Police delay release of information causing concern in Walsenburg

WALSENBURG, Colo. — The manhunt for 33-year-old Michael Jackson has some in Walsenburg questioning police methods.

Walsenburg police said they got a call Monday around 3 p.m. of a domestic violence situation involving a gun at the Dakota Camp Grounds. When police got there, Jackson fled from Walsenburg into Custer county, which brought Custer and Huerfano County Sherriff’s into the search.

It took law enforcement nearly five hours to release information to the public about the search for the man they later described as armed and dangerous. Residents did not know that afternoon that Police were looking for anyone.

“Didn’t have a clue,” said Walsenburg resident, Jerry Skrcynear.

“When we get a call to a possible weapon involved we’re cautious, but we want to make sure that’s the case, because sometimes those things can be miss-communicated,” said Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen.

McLallen was asked at what point does it become important to inform the public to the danger.

“Well, it would important immediately, so those types of things aren’t handled by the officer on scene. In that case, I was the officer of duty that afternoon,” McLallen said.

The information wasn’t given immediately to the public.

“I think they should have notified the radio stations and all the TV stations,” Skrcynear said. “We should be the primary things they worry about. We pay their salary.”

“It just concerns me, because there are too many elderly people here who may open that door and it would be sad, very sad,” said Walsenburg native, Angelina Gonzales.

Some questioned if notifying the public would help in solving the case.

“Absolutely. I can’t speak to the dispatches protocol. I can speak to the police department’s protocol and I know that information was relayed through the radio,” McLallen said

That information was only given to one media outlet.

“I know that there was a request for the information to be made public, but I can’t answer as to why it wasn’t,” McLallen said.

McLallen said all of their communication with the press has to be approved by the city administrator.

Jackson, 33, is still on the run as of Wednesday. He’s described as being 6’0”, 260 lbs., with brown hair, hazel eyes and tattoos on his neck and arms.

If you have any information, call the Walsenburg Police Department.

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