No charges after cop's errant bullet ...

No charges after cop's errant bullet wounds man

There are 31 comments on the SF Gate story from Apr 30, 2009, titled No charges after cop's errant bullet wounds man. In it, SF Gate reports that:

The Tulare County district attorney won't file charges against the Woodlake police department for the shooting of a 68-year-old man who was struck in the back after a bullet missed its target at a firing range.

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Drumbeat

Fresno, CA

#1 May 4, 2009
Very interesting article.

Have you noticed that all the small agencies in Tulare County always hire retired Tulare County Sheriff's Deputies to become their chiefs of police?

Have you ever noticed that incompetence and scandal always seem to follow them?

Read on my friends...

Zapalac retired after 30 years with TCSO and became the Woodlake C.O.P. in 1996. Since that time, he has done enough notable things to create a public diversion, but Zapalac is as incompetent a leader as you could ever find anywhere.

With all due respect to the hardworking and honest deputies of that fine agency, the higher levels of TCSO administration are inherently corrupt.

Remember Melvin 'Butch' Coley? He resigned from TCSO under suspicion of misconduct. He later became the Tulare County Sheriff. He fired several deputies, Leroy Holland and Larry McLaughlin to name but two, because they called Coley on his unethical conduct.

Needless to say, they were awarded their jobs back with back pay and full compensation.

Nice job, Butch. That cost the taxpayers of Tulare County a fortune, not to mention the medical coverage you cooked up to save the county money that screwed all the deputies with families.

Now everyone in Tulare County Law Enforcement knew that former Woodlake Police Sergeant Ken Chipchase was crooked as far back as 1993, but former Woodlake Police Lieutenant Alfred Silva and Chief of Police Jesse Garcia turned a blind eye to what Chipchase and his partner Officer Tom Crowell were up to.

It took a few years for everything to blow up in their faces, but the lid finally did blow off. You can read accounts of Ken Chipchase's arrest and trial in the June 1998 editions of The Fresno Bee.

Now during the early 1990's, there were a handful of honest, hardworking cops at Woodlake PD. Among the 'good cops' was Sgt. Mark Swaim, Darrel Luera, Jay Brock and a couple of reserve officers. However, both the Lieutenant and the Chief at the time were as crooked as they come. Lt. Alfred Silva left to avoid an inquiry into his conduct and former chief Jesse Garcia was fired.

Keep in mind that there were TWO Jesse Garcia’s; one was a Woodlake resident and the other was from Exeter PD. The Jesse Garcia from Exeter PD was never known to have been involved in any wrongdoing. He was chief just prior to Zapalac coming on board in 1996.

Woodlake Police Officer Ray Sandoval was shot at the Woodlake Airport in December, 1993, when he interrupted a burglary. Sandoval survived by virtue of his bullet-proof vest and returned to work a short time later.

Sandoval was arrested and charged with shooting himself with his own off-duty handgun, allegedly to impress or win back an ex-girlfriend. Sandoval was convicted and did time for this.

One question that was never asked during the trial and I was present for the entire event.
No one ever asked who had Sandoval's off-duty handgun the night of the shooting. Sandoval had loaned it to a fellow officer a few days before the incident. I wonder who had the gun?

Coincidence? Perhaps not. At any rate, that was just the tip of the iceberg in the saga of Woodlake PD.

More to come.......
Drumbeat

Fresno, CA

#2 May 4, 2009
Ken Chipchase on trial:

When Ken Chipchase was arrested in April 1998 and booked into Tulare County Main Jail on 14 counts of perjury and tampering with evidence, it made all the local papers. Chipchase bailed out on a $200,000 bond a month or so into the trial.

Kelly Robertson, an investigator for the District Attorney's Office, testified in a preliminary hearing that she checked into then Sgt. Kenneth Chipchase's requests to remove the evidence after noticing that some items in the Woodlake Police Department evidence room were incomplete or missing.

A two-month investigation into the disappearance of drugs from the room. Missing items included marijuana, LSD, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine revealed falsification of documents and missing evidence items.

Then you have the less-known antics of Woodlake police officers like J.L's accident that injured a handcuffed prisoner riding in the back of his unit. When J.L. hit the brakes to 'discipline' his mouthy prisoner, he lost control of the car and rolled it over.

The point is, misconduct is tolerated within police departments and very little is ever 'officially' done to correct things. Why? Because a crook in the chief's office will protect a crook on the streets.

What more loyal police officer could you have working for you than one whose criminal and/or questionable background would prevent them from working anywhere else?

When Woodlake Police Officer Robert William’s arrest made the papers, Woodlake PD simply announced that Williams had been "dismissed due to not passing the probationary period."

This is a famous catch-all that lets a crooked cop move onto another department with no 'official' record of what really happened.

The recent arrest and trial of Maricopa Police Officer Garry Ferguson revealed drug arrests in 1999 and 2001 that were concealed during the course of his background investigation.

Is it any wonder that we have so many issues in our small communities?
Drumbeat

Fresno, CA

#3 May 4, 2009
Woodlake PD in the news again.

According to the Fresno Bee, Chief Zapalac simply refused to cooperate with district attorney investigators during the Perryman shooting and even refused to produce training records.

If you know John, you will notice he always has a 'front' going on; some community event, award or outreach program that works to divert public opinion from his historically unethical conduct.

The 2008 Grand Jury report devoted several pages to Zapalac's misconduct, favortism and intimidation of police personnel who just won't go along with his program.

Tell me something, Johhny ol' buddy, are you going to handle things as sheriff they way you did when you were with TCSO?

Let's hope not.
Drumbeat

Fresno, CA

#4 May 4, 2009
Now, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that Phil Cline finds no negligence in the 'accidental' shooting of Mr. Perryman by Woodlake police. It also isn't the first time that Cline has turned a blind eye to justice.

Perhaps you recall 5th District Court of Appeals Judge James A. Ardaiz's official comments on how Cline withheld critical evidence in the trial of Mark Sodersten who died in prison after serving 20 years for a crime he did not commit.

"Sodersten certainly did not receive a fair trial in Tulare County because the prosecution team (Cline and Couillard) improperly withheld evidence that carried with it the grave risk of convicting an innocent man."

Unfortunately, the ruling was too late for Sodersten; He had died in prison several months earlier.

Doesn't anyone remember this case? This single case is typical of the Tulare County Justice System.

Remember that Phil Cline is someone who makes decisions on your behalf and YOU empowered him by your vote. Keep voting for these 'dinosaurs' of the historically corrupt Tulare County Justice System so history can continue to repeat itself.

12-William

Rochester, NY

#5 May 8, 2009
Everyone that knows Zapalac personally is fully aware that he is a self-serving oportunist. The man won't do anything for anyone unless he has something to gain from it. The guy is more interested in his own status than anything else. All the youth efforts are nothing more than a diversionary front.

To say the man is crooked would be an understatement.
MustBeBitter

Princeton Junction, NJ

#6 Aug 11, 2009
Drumbeat you Mean Deadbeat!!! Obviously you did not spend much time in the Court Room during Sgt. Chipchase's trial, I did as a Juror. You are right about Zapalac but misstate the Chipchase trial. If you were there then you know the judge in fact cautioned witnesses including Roberson and Zapalac regarding their own perjuries testimony. This case was obviously a planned out vendetta by Zapalac who had along standing "Bone to pick" with Chipchase and the Woodlake Police Department. Zapalac obviously cashed in some 'IOU's" at the DA's Office and got an embarrassing investigation and prosecution conducted by the Tulare Co. DA’s. All of this came out in trial and is clear in the manuscript. Chipchase was a highly commended military Veteran and Law Enforcement Officer, all which was brought forth during the trial by his Military superiors and Law Enforcement peers. If you know the facts regarding this case you understand the DA’s case was built around one sentence in search warrant affidavits that described his training and experience. The statement was proven in court not to be false, by testimony given by Chipchase’s military supervisors. As far as missing drugs, etc. from the evidence room. In Roberson’s on testimony she states that the only time there was a discrepancy in the evidence locker occurred after an initial DA investigators audit of the room and after Sgt. Chipchase was placed on Administrative Leave with no access to the Department. Sgt. Chipchase was hailed by community members as a champion for youth and extremely proficient investigator and supervisor. After sitting through this trial myself I wonder if you Mr.“Drumbeat” truly are not Mark Swaim whose bitterness towards Sgt. Chipchase was so evident it could only be overshadowed by John Zapalac’s!
Drumbeat

Fresno, CA

#7 Sep 23, 2009
Must Be Bitter,

While I respect your opinion with regard to this matter and stipulate as to your presence at the trial as a juror, I must also advise you that there is so much more to this case than what was brought before the judge.

Notwithstanding the evidence at his trial, Chipchase was a crooked cop. Everyone at WPD knew about it and what transpired in the courtroom, in June of 1998, was only the tip of the iceberg. Chipchase lied about his military service to COS Academy Director Larry Burge in 1992 and was censured for this. He went on to lie about his military assignments during the hiring process for WPD. What you saw in the courtroom was nothing compared to what it was like to work with Chipchase.

Did Zapalac and Swaim have a 'bone to pick' with Chipchase? Absolutely. Between Chipchase, former Lieutenant Alfred Silva and former Chief of Police Jesse Garcia's historical tendency to tamper with evidence, which got both of them fired, Zapalac inherited an agency that was literally on the verge of being disbanded by the State Attorney General. Were you a party to the grand jury inquiry regarding WPD? I believe that Zapalac took the appropriate action as department head, however unpopular that might have been.

Chipchase was a great politician. His community and youth involvement was a 'mask' for his criminal conduct and this is a common tactic used as a diversion by many corrupt politicians and cops. His investigative skill was average at best. His peers were frequently assigned follow-up investigations because Chipchase had failed to conduct adequate primary investigations. He would work only enough to fly 'under the radar' and nothing more.

Your perception of Chipchase is based on his courtroom demeanor, where he was on his best behavior. Were you present when he planted evidence during traffic stops? Were you there when he would 'accidentally' kick a handcuffed, seated prisoner in the face? No, I do not think you were. Lieutenant Silva knew about this and he deliberately concealed it. Perhaps, had one of these victims been a member of your family, your opinion of Chipchase would be different.

The corruption in WPD, at that time, came straight from the department head down. Chipchase was the only one who got caught up in the scandal. Lt. Silva and Chief Garcia both escaped justice and Chipchase was simply the fall-guy.

Furthermore, Chipchase was also directly responsible for the shooting of WPD Officer Ray Sandoval, after Sandoval interrupted Chipchase, and a masked accomplice, during the burglary of avionics from the Woodlake Airport in December of 1993.

No, I am not Mark Swaim, but I knew him and he had no patience for crooked cops. Chipchase was crooked to the very core. Although Chipchase was successful in avoiding justice at trial in 1998, I knew he would never change.

I just happened to be on duty one evening in February of 2001 when Chipchase was arrested for drunk driving on Highway 41 near the 180 off ramp in Fresno. He bragged about his military service that night too.

Sorry to destroy your perceptions and theories.

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#8 Sep 30, 2009
Very interesting article.
Have you noticed that all the small agencies in Tulare County always hire retired Tulare County Sheriff's Deputies to become their chiefs of police?
Have you ever noticed that incompetence and scandal always seem to follow them?
Read on my friends...
Zapalac retired after 30 years with TCSO and became the Woodlake C.O.P. in 1996. Since that time, he has done enough notable things to create a public diversion, but Zapalac is as incompetent a leader as you could ever find anywhere.

John Zapalac does not need my post to defend his lifes work in law enforcement and within his community! John is a Christian family man who is now seeking to serve the residents of Tulare County as Sheriff. This post falsely labels John Zapalac as "incompetent a leader as you could ever find anywhere"??? The same statement could be made for this post as the most ridiculous and erroneous of all posts on the internet! John Zapalac has a masters Degree in Leadership and Organizational Development! John Zapalac has 30 plus years experience in Law Enforcement and community service. Tulare County will be much safer if the voters elect John Zapalac!

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#9 Sep 30, 2009
Quoted text "Very interesting article.
Have you noticed that all the small agencies in Tulare County always hire retired Tulare County Sheriff's Deputies to become their chiefs of police?
Have you ever noticed that incompetence and scandal always seem to follow them?
Read on my friends...
Zapalac retired after 30 years with TCSO and became the Woodlake C.O.P. in 1996. Since that time, he has done enough notable things to create a public diversion, but Zapalac is as incompetent a leader as you could ever find anywhere."

BIMUSAINC wrote: John Zapalac does not need my post to defend his lifes work in law enforcement and within his community! John is a Christian family man who is now seeking to serve the residents of Tulare County as Sheriff. This post falsely labels John Zapalac as "incompetent a leader as you could ever find anywhere"??? The same statement could be made for this post as the most ridiculous and erroneous of all posts on the internet! John Zapalac has a masters Degree in Leadership and Organizational Development! John Zapalac has 30 plus years experience in Law Enforcement and community service. Tulare County will be much safer if the voters elect John Zapalac!

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#10 Sep 30, 2009
Drumbeat wrote:
Woodlake PD in the news again.
According to the Fresno Bee, Chief Zapalac simply refused to cooperate with district attorney investigators during the Perryman shooting and even refused to produce training records.
If you know John, you will notice he always has a 'front' going on; some community event, award or outreach program that works to divert public opinion from his historically unethical conduct.
The 2008 Grand Jury report devoted several pages to Zapalac's misconduct, favortism and intimidation of police personnel who just won't go along with his program.
Tell me something, Johhny ol' buddy, are you going to handle things as sheriff they way you did when you were with TCSO?
Let's hope not.
BIMUSAINC wrote: "Johhny ol' buddy???" "Let's hope not???" Speask for yourself friend!!! Let's hope we can get John Zapalac elected as Sheriff and provide the county with an educated, professional law enforcement official who will toss out the good ol' buddy philosophy that makes many current TCSO policies NOT SAFE for regular citizens who are not part of the good ol boy set up that is now in place!

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#11 Sep 30, 2009
12-William wrote:
Everyone that knows Zapalac personally is fully aware that he is a self-serving oportunist. The man won't do anything for anyone unless he has something to gain from it. The guy is more interested in his own status than anything else. All the youth efforts are nothing more than a diversionary front.
To say the man is crooked would be an understatement.
BIMUSAINC wrote: Wow!!! You know this guy works for the current sheriff and doesnt want to lose his job! In this guys estimation Jesus' good samaritan was an opportunist! How dare John Zapalac use his own time, money, and hard work to make Woodlake a safer place for children? Hopefully we can get that same kind of care and attention when John Zapalac is elected Tulare County Sheriff!

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#12 Sep 30, 2009
Quote: "Did Zapalac and Swaim have a 'bone to pick' with Chipchase? Absolutely. Between Chipchase, former Lieutenant Alfred Silva and former Chief of Police Jesse Garcia's historical tendency to tamper with evidence, which got both of them fired, Zapalac inherited an agency that was literally on the verge of being disbanded by the State Attorney General. Were you a party to the grand jury inquiry regarding WPD? I believe that Zapalac took the appropriate action as department head, however unpopular that might have been."

BIMUSAINC: Wow!!! Now that's the kind of Sheriff Tulare County needs!!! John Zapalac has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Organizational Development and that's what Tulare County needs. The county needs an educated Sheriff with experience! This guy Zapalac also has the morals and ethics to bring positive change to corrupt organizations???? Let's get this guy elected Sheriff!!!! When will people get tired of electing the guy with the good ol' boy resume>>>???< <<

PS don't blame me I wanted Ron Paul!
Jeff P

Fresno, CA

#13 Oct 7, 2009
BIM,
A degree, in and of itself, doesn't demonstrate any true level of competence as a leader. You are obviously campaigning for Zap. What's your agenda? Ever work for TCSO under Zap? If you did, you might feel differently.

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#14 Oct 14, 2009
Jeff P wrote:
BIM,
A degree, in and of itself, doesn't demonstrate any true level of competence as a leader. You are obviously campaigning for Zap. What's your agenda? Ever work for TCSO under Zap? If you did, you might feel differently.
If you go to the doctor for major surgery you certainly want a doctor who is appropriately educated and experienced. The absence of the required and or preferred education and experience is not the desired prerequisite. The current Sheriff doesnt have the education and the good ol boy politics is the real environment at TCSO.

No I do not work at TCSO nor have I ever. I am a citizen not a law enforcement officer. My agenda? I VOTE!!! What is your agenda? Do you work at TCSO? Are you simply hoping your boss stays on the job so you can stay on the job? Well, that's not good enough for the rest of the unprotected non good ol boys living in Tulare County! The corruption and back patting needs to stop. I met John Zapalac as a student at FPU where I also got a Masters degree. I took one online course with him. I met the guy in person one time. Does that establish an agenda? What type of education does the current Sheriff have? The current Sheriff is not healthy and should retire. John Zapalac is the best candidate for that job!



I agree with many voters that the country should have elected Ron Paul as president. The best candidate doesnt always get elected. Usually it is the good ol boy!

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#15 Oct 14, 2009
Jeff P wrote:
BIM,
A degree, in and of itself, doesn't demonstrate any true level of competence as a leader. You are obviously campaigning for Zap. What's your agenda? Ever work for TCSO under Zap? If you did, you might feel differently.
Jeff??? Are you a current employee of TCSO? Have you worked for John Zapalac at TCSO and if so in what capacity? Please be specific? Just making that statement is not sufficient! What was so horrible about Zapalacs job performance? He retired from the TCSO? Yes? Wasnt fired? Please use facts and not off topic details. The citizens of this county deserve professional law enforcement service from their Sheriffs office and not more of the same old good ol boys politics. Its great if your rich or in the in crowd but not everyone has that advantage.

Also Jeff, if you work at the TCSO your job is secure unless of course your not doing your job and being ethical. I make no accusations I dont know you but the whole history down there (TCSO) is not good. Its time for a change! This guy Zapalac took over a corrupt police dept that was going to be shut down and turned it around. He can do the same for the TCSO! As a simple (NO PERSONAL AGENDA OTHER THAN CASTING A GOOD VOTE) voter I say ELECT John Zapalac Sheriff!!!!

Since: Sep 09

Visalia, CA

#16 Oct 14, 2009
Jeff P wrote:
BIM,
A degree, in and of itself, doesn't demonstrate any true level of competence as a leader. You are obviously campaigning for Zap. What's your agenda? Ever work for TCSO under Zap? If you did, you might feel differently.
Jeff, I do not know you nor do I wish to offend you or anyone else. Okay so I need to answer your question ... what's my agenda? I am a registered voter! I am not in the elite social arena. I'm not rich or self promoting. I am in Christian ministry! That is my primary agenda. The state of the family in the world is not good. Pornography, alcoholism, social ills, good ol boy politics, crime and social injustice is at an all time high!The state is letting criminals out of prison to prey on innocent people again. We need to do something! I am no super hero and the one thing I can do as a citizen is live my faith and vote. The election for TCSO is just one area of doing ones civic duty. As far as this one area ... a vote, my vote? I want it to count this time around and count for an ethical, good for everyone involved agenda. That is why I feel so strongly about this too and if you were in my shoes as a regular voter citizen (not protecting your job agenda) you would think differently too. God Bless you and your family Jeff and may God help us all in these terrible times! Thanks!
Ground war

Visalia, CA

#17 Oct 15, 2009
Jeff P wrote:
BIM,
A degree, in and of itself, doesn't demonstrate any true level of competence as a leader. You are obviously campaigning for Zap. What's your agenda? Ever work for TCSO under Zap? If you did, you might feel differently.
Sounds like Jeff has a good ol boy job at TCSO and doesnt want the apple cart to be turned over! TCSO is a joke! Most of the other cops in other agencies think the TCSO deputies are all bums. Most of the chp guys laugh at the TCSO deputies. Why? They're fat, lazy,good ol boys! I agree with BIM lets get some new ideas and new people on the job!
A visalia voter

Visalia, CA

#18 Oct 17, 2009
Drumbeat wrote:
"Did Zapalac and Swaim have a 'bone to pick' with Chipchase? Absolutely. Between Chipchase, former Lieutenant Alfred Silva and former Chief of Police Jesse Garcia's historical tendency to tamper with evidence, which got both of them fired, Zapalac inherited an agency that was literally on the verge of being disbanded by the State Attorney General. Were you a party to the grand jury inquiry regarding WPD? I believe that Zapalac took the appropriate action as department head, however unpopular that might have been."

A Visalia voter writes:
The fact remains that John Zapalac took over the Woodlake Police dept and actually has turned it into a respectable law enforcement agency in a very short time!!! If the county elects the old tired good old boy again the whole TCSO should be disbanded and started over! The old sheriff is sick and shouldn't even be allowed to run for public office. The county needs Zapalac to fix the county!
drums are beating

Visalia, CA

#19 Oct 22, 2009
Jeff P wrote:
BIM,
A degree, in and of itself, doesn't demonstrate any true level of competence as a leader. You are obviously campaigning for Zap. What's your agenda? Ever work for TCSO under Zap? If you did, you might feel differently.
Jeff you might want to look for a new job? You are obviously a current tcso employee. The voters are about to retire the good old boy system here in Tulare County! We are tired of the ages old crap!
6100-RCS

Fresno, CA

#20 Nov 9, 2009
A Visalia voter writes:
"The fact remains that John Zapalac took over the Woodlake Police dept and actually has turned it into a respectable law enforcement agency in a very short time!!!"
By refusing to cooperate with the DA's investigation?
Drums are Beating & Bimusanic:
WHO do you think created most of the "good old boy" system at TCSO? Zappy has been there far longer than Ol' Billy.
It is obvious, after reading your posts, you have never worked within TCSO.

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