Dyer Calls for Police Audit after Ireland Death

January 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he wanted answers after the beating death of 10 year old Seth Ireland 2 weeks ago. He asked for an internal audit of his department's policy on dealing with child abuse and how his officers handled the 12 calls they received to Seth's home between May and December of 2008.He believes officers followed guidelines and made the best decisions they could with the information they had. However, he has made some changes. Dyer said, "We don't want to have any policy that is so restrictive or minimizes us from being able to provide the maximum protection for children."

Last week officers started a 2-hour advanced officer training session on writing reports about possible child abuse and how and when to contact CPS. Dyer says he's even called for a meeting with Fresno County school administrators, hospital officials, emergency medical services, and the Sheriff's Department. He said he wants to "Bring all of us into a series of meetings and what we do individually, how we interact collectively, and are there ways we can enhance what we're doing today for the purpose of protecting children."

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims released a statement Wednesday about how her department handled the case, specifically, the day Seth's mom Rena Ireland and her boyfriend, Lebaron Vaughn, tried to abandon Seth and his half brother at the county jail December 26th. Mims said, quote "The deputy checked the welfare of the children and found no signs of abuse or neglect. The deputy also spoke with Child Protective Services during his investigation and was advised there was an open file regarding Ireland, Vaughn and the 2 children. Based on the limited information at the time, the deputy made the decision to allow Ireland to take the children home, documented the entire incident, and forwarded the information to CPS."

Action News talked to Seth's father, Joe Hudson today. He said the system failed his son and in hopes of preventing the same thing from happening to another child he's hired attorney Warren Paboojian. Paboojian said he plans to file a lawsuit against CPS on Hudson's behalf within the next several weeks. He said, "I don't think there's any doubt that the system failed Seth and his brother. I'm not sure what it takes to get somebody out of a house and if Seth Ireland wasn't the prime candidate of being removed from that house I don't know who is." We contacted CPS for reaction to the pending lawsuit. Director Cathi Huerta says she respects the judicial process and that her office will continue to be open with information and records they are permitted to share.

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