This week, the Mirror received photos that were taken by15-year-old Patrick Gordon Oliver of Eastville showing an Eastville Police officer placing signs in front of the registrar’s office. The officer was unaware he was being surveilled when the photos were taken.
Citizen Stuart Oliver, who sent the photos, told the Mirror via email, “He (Patrick Oliver) was concealed in the bushes with a telephoto lens on a Nikon camera….the officer was unaware he was being surveilled. I am a staunch Republican and am disgusted that these activities have occurred…Furthermore, the department was aware that they were under intensive scrutiny, yet were stupid enough, or arrogant enough to pull this stunt. I will be aggressively addressing the Eastville Town Council on Monday. Did Stubbs and/or Eder specifically state that Christain was OFF duty when the signs went up?”
Oliver also sent over a response he received from Sherrif Dave Doughty’s office for electronic tracking information that monitors the Town of Eastville’s Police Department, “Regarding your October 29, 2021 FOIA Request. According to our records on October 25, 2021 Chief David Eder and Officer Len Christian were on duty for the Eastville Police Department. Officer Christian marked on duty at 05:51am and Chief Eder at 09:33am. Officer Christian logged off duty at 14:57pm and Chief Eder at 00:09am. Please note that the on and off times are recorded in our RMS (Records Management System) from the officers MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) which is in their patrol vehicle. During the period that you requested (7am-9am) there were no calls for service”.
Opinions vary on the subject, however, the Mirror could not locate anything in the state code that would actively prohibit this action.
The Mirror contacted the Eastville chain of command to get their opinion. Police Chief David Eder told the Mirror, “The Town of Eastville encourages employees to volunteer for entities that better our communities, i.e. volunteer fire companies and other positive entities. The Town of Eastville will not try to dictate thoughts or causes to our employees. The Town of Eastville does not discourage volunteering when employees are not performing primary duties. Independent thoughts are not a prohibited act they are encouraged. Thank you for requesting a response.”
“Yes thank you for letting me know about the information. The Town of Eastville has no policy that was violated by the Officer. There is no illegal activity and the Officer was acting under his own free will and not in his official capacity. Law Enforcement is a very unique profession that doesn’t allow for Officers to live a normal life. The Officers are required to drive their Patrol Units to work each day, which doesn’t allow the Officer to use his own personal vehicle prior to the time to start his shift. The Officer very well may be in his Town Police Vehicle yet not on duty at many times. The Officers are allowed to make stops to and from work using the Patrol vehicle as they must use that to travel from work and back to their home base. The Officers also may be seen living their private lives during the day or night as federal regulations mandate lunch periods and break periods. The Law Enforcement profession does not allow an Officer to schedule these break times on a daily basis and they must be ever-changing and evolving. The Officers are on Duty during certain days that must move their break times to adjust to the demands of that shift. An example of that would be an Officer trying to eat lunch who gets a call for service and the Officer must immediately stop that lunch as work. I am just giving an example as to the difference between Law Enforcement Officers and more traditional jobs that can have set lunch/dinner times periods and mandated breaks. This is an example of an Officer carrying out a volunteer act, not in the performance of his duties. Mr. Oliver is grasping at straws as he can not substantiate any wrongdoing or illegal acts as he continues to write and talk about. His attempts to bring negative feelings and thoughts to the Citizens of the Eastern Shore of the Town of Eastville and the Eastville Police Department have not had his desired effect. It is particularly disgusting that while I was in Florida with my dying Mother as she passed Mr. Oliver takes this opportuning to attack me. He sent the email to the Board of Elections and media sources with the pictures. I usually put the signs out myself but was unable to this last week as my Mother was passing in Florida and I was there. This Officer offered to put the signs out for those candidates as he supports and actively takes action to try to ensure their election on November 2nd. The Officer was not ordered to put them out he was not doing so in his official capacity.” — Officer Rob Stubbs