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'Men and Women of Honor'



Thanks for your deep dive into professional accountability within the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) and the office of the district attorney. Admittedly, I am one of those who feel that the system encourages collaboration between law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts, which can be a dangerous thing for the common person. However in the last six years or so I have gotten to know many of the HCSO deputies and will state without reservation that they are men and women of honor, who truly care about the citizens they serve. 

As I work directly next to the HCSO Trinity office in Willow Creek, I was especially interested in the story about the shooting on the Martin's Ferry Bridge. I can say with certainty that the event sent shockwaves throughout the Klamath/Trinity area, both on and off the Yurok and Hoopa reservations. It was generally felt that Soeth's behavior had been out of line and that he had endangered local relations by almost killing a Native man who was simply doing his own job as a night watchman. His actions felt more like those of an occupation troop and less like those of a member of the sheriff's office. DA Fleming's whitewashing of the affair did little to reduce the tension. 

Personally my interactions with deputy Soeth were always positive but were limited to casual greetings. I am more acquainted with deputies Matilton and Cumbow and believe them both to be excellent officers who are a real benefit to our community. Mr. Robbins and I have met only a few times but I found him to be open, of few words, and with little patience for bullshit. He has a large and extended family that came very close to losing him in a most tragic fashion. 

Happily the situation was resolved without anyone dying, and has led to increased training and encouraged better interaction between the HCSO and local tribal police departments. Thanks again for a great article.

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