Tag Archives: Bishop Police Department

Shots Fired, Man arrested

Tuesday Night Incident Ends with Arrest

February 4, 2016
by Arnie Palu

The Inyo County Sheriffs department has released additional details into a situation that played out Tuesday evening on South Pa Ha Lane.  In addition to the Inyo Sheriffs department, members of the Bishop Police Department and California Highway Patrol responded to the scene Tuesday night.  Law enforcement was sent to the 200th block of South Pa Ha lane on the Bishop reservation on the report of a subject firing a gun.   Wednesday afternoon the Inyo County Sheriffs department issued the following statement.

Last night (Tuesday, February 2nd) at approximately 8:30pm Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to PaHa Lane, west of Bishop, due to shots being fired in a residential area.  Deputies responded and obtained witness statements that confirmed that three gunshots did take place outside a residence. Two suspects were questioned and released, and one suspect was arrested at the scene. Raymond Joseph Bencoma III, a 40-year old man from Bishop, was taken into custody and booked under the following charge: felony assault with firearm. Bail has been set at $25,000.”

Bencoma, Raymond Joseph III
Raymond Joseph Bencoma III. photo provided by the inyo county sheriffs department

Investigators are encouraging anyone with additional information to contact the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office at 760-878-0383, or you may use the following link:  http://www.inyocounty.us/so/report-crime/

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Marsh Sentencing Continued

Sentencing delayed for Dolores Marsh

by Arnie Palu
January 21, 2016

Bishop resident Dolores Kay “Lola” Marsh appeared in Inyo County Court Wednesday for sentencing.  On November 19th, 2015, Marsh plead guilty to two felonies, admitting to a felony count of grand theft and forgery. Terms of the agreement requiring Marsh pay $322,000 in restitution and serve 2 years in jail. Marsh was expected to sell her home and pay $100,000 to the victims, Inyo Mono Body shop, at sentencing Wednesday. At yesterdays proceeding it was revealed that the Marsh’s have been unable to sell their home, Judge Brian Lamb rescheduled sentencing for Wednesday, April 6th, allowing time to sell the home.

Marsh, currently out of custody on bond, will begin serving her two year jail term next week. Lola Marsh was ordered to enter custody on Tuesday, January 26th. Judge Brian Lamb noting that while Marsh will report to Inyo County Jail for processing, Mono County Jail would be an option for serving the two year term.

The case was prosecuted by the office of the Attorney General, with Edward Skelly speaking for the people at yesterdays sentencing.

The case was investigated by the Bishop Police Department, Sargent David Jepson was alongside Skelly for Wednesdays proceedings.

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Bishop Sticks with Stec

Bishop City Council Appoints Ted Stec Chief of Police

submitted by the City of Bishop

In the fall of 2015, the City of Bishop initiated a comprehensive search for a Chief of Police following the retirement of former Chief Chris Carter. The extremely successful recruitment process was facilitated by the Executive Search Firm, Ralph Andersen and Associates, with retired Police Chief Greg Nelson acting as lead. The process yielded 24 applicants which were put through a rigorous screening, reducing the field to 5 highly qualified candidates.
On January 5, 2016, the finalists participated in an exhaustive, individual interview process lasting approximately 90 minutes that included 22 questions covering a wide range of scenarios.

At its meeting of January 11, 2016, the Bishop City Council voted unanimously to appoint Ted Stec as the new Chief of Police. Chief Stec came to the City of Bishop in late October of 2015 to fill the role of Lieutenant/Acting Chief. Prior to coming to Bishop, the Chief spent approximately 25 years in law enforcement in Northern California, starting his career as a Police Officer with the City of Red Bluff. He then spent 5 years as a D.A. Investigator for Shasta County before moving on to Suisun City, California in 2006. Chief Stec was hired by the City of Suisun as part of a team whose mission was to rebuild the Police Department.

Ted is joined in Bishop by his lovely wife Dawn. In the two short months they have been here, the couple has already made their presence felt, participating in numerous community events as both spectators and volunteers. Please help the City Council and Staff welcome the Stecs to Bishop.

photo courtesy of the Bishop Police Department

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Inyo Sheriffs Department Arrest two

Inyo Sheriffs Department  Makes Two Arrests

Raymond Gutierrez, age 59 of Bishop and Brandon Decker, age 33, of Bishop are taken into custody.  Two Inyo Sheriffs deputies were injured while apprehending Decker.  The Inyo County Sheriffs Department issued the following statement detailing the two arrests Tuesday. 

Inyo County Sheriffs Department Statement

January 6, 2016

Last night at 9:00pm Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received notification of a domestic disturbance that took place approximately an hour earlier at the intersection of Winuba and Diaz (west of Bishop). According to an interview with the victim, she was assaulted at the intersection by Raymond Vidal Gutierrez a 59 year old man from Bishop. Gutierrez was released from custody from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office on January 5th; he was being held on an Inyo County warrant from 2004 for a felony weapons charge and probation violation. Prior to his transfer to the Inyo County Jail, Gutierrez spent 11-years with the California Department of Corrections for felony domestic abuse and false imprisonment charges. Gutierrez was not located at the scene.

At approximately 3:00am Gutierrez was located by Bishop Police at Denney’s restaurant in Bishop and placed under arrest.  He was transported to the Inyo County Jail and booked under the following charges: felony violation of parole (no bail), and felony domestic abuse. 

Raymond Vidal Gutierrez. Photo by Inyo County SO

            At about 2:00am this morning Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a burglary in progress west of Bishop near Manor Market. According to the reporting party, a man (later identified as 33 year old Brandon Decker from Bishop), broke into the residence through an unlocked backdoor and stole several items. Sheriff’s Deputies arrived shortly after the 911 call and completed a thorough check of the area. Decker was spotted about four houses down from the house that was broken into; he appeared to be breaking into that residence as well (later it was determined that Decker lived there with his father). Deputies noticed a pistol shaped object in Decker’s hand as he was entering the house and a holster on his right hip. After entering the property Decker locked the front door. Sheriff’s Deputies were able to convince Decker to come out of the house; however Decker resisted arrest and a physical altercation ensued. The two Sheriff’s Deputies sustained minor injuries in the process, but eventually Decker was taken into custody and transported to the Inyo County Jail.

Decker was booked under the following charges: felony burglary, felony obstruction, felony firearm charge, and misdemeanor receiving stolen property. Bail has been set at $100,000.

Brandon Decker, photo by Inyo County SO
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Bishop PD, “Lock Your Vehicles!”

Bishop Police Department reports vehicle break-ins

submitted by the Bishop Police department

Monday morning the Bishop Police Department received several reports of vehicles break-ins from over the weekend. The majority of the vehicles entered were left unlocked.

The Bishop Police Department reminds folks to please remember to lock your cars at night. Criminals will target unlocked vehicles. Remember if something seems wrong, or you see any type of suspicious behavior or persons in your neighborhood, call the Bishop Police Department at (760) 873-5866.

• Lock It: Lock your vehicle every time you leave it unattended and always lock your valuables in the trunk.
• Hide It: If you don’t have a trunk, hide valuables under the seats, in the glove box, or other compartments within the vehicle.
• Keep It: Personal responsibility is the best prevention to safeguard personal property and to prevent becoming a victim.
Popular items stolen from vehicles include: GPS devices, Cell phone/chargers, money including loose change, stereos/radios, and documents including mail and check books

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Suspect wanted for Attempted Murder arrested in Bishop

Santa Rosa suspect arrested Monday

Travelers on North Sierra Highway Monday morning were witness to a “High Risk enforcement stop”.  Several local law enforcement agencies teamed up to apprehend a suspect with a warrant for attempted murder.  Bishop Police Interim Chief Ted Stec issued the following statement following Mondays arrest.

“This morning (Monday, November 16th), Bishop Police Officers, with assistance from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Major Investigation and Narcotics Team (MINT), and the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office arrested Alfonso McCloud on a warrant charging attempted murder. McCloud is 24 years old and a resident of Santa Rosa, CA. The attempted murder charge originated out of Santa Rosa.
Information received over the past several months tended to indicate McCloud had fled to Bishop after the incident in Santa Rosa. Local officers working on tips from Santa Rosa eventually spotted McCloud in a vehicle traveling on W. Pine. St. A high-risk enforcement stop was made on Rocking W Dr. at Highway 395, where McCloud was taken into custody without incident.
McCloud was subsequently interviewed by Santa Rosa Police Detectives and booked into the County Jail. McCloud will soon be transported back to Santa Rosa. ”

Booking Photo: Alfonso McCloud, photo courtesy of the Inyo County Sheriffs department.
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Preliminary Hearing set for Bishop Embezzlement case

“Lola” Marsh set to appear in Inyo County Court

by Arnie Palu

A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday, November 19th for Dolores Kay “Lola” Marsh. According to a spokesperson from the Office of the Attorney General, Marsh is charged with 5 counts of grand theft and 5 counts of falsifying records. The Preliminary hearing is set for 10am in Independence.

The California Attorney Generals Office is handling prosecution of the Marsh case, not the Inyo County District Attorney’s office and current DA Tom Hardy. The case is not being handled locally due to the fact that prior to being appointed as District Attorney, Tom Hardy had represented Marsh during her preliminary investigation.

The Bishop Police Department reported the initial arrest of Marsh in February.  At that time the Bishop Police Department released the following statement:
“On Thursday, February 5th, 2015 after an almost 2 year investigation, the Bishop Police Department arrested Dolores Kay Marsh for a felony warrant. The Bishop Police Department investigated back in April of 2013, a complaint from Inyo Mono Body Shop, where suspected funds had been stolen from the business. The investigation was handled within the police department and turned over to the Office of the Attorney General-State of California for further investigation into the missing funds. As a result of the completed investigation, the Office of the Attorney General determined; Dolores Kay Marsh should be charged with stealing in excess of $300,000.00 from Inyo Mono Body Shop. An arrest warrant was issued by the Office of the Attorney General and Bishop Police Officers acted on the warrant and arrested March early on Thursday morning (February 5th, 2015). Marsh was transported to the Bishop Police Department, where the bail was set at $50,000.00 for the felony warrant. The listed charges within the warrant are: 5 counts of grand theft and 5 counts of forgery: altering entries in books and records. Marsh posted bail and was released with a court date.”

Cover Photo, Inyo County Courthouse. Photo by Gary Young

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$hort Bishop City Council Meeting

Bishop City Council Meets in Special Session

by Arnie Palu

Three Bishop Police Department items were on the agenda for today’s special meeting of the Bishop City Council. The City Council took action to approve former Chief Chris Carter as short term interim chief. City Administrator Jim Tatum noted that Carter will serve as interim police chief on an as needed basis at a rate of $54.52 per hour. The short term agreement has Carter on board through the month of October. Tatum noted that the department is hoping to have a Lieutenant in place October 26th. Tatum indicated that the new Lieutenant would then serve as interim chief while the 4 to 5 month search for a Police Chief is finalized.

The firm completing that search had their revised contract approved today. The City Council voted 4-0 approving a professional services agreement with Ralph Andersen and Associates for the recruitment of a police chief. The agreement notes the recruitment firm will be paid an amount not to exceed $26,000.

Prior to the third action being addressed, Councilman Joe Pecsi and City Administrator Jim Tatum excused themselves from the council chambers. The third item up for action today centered on the council naming a firm to investigate the claims of a letter signed by 7 members of the Bishop Police Department. The “Letter of No Confidence in Police Chief Chris Carter” was delivered to local media and the city council on September 17th. The letter included accusations against City Administrator Jim Tatum, City Councilman Joe Pecsi, and then Police Chief Chris Carter. Accusations to be included in the investigation will include, but not be limited to, misconduct, violation of established policies, conflict of interest, compliance with a formally negotiated memorandum of understanding, misuse of government resources and violations of the Police Officers Bill of Rights. Following a short discussion the three remaining council members, Karen Schwartz, Mayor Pro-Tem Laura Smith and Mayor Patricia Gardner voted to approve the professional services agreement with Norman Traub Associates. The agreement indicates that the city of Bishop will pay the investigators from Yorba Linda $200 per hour plus expenses. Also, in the event the investigator is required to provide testimony at a post-investigation hearing, deposition or trial, the fee is $250 per hour plus expenses.

Council member Schwartz raised concerns about the expense with Acting Legal Council Peter Tracy indicating the investigation could take months to finalize. Mayor Pro-Tem Smith acknowledged the expense saying however, “This needs to be done”.  Mayor Gardner commented, “We have to look into all the allegations”.   The agreement was approved on a 3-0 vote.

There were zero members of the public at Tuesdays 11am special meeting.
Ted Carleton of the Sheet and myself were the only two in attendance.
Councilman Jim Ellis was absent and excused.
The Bishop City Council will next meet on Tuesday, October 13.

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Carter named Interim Chief

City of Bishop names Carter Interim Chief

City officials announce Chris Carter Short Term Interim Chief of Police and address the “letter of no confidence” issued September 16th.  A statement released by the city today also confirms that they are  in the process of soliciting an independent, outside investigator to investigate the accusations included in the letter.


The City of Bishop has secured the services of the executive search firm, Ralph Andersen and Associates, to facilitate the hiring of a new Chief of Police. It is anticipated the hiring process will take 4-5 months and include a thorough background investigation. The vacancy is a product of the September 30, 2015 retirement of Chief Chris Carter. He will be ending a 31 year career in law enforcement, the final five years as the Chief of Police. Carter has agreed to return to the Bishop Police Department as a short term interim Chief under the classification of retired annuitant. The term of the contract will be for a period not to exceed 30 days and provide the City adequate time to identify a long term interim Chief, fulfilling the balance of the anticipated 4-5 month recruitment process.

Additionally, at the request of Chief Carter, the City Administrator and the City Council, the City of Bishop is in the process of soliciting an independent, outside investigator to investigate the accusations included in a letter regarding Chief of Police Chris Carter dated September 16, 2015. The letter was addressed to the Bishop City Council and numerous local media sources and was signed by seven members of the Bishop Police Department acting as individuals, independent of the Bishop Police Officers Association. It also included accusations against the City Administrator and a member of the City Council. Accusations to be included in the investigation will include, but not be limited to, misconduct, violation of established policies, conflict of interest, compliance with a formally negotiated MOU, misuse of government resources and violations of the Police Officers Bill of Rights (POBAR). Upon completion, any and all information resulting from the investigation and not subject to rules of confidentiality will be made available to the public.

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Unrest at the Bishop Police Department

Officers pen letter of no confidence in chief

Seven Bishop Police Officer have pinned a letter of no confidence in Police Chief Chris Carter. The letter was signed by sworn officers  Brent Gillespie, Mark Gutierrez, Doug Mairs, David Jepson, Jared Waasdorp, Bryan Rossy and Mike Mairs.

The letter was delivered to local media and the city council this past Thursday, September 17th. The letter was release while Chief Carter was on a scheduled vacation, not making him available to comment or respond. Chief Carter submitted a response Monday afternoon.

The letter of no confidence uses clear language in challenging Chief Carters integrity and ethics.  “The Bishop Police Department has a cancer. That Cancer is CRONYISM in the form of Chief Carter’s unfair, unethical, hostile and retaliatory leadership.”

The five page letter of no confidence opens by saying, “It is with great regret that we, the undersigned officers of the Bishop Police Department, write this letter.  Unfortunately circumstances leave us no choice.  We have lost all trust, faith and confidence in Chief Carter’s ability to lead this department and continue serving as Chief of Police.   By Fostering an atmosphere of hostility, retaliation and unethical behavior Chief Carter has brought morale to an all-time low.  Retention and recruitment of qualified personnel is suffering. That is turn jeopardizes the safety of the community.  Chief Carter’s unfair and inequitable treatment of Department personnel and his use of internal affairs investigations to intimidate officers can no longer be tolerated.”

Chief Carter, officer Dan Nolan, and City Councilman Joe Pecsi’s  involvement with Sierra Tactical Training and Active Response Resources (STTARR) is also addressed in the letter.  The letter of no confidence states, “Recently two on duty officers were in the Bishop Police department dispatch center.  The Dispatcher told the officers he was updating the STTARR.net website at the direction of Chief Carter.  The Dispatcher stated Councilman Pecsi had ask Chief Carter to have him (the dispatcher) update the website.  Utilizing on duty subordinate Police Department personnel and city computer systems to augment him and his partners’ private business venture could be viewed as time card fraud or even embezzlement of city resources.”

The officers letter also questions the departments lack of updated training, “The Department has not had a qualification shoot or defensive tactics training since November 2014. Per the Bishop Police Departments Policy, all sworn personnel are required to qualify quarterly with their duty weapon on an approved range course.”

Department moral was also addressed, “In other instances where officers have tried to express concerns about morale or police issues, the Chief has told officers, ‘If you don’t like working here there are five (expletive) doors, pick one.’  He once told supervisors at a staff meeting that if any officers weren’t happy with the schedule they ‘Should go sell (expletive) shoes at Kmart.'”

The letter of no confidence also addresses officer issues with City Administrator Jim Tatum.  “Several of the undersigned have also made the problems at the department know to City Administrator on numerous occasions.  He has failed to act.  More recently, the City Administrator chose to ignore lies and false statements made by a Department employee (and supported of Chief Carter) against an officer in an internal affairs investigation.”

Chief Carter’s Response.

It is my understanding there will be an official investigation, as there well should be, and I welcome it because I know what the truths of these allegations are. I assure you that while some of what has been said is true, the whole truth is not contained anywhere in their letter. I have been advised that because some of these allegations might amount to misconduct or even criminal conduct, I’m not obliged to make any statement and should not proceed without legal counsel. While I recognize the validity of this advice, I cannot and will not remain silent on this issue.

I would like the citizens of Bishop and any others who are concerned to take into account a couple of things: one being that I announced my retirement in July. These officers have had two months in the interim to go public with their complaints and concerns, and yet they chose to make these allegations on the day I left on a scheduled vacation and two weeks prior to my official retirement date. This isn’t a coincidence. Their goal has nothing to do with bettering the Department or exposing corruption. I believe this letter is a smear campaign, plain and simple.

This letter was signed by seven people, but authored by a single individual. Each of these individuals may have their own personal axes to grind based on our common history as subordinate and supervisor. This letter is not a correspondence from the Police Officers Association (union). There was no meeting held or vote taken, even though two of the people who signed this letter act as the President and Vice-President of the Union.

An internal notice of training regarding Range qualifications was sent out on August 22, 2015, to all sworn personnel, scheduling a Range Training for September 23rd. I’m aware we’re out of policy for our training and the issue was being addressed. This is yet another example of omission of facts in order to avoid presenting the whole truth.

Other quotes attributed to me are fairly accurate, however out of context they might be. I have no tolerance for those who still think this is a little league game. Not everybody gets a trophy (or promotion) for just showing up. We keep score here in the majors and I run a performance based system. I do play favorites. My favorites are those people who consistently give 111% and who solve problems and don’t whine about having to do their job. If you want a regular schedule with predictable hours and demands, K-mart is hiring. If you don’t like this job, there really are 5 doors in the building, pick one and I’ll help you pack. I respect professional attitudes and conduct. I will offer the opinion that for these officers to address their concerns in this manner is absolutely unprofessional and it might go a long way to explaining why none of them got a trophy.

There are many other allegations in the letter that will prove to be completely false, especially those that would call into question the integrity or character of Jim Tatum, Joe Pecsi and any other member of the Bishop Police Department. There is no conspiracy, no misconduct and no excuse for these Officers to attack others in their attempt to tarnish my reputation or my history of service to this Community. They can offer no proof of the validity of their claims but I can offer absolute proof of my innocence and that of others they have attacked.

In closing, I offer the following; I have done nothing illegal, unethical or immoral as your Chief of Police. I continue to serve at the  pleasure of the City Council and will continue to do so while my replacement is sought. Should the Council choose other options, it has been my honor to serve them and this Community for the past 12 years and I assure you that the men and women of the Bishop Police Department are still serving and protecting to the best of their ability.

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