Gehlert voices concerns of events leading up to officer’s termination

BY Dave Marner, Managing Editor, and Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 10/16/19

Ed Gehlert said he had an issue with a couple of dogs in December 2017 through February 2018, when the animals were suddenly removed.

His neighbor, Brooke Buddemeyer, had dogs that were mean, and …

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Gehlert voices concerns of events leading up to officer’s termination

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Ed Gehlert said he had an issue with a couple of dogs in December 2017 through February 2018, when the animals were suddenly removed.

His neighbor, Brooke Buddemeyer, had dogs that were mean, and were attacking other neighborhood animals, as well as people. He called the police several times, and once submitted a video to Capt. Kim Elrod of one of Buddemeyer’s dogs tearing apart another small animal.

Nothing ever happened, he told his fellow Belle residents Oct. 8 as they voiced concerns about the lack of policing going on in their community.

His comments that evening, which began with him explaining how a neighborhood watch group should function, went on to give a hint of why a police captain may have lost his job earlier in the evening and help explain why their elected city marshal would earn a complaint filed against him by the city’s Board of Aldermen.

“A neighborhood watch is a beautiful thing,” Gehlert began. “Observe and report. If you can, don’t let them see you, don’t follow them, that’s dangerous. You are going to get yourselves hurt, you are going to get your property damaged. If you take a picture of anything, you have to turn it over to them for investigation, and we all know where that is going to go.

“What is bothering me about this entire situation is there is a room full of really good people here. Criminals, they get monitored just like everybody else. Police officers cannot be everywhere at once.”

He noted there were problems if members of a police force were not willing to write tickets, or follow through with investigations.

There are also problems if police are too friendly with those who don’t follow the law.

In the open meeting, where residents spoke for nearly 90 minutes, Gehlert had this assessment after being an observer of police activities in the community.

“If you have someone on your police force that, I don’t know, is going to take a drug addicted person on vacation, hanging out with them a lot. Calling them and warning them after dispatch calls to tell them to put their dogs up. You know, maybe somebody gets murdered six to eight months later. I am talking about Brooke Buddemeyer and I am talking about Elrod. Elrod loves hanging around these people.”

Gehlert went on to say, “Guys, I am so sorry all of this is happening to you. It is horrible and it does hurt, but no matter what these horrible people are doing you to you, it is not going to matter to law enforcement because like with LANEG, you get somebody to talk, roll over on some other druggie…They have been arrested for so much shit and they are still walking around. Why? Cause ‘I can give you this guy, I can give you this guy.’ That problem is not going to be solved until they are dead. You know what, eventually they are going to (tell on) the wrong person and end up dead.”

He noted, “I have the utmost respect for police officers. Jerry (Coborn), I’ve known him for years. I like Joe (Turnbough). Joe is a good human being. Administration wise, I have not seen a lot of great administration.”

Going back to his incident with the vicious dog situation and how it was handled by police, Gehlert noted that Elrod was more concerned about “frigging his little playmate than doing his job.”

He said video showed the animal being ripped apart. Nothing ever got done, Gehlert said, despite being told to by Elrod to send him the video.

Back to the neighborhood watch issue, he cautioned them to be careful.

“All I can say is find people that you trust,” said Gehlert. “Find people you can put your faith in. Don’t put yourself in danger. You are not trained for it. Sometimes you all kill a man and then have second guesses. All of this stuff is going to be beyond what I ever thought would happen.”

Gehlert, who served as a police officer for both the city of Belle and Maries County Sheriff’s Department in 2004-05, said Tuesday afternoon that he did not know at the time he addressed the board and citizens Oct. 8 that Elrod had been terminated.

“I did not know until Debbie (Turnbough) said it,” Gehlert said. “Don’t get me wrong, I was elated to hear it.”

He said the biggest thing for him during the meeting was Turnbough not warning people not to confront criminals.

“People were asking very specific questions about the neighborhood watch and what they could and couldn’t do,” Gehlert said. “A lot of these people could get hurt really bad trying to do the job the police should do, and if they do get info, and get hurt, and the police do nothing, they did it all for nothing because it wouldn’t go anywhere.”

Back to his issue about the dogs years ago, Gehlert said he turned all of his own information in about Elrod and Buddemeyer to Turnbough, the Maries County Sheriff, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, but no one wanted to touch it.

“The calls and stuff, all (Turnbough) had to do was check Osage County Dispatch records and Elrod’s phone 10 minutes after,” Gehlert said. “If the Elrod situation had been taken care of even last year,  there might not been a murder that happened. If (Buddemeyer) wouldn’t have had an officer try to cover up for her or cover the information, she might not have killed anybody. Had Joe done his job and taken care of this officer that is a horrible human being, someone might still be alive. I know, it’s a stretch.”

Buddemeyer is charged with first-degree murder but has not yet gone to trial on allegations she shot and killer her step-father in November 2018 in Bland.

Gehert said Turnbough is a fantastic human being, but a terrible administrator. He has hear that Elrod has been performing administrative duties at the police department. The Advocate has noted Elrod presenting information during the last year-and-a-half’s worth of city meetings.

“Left with a person doing a full-time job somewhere else, but also supposed to be working a full-time job protecting the town I live in,” Gehlert said. “Who is going to do that job? If you can’t be held by your word or oath, you shouldn’t be working in law enforcement or any security for that matter.”

Elrod was contacted for comment Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon on his cellphone. The Advocate left two messages, but did not receive a call back.

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