It's Your Money: How much taxpayer money was spent on the standoff in Victor?

Posted at: 03/12/2013 5:48 PM
Updated at: 03/13/2013 8:37 AM
By: Brett Davidsen

Investigators say a standoff in Victor Monday night is costing you, the tax payer, thousands of dollars.

Ryan Whidden, 31, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and his bail is now $250,000. Whidden is accused of shooting at parked cars outside his home on Ketchum Street in Victor Monday night. It caused a 12-hour standoff and police say he eventually came out the home with his wife after they fired tear gas inside.

So how much did that incident cost?

There were more than 60 officers from many different agencies, using everything at their means to bring this to a safe resolution. It worked, no one was injured but it was a costly operation. News10NBC asked the sheriff who should pay for all that manpower.

Investigators were back at the home of Monday's standoff in the quiet Victor neighborhood, sifting through belongings and looking for clues. For 12 hours, the Ontario County Sheriff's Department says it worked to get an armed Ryan Whidden to give himself up and employed the help of dozens of law enforcement officers.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said, "Officers from Ontario County Sheriff's Office, Monroe County, Rochester Police Department, New York State Police, FBI, ATF. Everybody came together. Everybody that was there had a role and they played it out."

At around 9 p.m., investigators say Whidden surrendered. But the all-day efforts that included armored vehicles and information-gathering robots did not come cheap.

Povero said, “Law enforcement didn't initiate the problem that resulted in these costs. It was the actions of an individual firing a handgun in and around his residence and subsequently acts of violence that caused the expenses in this case."

The sheriff has not yet put a dollar figure on what it cost to respond to this incident. It's still very much an active investigation but he estimates it's easily into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Povero said, “That's expensive. We're certainly looking at something where there was a lot of manpower expended."

So who should pay for all that manpower?

“Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy is all I can say. I've never seen anything like it." Cindi Buckley is a taxpayer in Victor. She also lives directly across the street from where Monday's stand-off occurred. "Our money does, as taxpayers, pay for this, but not for 12 hours. This is just insane. I think it's something that he should have to pay for. It took away from other people needing services."   

I-Team 10's Brett Davidsen asked Sheriff Povero: “Do you think he should have to bear the costs?”

Povero answered, "Do I personally, I think he does. I think he should."

It's not unprecedented to have suspects convicted of crimes pay restitution. Sheriff Povero says in Whidden's case, if he's convicted, it'll be up to a judge to decide if he should have to reimburse law enforcement and taxpayers for Monday's operation. But the sheriff says regardless of the cost, it was a success in knowing that no one was injured or worse.

Povero said, "Clearly, we need to justify to the people that pay the bills what we're doing. Clearly that occasionally comes up. But again, first and foremost, it's how do we save lives, how do we keep people safe?"

On top of the cost, News10NBC has also been trying to get answers about the gun that police say Whidden had at the scene. The sheriff says it was a 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun that came from out of state and is not registered in New York. They are now turning to ATF for assistance in trying to trace its origin.