Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said a recent incident in which deputies went to the wrong house on a burglary call was an honest mistake and there will be no disciplinary action.
He acknowledged that the Feb. 5 incident could have been tragic, as the deputies ended up in an armed standoff with the homeowners inside the home.
“Everybody figured out who each other was and disaster was averted,” Davis said. “Both the deputies and the homeowners showed some great judgement. It could have been catastrophic either way.”
It began with a call that a burglar alarm was going off at a residence on Wesleyan Woods Drive. The deputies were responding to multiple calls, he said, and when the alarm call was dispatched the two middle numbers in the 4-digit address were transposed when the deputy wrote it down. That led to the deputies mistakenly approaching a house three doors down.
As the deputies were checking the entrances, Davis said, a side door was found to be closed but unlocked. The deputies thought that might have been how an intruder entered and went inside the house. The burglar alarm was not going off when they arrived, he said, but it did go off as they entered. Davis said that’s not unexpected on an alarm call because alarms can go off and reset.
As they entered, the deputies were constantly calling out that they were from the sheriff’s department. But the couple inside feared they were criminals claiming to be law enforcement. When the deputies and homeowners encountered each other, each with guns drawn, the deputies’ flash lights prevented the homeowners from the seeing them.
Davis said that’s when one of the deputies had the idea of pointing his flashlight at himself so that the homeowners could see they were law enforcement, and that simple move might have saved the day.
He has since emphasized to all deputies the importance of making sure they have the correct information before entering a home.
Davis added that the deputies did check the house that were actually supposed to go to, and everything was fine.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.