Sheriff’s Office Captures Pedro Hernandez; Wanted by the FBI

Hernandez, Pedro

Yuma County Jail Booking Photo; Pedro Hernandez

On Wednesday, December 3rd a Yuma County Sheriff’s Deputy was investigating a report of some loose horses near County Road B and County Road 47.  While attempting to locate the rightful owners of the horses, the Deputy arrived at a residence in the area only to find out that a vehicle on scene was associated with a man named Jose Santana, who had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear on a traffic citation.

The Deputy contacted a man on scene who initially provided a different name, but after conducting further investigation, confirmed him as being the man wanted in the warrant.  This confirmation was in large part due to a United States permanent resident card provided by Mr. Santana, and later determined to be a forgery.  Mr. Santana was arrested and booked into the Yuma County Jail for his outstanding warrant.

After being fingerprinted at the jail, it was discovered that Jose Santana was actually an alias identity and the man was confirmed to be Pedro Hernandez, a man who has been wanted by the FBI out of Los Angeles, California since late last year for distribution of meth, heroin and cocaine and dealing in firearms.

Mr. Hernandez is currently being held without bail at the Yuma County Jail for both of his outstanding warrants as well as new charges of Attempting to Influence a Public Servant, Identity Theft, Forgery, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Criminal Impersonation and Criminal Possession of a Financial Device.

Sheriff Day said, “Yuma County Sheriff’s Deputies are encouraged to look deeper into routine calls for service.  The Deputy on this call did exactly that in this case, and rather than just finding the owner of the loose horses, a series of illegal activity committed by this individual was uncovered and an FBI fugitive was apprehended.  I am proud that my Deputies continue to present themselves as great examples to law enforcement officers in our area, and in this case demonstrated what a little extra effort can result in.”


Sheriff Responds to Ferguson, MO

I’ve often been asked, not just as the Sheriff of Yuma County, but in general, as a law enforcement officer what I think about the tragedy and aftermath that has happened in Ferguson, Missouri.

For the purposes of this response, we’re going to gloss over the reality that because of the poor decisions of a young man, a law enforcement officer was put in a position to make a split second decision, and the result was a tragic loss of life.  Subsequently, many people were manipulated by the intentional agitation of their already thin emotional thresholds.

There are a number of things that come to mind from the many different angles of this incident, but there is one rather glaring reality that stands out above the lessons we all can learn.  One cannot see television coverage of this tragic event without hearing some group of protesters/rioters/instigators chanting the phrase initially reported by a now fugitive “witness,” “Hands up.  Don’t shoot.”  This simple and interestingly catchy phrase is one of the few things about this mess that causes my blood pressure to rise ever so slightly.  There are many frustrating and disappointing facts about the incident and more noticeable, some of the responses that are quite bothersome, but they are pretty easy to have anticipated and not produce much of an emotional response from my desk and perspective, but if Michael Brown had actually put his “hands up,” as is being robotically chanted around the country, and took a defensive stance, he would be in jail or out on bond right now, rather than dead, and no one would be talking about this.

Since the public revelation of all the physical evidence and witness statements that indicate he in fact did not put his “hands up,” and rather charged the uniformed law enforcement officer, and any “witness” statements that say otherwise have been either changed or exposed as false, there are some lessons that both the general citizenry can learn, as well as the law enforcement community.

Lessons for citizens (regardless of their genetic melanin concentration):

  1. Don’t rob a business and assault the business staff in the process.
  2. Don’t attack a uniformed law enforcement officer in his marked patrol car and attempt to take said officer’s weapon.
  3. Don’t attempt to flee from the scene of the assault when an officer is ordering you to stop.
  4. Don’t charge the officer you have just assaulted and attempted to disarm when he has you at gunpoint.
  5. *Appreciate the value of parents modeling and requiring through consistent discipline, respect for the law, other people, and other’s property.*

Lessons for law enforcement officers:

  1. Avoid making contacts from inside your patrol car.
  2. Always consider less lethal options, if and when time allows.
  3. Take responsibility for your own marksmanship skill. In a lethal force situation, the fewer rounds fired, the less chance of rounds ending up beyond your threat.
  4. Appreciate the value in extra effort to build positive community relations before you need them.
  5. Understand that you’ve accepted a career on purpose, in which you will be placed in situations where there is no good answer, and you can be certain you will face scrutiny for the decisions you make. Many times that scrutiny will be uninformed and unfair.

Certainly there is more to say about citizens and the law enforcement response to rioting and protesting, media coverage, race relations, etc., but there is no way around the reality that if “hands up” would have actually happened, the country would be talking about something else, like……..