make sure you are locking your vehicles in parking lots and keeping items out of plain view. Also, this is a very prime time for criminals to enter houses while you are away shopping. Make sure your homes are secured. It would be a terrible time to come home to your belongings and presents gone. Get to know your neighbors and look out for one another while one is away from their house. Lastly, but no less important, is that of personal attack. During the holiday season, many relatives get together and tensions rise. Sometimes, these tensions rise to physical altercations. Law enforcement is then summoned to investigate and enforce the law. Many times families intervene and diffuse the situation before physical altercations occur. Holidays are supposed to be cheerful and full of smiles and good cheer. Letís help one another out to make this holiday season just that. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year from the Humboldt County Sheriffís Office.