Fullerton chief apologizes for raid on wrong home

LOU PONSI (THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER) | October 5, 2011

FULLERTON – Acting Police Chief Kevin Hamilton publicly apologized Tuesday night for four narcotics detectives mistakenly entering the wrong house while searching for a suspect.

Hamilton, a captain filling in for the chief, who is on medical leave, also outlined during the City Council meeting several policy changes resulting from the incident.

On Oct. 20, 2010, detectives entered the home of Chuck and Robyn Nordell, in the 200 block of Ventura Place. The suspect who police were looking for was actually in the house next door.

The Nordells, along with their 23-year old daughter and 26-year old son, were home at about 5:30 p.m. when Robyn Nordell spotted a man walking by her window and another standing at the back door.

“I’m thinking, ‘Oh, God, don’t let this be a home invasion,’ ” Nordell, a teacher at Anaheim Magnolia Christian School, said during the council meeting.

She doesn’t recall if there was a knock at the door but does remember detectives in her kitchen with weapons drawn and shouting: “Police! Keep your hands where we can see them!”

The detectives quickly realized they were in the wrong house and apologized, Hamilton said.

Detectives learned that the man they were looking for lived in the house next door, where they made the arrest.

“This is a very rare circumstance,” the acting chief said of the mistake. “I’m here to apologize to the Nordell family for the Police Department.”

The department is investigating the incident and the acting chief promised to provide the Nordells with the investigation’s results.

Nordell, who had considered filing a formal complaint and a lawsuit against the department, said she only wants changes to be made so such mistakes don’t happen again. She was disappointed that it took some prodding to get the department to make changes.

She also requested a meeting with Chief Michael Sellers – now on medical leave – who never responded, she said.

“I was kind of traumatized knowing that (the detectives) hadn’t reported it right away,” Nordell said.
Read more at: http://www.ocregister.com/news/police-320498-detectives-nordell.html
Photo credit: LOU PONSI/THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Posted by on Oct 5 2011. Filed under Policing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Fullerton chief apologizes for raid on wrong home”

  1. Karla Ramirez

    It’s convenient the chief is on “medical leave” when it comes time to make the apology.
    Kudos to the Captain for being decent enough to say what should have been said long before now.
    My question:
    WHY did it take nearly a YEAR for resolution of this distasteful event?

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