Police Officers Under Equipped?

by Jacqueline Sit
NewsWest 9

"Enough is enough, I mean if it's just the window, fine," Ralph Hernandez, store owner of Comanche Shell in Ft. Stockton, said.

Burglars hit Ralph Hernandez's business for the first time in 18 years.

"I found that my window was smashed in with an old tire," Hernandez said.

But his broken window isn't his main concern, it was the officers who came to the crime scene.

"The officers when the came, the first question was what's your date of birth, I said alright if that will help solve the crime, I'll give you date of birth, I wasn't trying to be ugly or anything," Hernandez said.

Then Hernandez says he let the officers handle it so they can dust for fingerprints, but that didn't happen.

"He said well we can't really do that, I said what do you mean you can't do that, he said well the investigators are out of town, and we don't have any equipment," Hernandez said.

Hernandez says he was surprised to hear that's not the only equipment they didn't have.

"So I started taking pictures with my own camera my personal camera, and the officer turned around, and tells me can I borrow your camera.  I said I just ran out of film, but he said well I don't have a camera with me," Hernandez said.

Hernandez says he approached the Mayor Ruben Falcon with his concerns and the Mayor tells NewsWest Nine the city council budgets for tools to collect evidence, but it's up to the police chief to administer it.

"Can we feel secure? Can we feel safe? There are some widows, some old ladies who voice their concern and they say they don't really feel safe in their homes," Hernandez said.

All Hernandez wants is answers before it happens to someone else.

"To me, the crime wave is escalating, and it's getting worse, and you don't think it's going to happen in your town, but nobody is exempt from trouble or from bad," Hernandez said.

I spoke with Ft. Stockton Police Chief Juan Castro, and he declined an on camera interview, but he did say he has reviewed the police report, and says his officers did their job by following protocol.