Oops: Fullerton Police Apologize for Raiding the Wrong Home

Fullerton police implement a new directive for reporting incidents of mistaken entry after four officers entered the wrong home in a drug bust last year.

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    Captain Kevin Hamilton, Fullerton's acting police chief, makes good on a promise to Fullerton residents, Chuck and Robyn Nordell. Hamilton apologized to the Nordells after four narcotics detectives mistakenly entered their home in a drug bust last October.

    Fullerton’s acting chief of police made a public apology to a family, after four narcotics detectives mistakenly entered their home searching for a suspect last year.

    Captain Kevin Hamilton issued an apology to Chuck and Robyn Nordell during a Fullerton city council meeting Tuesday night.

    “He apologized for what happened. He told the council that there was no excuse, and that the Nordells had no responsibility in this incident,” according to Sgt. Andrew Goodrich, a spokesman for the Fullerton police department.

    “Our goal is to have this never happen again,” said Goodrich.

    That was Robyn Nordell’s goal too, which is why she said she was persistent in getting police to change their reporting procedures.

    “After 24 hours we still had no idea who these guys were. They could’ve been anyone,” Nordell said.

    Nordell was on her computer at about 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2010 when she said four undercover officers entered her home through a back door, according to Nordell.

    The undercover officers apologized after they realized they were in the wrong home, but according to Nordell, she never heard again from anyone at the police department.

    After making a formal apology Tuesday, Captain Hamilton gave the department an immediate directive, which is designed to prevent mistaken entries from happening in the future.

    If an incident of mistaken entry does happen, the directive says involved officers must report the matter immediately to an on-duty watch commander and the chief of police. The directive also requires a command staff officer to contact the people involved at the location where the entry took place.

    “If police were to raid the wrong house, ours was the wrong house to raid,” Nordell said.

    Nordell, who teaches American government at Anaheim Magnolia Christian School, said she used the experience to teach her students about local government.

    “It was definitely a teachable moment,” Nordell said.
     

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