Search for fugitive ex-cop sets region on edge

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm •  Published: February 10, 2013
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About 65 miles away, the manhunt continued in the San Bernardino mountains near the ski resort town of Big Bear, where authorities found Dorner's burned out pickup truck Thursday. Police have since said they discovered weapons and camping gear inside the vehicle.

The search scaled down as the weekend went on, but a helicopter with heat-seeking technology scanned the area as two-dozen officers went back to some of the 600 cabins they earlier visited door to door.

With little apparent evidence pointing to Dorner's whereabouts, worrisome questions emerged: How long could the intense search be sustained? And, if Dorner continues to evade capture, how do authorities protect dozens of former police colleagues whom he has publicly targeted?

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department has deployed 50 protection details to guard officers and their families who are deemed targets in Dorner's manifesto.

"It can't be one guy with a gun in a living room," Smith said, suggesting that more officers would be necessary to keep families safe.

The department, however, is looking for alternatives if the search for Dorner stretches on, whether it's reducing the numbers of officers or something else, he said.

There were no plans to reduce protections until Dorner was in custody, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez.

As long as Dorner's whereabouts are unknown, the police department must provide protection to those named in his rant, said Chuck Drago, a Florida-based police consultant.

"We realize it costs money and it gets expensive, but this is as clear of a threat as you can get," he said. "We know that if he's able to get to these targets then he's probably able to hurt them. The money is always an issue but not when it's somebody's life at stake."

If the search drags on, the LAPD will likely find safe houses for the targeted individuals, much as they would for witness protection participants, instead of posting officers outside their homes, Drago said.

LAPD has remained on either a modified or full tactical alert since the ordeal began, responding only to priority calls and not to those for lesser issues such as public intoxication or business disputes.

Authorities Sunday morning had six cars protecting Capt. Phil Tingirides, who chaired a disciplinary panel that stripped Dorner of his badge. Black and white police cruisers were posted on each end of his street and four more were parked outside his home. At least a half-dozen officers were visibly standing guard.

Meanwhile Palacio, who has to navigate the heavy police presence to get to and from his home, said his family is trying to keep routines normal.

"Life goes on," he said, "and we're doing our thing."

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Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed.

Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LATams.


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