Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bad Sheriff

And no, this isn't about David Clarke, although it could be since he is going to cost taxpayers with his continued violations of contracts and the ensuing lawsuits that are occurring.

Instead it is about Price County Sheriff Wallace Krenzkie. The scenario was that an elderly woman with dementia got lost. They knew she was alive because they could her her yelling:

Jeff Peterson, a neighbor of the Briens’, first heard a woman was missing on his police scanner.

"The first thing that popped into my head was, 'George's wife', he says. Just minutes later, Jeff says he heard a woman in the woods screaming for help. "I could hear ‘help me’ coming from this direction. I went in the house right away and I called the Sheriff's Department and told them, ‘I can hear the lady screaming, she's straight south from my house.’"

Peterson says the next two hours were agonizing. He and his wife stood outside, listening to the woman's cries for help, with a deputy who encouraged them to stay put. "I was ready to go and they told me I couldn’t go in the woods, that I had to stay home."

According to department records, 4 deputies searched the area, on and off, for the next few hours. Shortly before 11pm, one of them also reported hearing a woman's cries. An ambulance was dispatched to the area, but still, Deanne wasn't found.

Instead of forming a search party, Krenzkie was either lazy and/or incompetent:

Records show help from outside agencies was never requested. In fact, offers from at least two outside agencies, the Iron County Sheriff's Department and Park Falls Fire Department, were turned down by Sheriff Krenzke.

But outside assistance was never requested that night, and Sheriff Krenzke called off the search at 3 in the morning. The woman's cries for help had silenced just hours earlier - before 11pm.

Sheriff Krenzke confirms no more than 6 deputies were responding at any one time. He says he had his reasons for not calling in - or accepting - extra help with the search. “At that particular time, there were other mitigating circumstances which I prefer not to go into”, he says. “I think you'll find that in the reports of the department, and you, of course can read and release what information you choose to."

The problem with these types of situations is that the Sheriff is like a big fish in a little pond, and it is hard to get any type of action on bad elected officials. At least not until the next election.


  1. Is Shepherd Express' Jerk of the Week only for local people? If not, this sheriff needs to be there. Especially when his reason for not calling in other law enforcement to help with the search was that "there's coyotes in the woods". Who was he expecting, Wil E. Coyote?

  2. The Sheriff said when asked why he didn't have more people go into the woods to search for Mrs. Brien that at the time there were "mitigating circumstances". Those words were bad enough to read but watching the video and hearing those words come out of the Sheriff mouth was unbelievable. Who in the hell does he think he's fooling? Does he really think his attempt to cover his ass by claiming "mitigating circumstances" is going to work? This is one of those times a person in his position should say...I made a horrible mistake, and had a complete lapse in judgement which resulted in a woman's death, and I am sorry, AND I will resign immediately.

  3. I believe the mitigating circumstances he was referring to is that he (the sheriff) did not think that demented, old people were worth the effort.