The Richardville Co-Op, and organic grocery store, has filed a complaint against the Richardville police for a lack of response to a shoplifting call. Ironically this Co-Op has banned all police from entering their store.“My officer was in a real catch-22 situation. They posted a sign saying no police allowed in the store. Yet they also called and asked for an officer to respond. We sent an officer, but the store manager made some unrealistic demands of the officer, so he left. As chief I support what my officer did. He gave the manager multiple options as to how the situation could be resolved, the manager was unwilling to consider the options, so the officer ended the contact.”
The chief explained how about four years ago right after the grand opening of the Co-Op an officer was confronted about having a gun in the store when he stopped to buy a bottle of water. The officer pointed out he was an on-duty uniformed policemen so their “no weapons” policy sign did not apply to him. The next day a new sign was posted. It stated no Police with out a warrant allowed in the store. The sign detailed how any entry by a police officer would be a violation of the 4th amendment. The chief advised his officers to abide by the sign.
Fast-forward to today. The store calls for an officer when they catch a shoplifter. The manager meets the responding officer at the main entrance. The manager tells the officer he can only enter the store if he disarms himself, all weapons. The manager tells the officer he will need to leave his full duty belt in the squad car, no nightstick, no pepper spray, no TASER, no weapons period.
The officer explained that was a major officer safety issue and also a violation of policy. The officer offered to put on his raincoat to cover the weapons so people in the store would not see them. He also offered to have the manager walk the shoplifter out side and he would take custody of the shoplifter in the parking lot. None of these options were acceptable to the manager so the officer left.
The Co-Op has filed a complaint with the city Police and Fire Commission, a civilian review board. The complaint states the officer was rude and tired to force his way into the store. In addition the complaint states that the city seems to be under the control of an occupational force and not protected by a peace officers.
This incident was recorded on a body camera the officer had on. We viewed a copy of the video and it supports the officers version of the events.
Representatives from Richardville Co-Op would not return our calls for comment.