To protect and serve

There are a lot of things we can’t count on in life.

One of the things we can count on in Warren County are law enforcement officers that will respond when needed.

Here’s a few of the law enforcement-related stories from 2017:

May 9: FBI finishes search of Chandlers Valley property

The search of a property along Jones Hill Road in Chandlers Valley has been completed.

Agents from the FBI and the Chautauqua County (N.Y.) Forensic Investigative Team executed a sealed federal search warrant on the property, searching on foot and with the assistance of excavating equipment Monday, May 1, through Friday, May 5.

“We searched through late Friday,” Public Affairs Specialist Maureen Dempsey said. “We turned the property back over the owner at the end of the day.”

“We’ve concluded the search in accordance with the sealed warrant,” she said.

Because the warrant is sealed, Dempsey said she was not at liberty to disclose the subject of the warrant, the result of the search, nor why the search ceased.

Most of the vehicles at the scene throughout the week had New York license plates on them. The only marked law enforcement vehicles were out of Chautauqua County.

The warrant was issued by federal district court in western Pennsylvania “because the property is located in Pennsylvania,” she said.

But the case is an ongoing investigation out of New York.

“The investigation is being conducted by the FBI-Buffalo Division and its local and state law enforcement counterparts,” she said.

October 5: DA: August police shooting justified

The officer who shot and killed a Clarendon man in August was not only deemed “justified,” he was commended for saving lives.

The Aug. 4 fatal shooting of Joseph H. Miller, 54, at Dairy Delite in Mead Township, was “no doubt… justified,” Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene said.

“After an extensive investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police and having reviewed all the information provided to me… I have concluded that there is no doubt that Officer Matt Mumford of the City of Warren Police Department was justified when he shot and killed Joseph Henry Miller on Aug. 4, 2017, in Warren County Pennsylvania while in performance of his duties as a law enforcement officer and acted in defense of himself and others,” Greene said.

Greene does not stop at “justified” in the release.

“I further conclude that Officer Matt Mumford was not only justified in his use of deadly force, I feel very strongly that along with saving his own life that day, Officer Mumford possibly saved the lives of countless others,” he said.

According to police, Miller, pulled over for traffic violations, was getting out of his vehicle with a loaded assault rifle when he was shot.

“The guy has an AK-47 with a 30-round clip in and one in the chamber with at least a dozen people around,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Wayne Kline said in August.

Greene said he would not provide further comment at this time and that the matter is “now considered closed by my office.”

November 18: Deppen named chief – ‘One of our own’ to head Warren Police Department beginning Dec. 4

Brandon Deppen has been selected as the next chief of the City of Warren Police Department.

Deppen, approaching his 21st year with the department, will officially take the post on December 4.

He takes the place of Raymond Zydonik, who has been elected as magisterial district judge representing the City of Warren and Sheffield and Cherry Grove townships.

Deppen started with the department as a patrolman in 1997 under then Chief Richard Poorman, serving in that role until 2006 while simultaneously working as field training officer, crash investigator, managing special events and in community service.

He was promoted to sergeant in 2006 where he also managed officers and investigations until 2008 when Zydonik became chief and he was appointed to the role of community service officer where he has served since.

“Sgt. Deppen is, in my opinion, best suited to fill the role being vacated by Chief Zydonik,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said in an email making the announcement to the Times Observer, city council and city staff. “I believe that Chief Zydonik built a professional department and look to the new Chief to continue and expand that condition.”