Sheriff's Response to Teen's Suicide:
Sheriff Maketa's response to “Cops shouldn't be bullies,” found in The Gazette, Opinion: Letters Section, on Wednesday, March 24, 2009.
It is unfortunate that a local reporter found it more important to meet “a tight deadline” as opposed to report the news in a fair and factual manner. His carelessness has resulted in unwarranted allegations and sensationalism, merely designed to spark controversy. Now it is time for the facts.
First and foremost, the suicide of this young man is a sad tragedy in itself, and my heart goes out to his friends and family members. Unfortunately, the suicide rate in this community is staggering and has dramatically increased this year compared to the same period last year. Suicide is a real problem locally, which has nothing to do with the actions of law enforcement. As in this case, many other factors led to this young man’s decision.
The article by the Gazette reporter focused on only one of the seventeen sentences contained in the suicide letter none of which had anything to do with the deputy’s actions. The fact is the deputy investigating these crimes did not interrogate Aaron. The deputy responded to the residence and upon realizing, a parent was not home, asked Aaron for a phone number for his dad so he could set an appointment to conduct an interview with a parent present. The young man was present when the deputy called the father and he agreed to meet Deputy Kossman the next day. There was no profanity used by Deputy Kossman and very little dialog exchanged. Deputy Kossman departed the residence to retrieve a business card from his vehicle so Aaron could give the card to his father. This interaction took place while Aaron was on the phone with his father.
The two other suspects identified in this investigation are adults and do not require a parent present prior to being interviewed. Furthermore, one of the adult suspects became very verbally indignant during questioning. I have received numerous comments from students and teachers alike stating support for Deputy Kossman and claiming they have never heard him speak in the tone the other two suspects claim. Deputy Kossman would certainly take a polygraph; I doubt the two suspects making this claim are willing to do the same.
Unfortunately, we can now add injustice on top of a true tragedy and it was driven by a reporter’s carelessness.
Sheriff Terry Maketa
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