It’s the last thing any small town wants: Marcelo Marquez, accused of killing two cops, runs and hides in an Auburn home.
It’s a crucial moment for cops and the public to communicate with each other through what’s called a computer assisted dispatch system.
“We do have issues, just like any other computer system. There’s good times and bad times, and sometimes the bad times happen at the most inopportune times,” Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn said.
Auburn has been working to upgrade emergency communications for four years now, according to Chief Ruffcorn, but the most recent deal fell through, so emergency calls with information from the public that day, people scared or with tips, might not have gotten through to officers on the street.
Marquez is accused of using a handgun to fire the fatal shot that killed Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver, but he is accused of using an AR-15 rifle to shot and kill Sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis.
That rifle is the same weapon many police officers carry in the field too.
But at Auburn PD that day, as reports were coming in that Marquez had one, those rifles were locked-up.
“Because this event was so large, with people responding to it so quickly, when people were responding to the scene, they didn’t have access to that AR. But it’s not that they were being deployed without AR. They had to go to the command post to be checked in and then be deployed. And so we have since rectified that issue,” Ruffcorn said.
Ruffcorn says a new key system will give all trained officers access to the department’s rifles, while keeping track of which officer has which weapon.
“No back up, inferior patrol units, inferior equipment, no access to proper police enforcement equipment, no access to safety weapons, outdated vests, outdated communication. And so again you’re back to ‘What does society really need?’ And society does need law enforcement and public safety,” said attorney David Mastagni, who represents police officer unions, including officers in Auburn.
Mastagni says you can’t have public safety, without investing money in the men and women who provide it.
“Thank goodness large-scale events like this generally do not happen on a daily basis here in Auburn. And so yes, I do have to maintain the integrity of a budget. I do have limited funds and I do like prioritize how I spend money,” Chief Ruffcorn said.