By Edwin Folven, 5/26/2011
The City of Los Angeles has created an itemization of city resources expended during the search of a fictitious suspect during the incident involving Los Angeles School Police Officer Jeffrey Stenroos, and has presented it to the District Attorney’s Office to recoup the expended funds.
The incident occurred on Jan. 19 in the San Fernando Valley. Stenroos, who has since been fired from the school district police force and is facing several felony charges, allegedly fabricated a story about being shot in the chest by an unknown gunman outside El Camino Real High School, which set in motion a series of events that cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff deployment and other resources.
The reported shooting prompted officials to seal off a large part of the West San Fernando Valley and place approximately 9,000 students on lockdown for hours. Hundreds of officers swarmed the area looking for the gunman, blocking people from entering or exiting a seven-square-mile area. At the peak of the search, nine schools in the area were on lockdown. Hundreds of officers from the LAPD, school police, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, ATF, and the California Highway Patrol responded to the situation. On Jan. 27, LAPD investigators reported that the shooting incident was a hoax, and Stenroos was placed under arrest and charged with making a false police report.
According to the LAPD, the total expended on the effort was $361,289. Approximately 200 officers responded to the incident, as well as Los Angeles Fire Department personnel officials from the city’s Department of Transportation.
“In my entire 43-year career in law enforcement, I have never witnessed such a reckless stunt and I am appalled by the actions of this uniformed officer,” said City Councilman Dennis P. Zine 3rd District, a former LAPD sergeant who represents the area where the incident occurred. “He not only wasted precious city resources and inconvenienced tens of thousands of people, but he also abused the public’s trust and shamed the professional standards upheld by law enforcement agencies. To fabricate this event is unconscionable and I am working to make sure the city is paid its due restitution.”