Phoenix, AZ—Usually when police fail to respond to radio or MDT transmissions it’s usually the failure of equipment that’s responsible. Officers are trained to check their radios if there are prolonged periods of silence perhaps due to a dead battery.
The South Mountain precinct is usually a busy assignment for any cop. There are trailer parks, loads of very modest homes and often they include various farm animals and chickens. There is the South area of the state capital campus that’s patrolled by the Capital Police Department. At night this area is desolate and void of all but a few homeless types that can be found sleeping there.
The Capitol police have their own radio frequencies and generally are not alerted about nearby matters handled by Phoenix police.
Sergeant Sean Drenth of the South Mountain Precinct was missing and incommunicado. Fellow officers along with the helicopter unit began a search just after 10 PM last night.
An hour later a Capitol police civilian security aid found an apparent abandoned Phoenix police car in an alley near 17th Avenue and Jefferson near that sits between the headquarters for the Department of Corrections and the Motor Vehicle Division. It’s an area with a lot of empty parking lots. Near the vehicle, was the body of sergeant Drenth who suffered apparent gunshot wounds.
Somehow I doubt that the capital police even knew that Drenth was missing. That discovery may well just have been a coincidence.
The officer’s secondary weapon kept in an ankle holster was missing but later found nearby.
This story is strange in that it would be unusual for an officer to not inform the dispatcher if he was making contact with a citizen or down on a traffic stop.
In that area, at that time of night it would not be unusual for an officer to step out for a nature call. Perhaps he encountered something during that period.
More than likely I have to believe that there was something else going on. Perhaps he was visiting with someone for a pre-arranged meet. This does not fit the usual scenario of a random street stop that went wrong. I’d be looking for evidence in the officer’s personal cell-phone records including text messages.
I know that this will be an intensive investigation and somehow I feel it will be solved.
Sergeant Drenth is survived by a wife if 13 years.