YCSO’s Wilmot accepts responsibility for crime alert delay
Story by Felicia Martinez, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
YUMA – KSWT News 13 took a copy of the Yuma Sun's editorial page to newly elected Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot. He tells Reporter Felicia Martinez he agrees and accepts full criticism.
Wednesday, Sheriff Wilmot says he is making changes to better inform the public in situations like an attempted child abduction when timing is most critical. He says "I fully accept responsibility for that." Sheriff Wilmot says he's read the Yuma editorial criticizing his department for waiting nearly 24 hours to inform the media to in turn inform the public about a man who tried to snatch a 6-year-old girl from the arms of her 17-year old sister on Monday late afternoon. KSWT News 13 learned about it late Tuesday morning.
He says "You can't time everything and unfortunately this situation did occur. We're very fortunate the little girl was not kidnapped in this case and it's something we definitely are going to improve on." In taking accountability, Wednesday Sheriff Wilmot says he is implementing a training program to streamline the communication process between his department and the media. He says, "Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of having a full time public information officer so we have to utilize our available resources."
When asked what the sheriff's office is going to do to make sure something like this doesn't happen again, Sheriff Wilmot replied "First thing we did is put out the current press release format that we gave to all supervisors especially after I read the article Tuesday evening on the Yuma Daily Sun's website. So, that they can put out at least the generic information that they had."
Sheriff Wilmot says, "My ultimate goal is to make sure if we ever have something like this happen again that we get out the very basic information as soon as possible and then follow up later with any further developments in that case."
As for an update on the investigation, Wednesday Yuma Sheriff's tell News 13 the child predator is still on the loose. Deputies say the man has a distinct feature of a tattoo-possibly a bird or a bat on his left arm just above or below the elbow on the inside of his forearm. He's a white man with blue eyes and blonde hair. He's between 5' 10" to 6'" and weighs between 175 and 200 pounds, and in his 20's or 30's. At this time, deputies tell us they have no leads. If you have any information - you are asked to call 78-crime.
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