Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deputy Kipp Needham - Assaulting a police officer: Trooper Peterson


Deputy Kipp Needham was originally charged with assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted assaulting, resisting, or obstructing a police officer [a misdemeanor]. Needham was sentenced to six months in jail and one year probation.









The Michigan State Police Post in Traverse City received a 911 call from the home of Deputy Kipp Needham...




...When State Troopers arrived at the scene, they found Deputy Needham in the backyard. Needham was intoxicated and had a loaded gun. Needham assaulted responding officers.





State Troopers arrested Deputy Needham for assaulting them; possession of a firearm while intoxicated; and for domestic violence..









Kipp Needham is a sheriff deputy with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department.





Deputy Kipp Needham's arraignment.








Deputy fired from the force
by Roxanne Werly
Posted: 03.17.2011 at 9:19 AM
Updated: 03.17.2011 at 4:15 PM
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=594029



Deputy Kipp Needham is fired from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office following an assault investigation and jail sentence.


TRAVERSE CITY -- Deputy Kipp Needham is fired from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office following an assault investigation and jail sentence.

On June 1, 2010 Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Deputy Kipp Needham was arrested by Michigan State Police Troopers from the Traverse City Post.

Needham was arrested for two counts of domestic violence, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and resisting & obstructing a police officer causing injury.

On January 26, Deputy Kipp Needham pled guilty to a charge of attempted resisting & obstructing a police officer. He was sentence on February 16 to six months in jail with work release and an opportunity for Community Corrections after 45 days in jail.

An internal investigation was completed by the Sheriff's Office which included the review of the police report, medical evaluations and an interview with Deputy Needham.

According to the report released by the Sheriff, the internal investigation revealed that Deputy Needham, while under the influence of alcohol, was in possession of a loaded firearm, did assault his wife and did assault a police officer. As a result, Deputy Kipp Needham was terminated from his employment with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday.

In the news release about the situation Sheriff Bensley states: Deputy Needham was a 12 year employee of the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office with an excellent work history and expertise in traffic safety and accident investigation. However, the actions on June 1, 2010 involving alcohol and assaults were serious enough to warrant his dismissal.

Do you thinking firing Kipp Needham was the right thing to do? Tell us "Your Point of View" by voting in the poll below and leaving your comments.





BRAVO, SHERIFF THOMAS BENSLEY. "...this internal investigation which revealed that Deputy Needham, while under the influence of alcohol, was in possession of a loaded firearm, did assault his wife... As a result of these actions on March 16, 2011 Deputy Kipp Needham was terminated from his employment with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office..."














Grand Traverse - Deputy Kipp Needham Relieved Of His Duties
March 17th, 2011
http://www.bigrapids.biz/news/160/ARTICLE/2577/2011-03-17.html



Grand Traverse MI - On June 1, 2010 Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office Deputy Kipp Needham was arrested by Michigan State Police Troopers from the Traverse City Post. Needham was arrested for two counts of domestic violence, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and resisting & obstructing a police officer causing injury.

On January 26, 2011 Deputy Kipp Needham pled guilty to a charge of attempted resisting & obstructing a police officer. He was sentence on February 16, 2011 to six months in jail with work release and an opportunity for Community Corrections after 45 days in jail.

An internal investigation was completed which included the review of the police report, medical evaluations and an interview with Deputy Needham. As a result of this internal investigation which revealed that Deputy Needham, while under the influence of alcohol, was in possession of a loaded firearm, did assault his wife and did assault a police officer. As a result of these actions on March 16, 2011 Deputy Kipp Needham was terminated from his employment with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Needham was a 12 year employee of the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office with an excellent work history and expertise in traffic safety and accident investigation. However, the actions on June 1, 2010 involving alcohol and assaults were serious enough to warrant his dismissal.








Deputy gets 6 months
Sheriff to decide fate of Needham’s career at later date

Traverse City Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI)
BY ALEX PIAZZA 17 Feb 2011
http://traversecityrecordeagle.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx




Suspended Grand Traverse sheriff’s Deputy Kipp Needham is led away by sheriff’s deputies after being sentenced.


TRAVERSE CITY — If Travis Peterson had his way, suspended Grand Traverse sheriff’s Deputy Kipp Needham would be forever banned from law enforcement.
No badge, no gun, no uniform. No way.

Peterson, a Michigan State Police trooper, survived an attack from a drunken, out-ofcontrol Needham early June 1, when Peterson responded to Needham’s Acme Township home on a domesticviolence complaint.

Needham, 36, punched Peterson in the face and choked him, a violent outburst Needham blamed on a mixture of wine and antifungal medication. Needham already had assaulted his wife and another female relative before Peterson and his partner showed up.

“I was forced to take action that saved my life and potentially could have cost the defendant his life that horrific morning,” Peterson said Wednesday during Needham’s sentencing in 86th District Court. “My wife and two young children almost lost their husband and father due to the actions of the intoxicated defendant. Due to his drunken and violent actions, the defendant lost all the respect he gained over his 12 years of public service.”

Judge Michael J. Haley considered Peterson’s statement as he sentenced Needham to six months in jail and one year probation. He will serve his sentence in the Leelanau County Jail and is eligible for a community corrections program after 45 days, Haley said.

“It is just a bad situation,” Haley told Needham. “Sending you to jail is the last thing I want to do. But I feel I’m compelled to do so. I sincerely hope you can move on with this.”

Prosecutors originally charged Needham with a variety of felonies and misdemeanors, including assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm while intoxicated. But county Prosecutor Alan Schneider last month cut a deal that allowed Needham to plead to a misdemeanor for attempted assaulting, obstructing and resisting a police officer.

Needham likely will be placed in a general population cell, and Leelanau County deputies said they’ll make sure he hasn’t had any police interaction with the fellow inmates to ensure his safety in jail.

Needham apologized to Peterson and others for his actions as dozens of local police officers watched from courtroom seats.

“I’ve never behaved like that before,” Needham said. “I’m here to take responsibility for my actions. I can assure you that it will never happen again.”

Grand Traverse County corrections officers handcuffed their suspended colleague and hauled him away when the session ended.

Needham’s attorney contended a mixture of anti-fungal medication and booze — Needham’s blood-alcohol level was .09 percent upon arrest — prompted Needham to act “out of character” and assault his wife and another female while armed with a handgun. State police responded to a 911 call and found Needham facedown in his driveway.

Needham then ran toward their patrol car, slid his county-issued, loaded handgun toward them and said, “You’re going to have to kill me,” court records show.

Needham then bolted to the backyard, where he punched and choked Peterson before he and another trooper subdued him.

“I will forever carry the many complicated emotions that accompany almost losing my life and having to defend my life with a deadly force response, all of this against a sworn police officer,” Peterson said.

Needham’s wife, Christina, blamed the anti-fungal medication for her husband’s actions.

“That evening was a tragedy for everyone involved,” she said. “My husband was not himself that night. He’s an excellent father, he’s an excellent husband. This just wasn’t him.”

Peterson said he believes Needham forfeited any claim to resuming his lawenforcement career.

“I did not object when the prosecutor decided to reduce the charges to misdemeanors, but I made it clear I did not want the defendant to have the possibility of retaining his job as a law-enforcement officer,” Peterson said.

That decision is in sheriff’s officials’ hands. Sheriff Tom Bensley suspended Needham without pay after prosecutors filed their criminal charges in June and said an internal investigation will determine his next step.

“These are things we don’t like to deal with, but we have to,” he said.

Bensley said there’s “no specific timeline” as to when he’ll decide Needham’s fate.

“It’s not going to be this week or next week,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to be awhile before it gets settled.”











Sheriff to decide fate of Needham’s career at later date
Traverse City Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI)
BY ALEX PIAZZA
17 Feb 2011
http://traversecityrecordeagle.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx



Suspended Grand Traverse sheriff’s Deputy Kipp Needham is led away by sheriff’s deputies after being sentenced. Record-Eagle/Jan-Michael Stump.

TRAVERSE CITY — If Travis Peterson had his way, suspended Grand
Traverse sheriff’s Deputy Kipp Needham would be forever banned from law enforcement.
No badge, no gun, no uniform. No way.

Peterson, a Michigan State Police trooper, survived an attack from a drunken, out-ofcontrol Needham early June 1, when Peterson responded to Needham’s Acme Township home on a domesticviolence complaint.

Needham, 36, punched Peterson in the face and choked him, a violent outburst Needham blamed on a mixture of wine and antifungal medication. Needham already had assaulted his wife and another female relative before Peterson and his partner showed up.

“I was forced to take action that saved my life and potentially could have cost the defendant his life that horrific morning,” Peterson said Wednesday during Needham’s sentencing in 86th District Court. “My wife and two young children almost lost their husband and father due to the actions of the intoxicated defendant. Due to his drunken and violent actions, the defendant lost all the respect he gained over his 12 years of public service.”

Judge Michael J. Haley considered Peterson’s statement as he sentenced Needham to six months in jail and one year probation. He will serve his sentence in the Leelanau County Jail and is eligible for a community corrections program after 45 days, Haley said.

“It is just a bad situation,” Haley told Needham. “Sending you to jail is the last thing I want to do. But I feel I’m compelled to do so. I sincerely hope you can move on with this.”

Prosecutors originally charged Needham with a variety of felonies and misdemeanors, including assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm while intoxicated. But county Prosecutor Alan Schneider last month cut a deal that allowed Needham to plead to a misdemeanor for attempted assaulting, obstructing and resisting a police officer.

Needham likely will be placed in a general population cell, and Leelanau County deputies said they’ll make sure he hasn’t had any police interaction with the fellow inmates to ensure his safety in jail.

Needham apologized to Peterson and others for his actions as dozens of local police officers watched from courtroom seats.

“I’ve never behaved like that before,” Needham said. “I’m here to take responsibility for my actions. I can assure you that it will never happen again.”
Grand Traverse County corrections officers handcuffed their suspended colleague and hauled him away when the session ended.

Needham’s attorney contended a mixture of anti-fungal medication and booze — Needham’s blood-alcohol level was .09 percent upon arrest — prompted Needham to act “out of character” and assault his wife and another female while armed with a handgun. State police responded to a 911 call and found Needham facedown in his driveway.

Needham then ran toward their patrol car, slid his county-issued, loaded handgun toward them and said, “You’re going to have to kill me,” court records show.
Needham then bolted to the backyard, where he punched and choked Peterson before he and another trooper subdued him.

“I will forever carry the many complicated emotions that accompany almost losing my life and having to defend my life with a deadly force response, all of this against a sworn police officer,” Peterson said.

Needham’s wife, Christina, blamed the anti-fungal medication for her husband’s actions.

“That evening was a tragedy for everyone involved,” she said. “My husband was not himself that night. He’s an excellent father, he’s an excellent husband. This just wasn’t him.”

Peterson said he believes Needham forfeited any claim to resuming his lawenforcement career.

“I did not object when the prosecutor decided to reduce the charges to misdemeanors, but I made it clear I did not want the defendant to have the possibility of retaining his job as a law-enforcement officer,” Peterson said.

That decision is in sheriff’s officials’ hands. Sheriff Tom Bensley suspended Needham without pay after prosecutors filed their criminal charges in June and said an internal investigation will determine his next step.

“These are things we don’t like to deal with, but we have to,” he said.

Bensley said there’s “no specific timeline” as to when he’ll decide Needham’s fate.

“It’s not going to be this week or next week,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to be awhile before it gets settled.”







Text of state police Trooper Travis Peterson’s statement
17 Feb 2011
Traverse City Record-Eagle (Traverse City, MI)
Travis Peterson MSPTA
http://traversecityrecordeagle.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx



Michigan State Police Trooper Travis Peterson reads a statement before suspended Grand Traverse sheriff's Deputy Kipp Needham was sentenced in 88th District Court on Wednesday. Needham pleaded guilty to one count of attempted assaulting, resisting, or obstructing a police officer.



Text of a statement made by state police Trooper Travis Peterson, of the Traverse City post, at Wednesday’s sentencing of Kipp Needham, a suspended Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputy. A drunken, armed Needham assaulted Peterson in June when Peterson responded to Needham’s house on a domestic-violence complaint.

“My name is Travis Peterson, and I am a member of the Michigan State Police Trooper’s Association. I am here today to address the court, not in my capacity as a trooper with the Michigan State Police, but as the victim of a violent assault and battery committed by the defendant. I have many valid concerns and fears. I take no pleasure in my duty to stand before this court, but I feel this whole incident has been minimized. I am not here to drive a wedge between the Michigan State Police and the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department.

“I have nothing but the highest respect for the deputies that I interact with on a daily basis.

“On the early dark morning hours of June 1, 2010, while my partner, Tpr. Richards and I were performing the lawful duties of Michigan State Police Troopers, the defendant confronted us with his duty-issued loaded and cocked pistol. The defendant only dropped the pistol due to his intoxication. The defendant then punched me in the face, choked me with his hands, all the while berating me and the Michigan State Police. The defendant yelled, ‘I’m going to fu-----kill you!’ as he choked me. I was forced to take action that saved my life and potentially could have cost the defendant his life that horrific morning. My wife and two young children almost lost their husband and father due to the actions of the intoxicated defendant.

“I received minor physical injuries that have since healed (a laceration to my right hand, a laceration to my mouth and red strangulation marks to my neck). I will forever carry the many complicated emotions that accompany almost losing my life and having to defend my life with a deadly force response, all of this against a sworn police officer.

“I was satisfied with the charges the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office originally authorized against the defendant in this case. I did not object when the prosecutor decided to reduce the charges to misdemeanors, but I made it clear I did not want the defendant to have the possibility of retaining his job as a law-enforcement officer. It is obvious my request was not honored as I was made aware of the plea offer and agreement through the media.

“I realize the defendant was formerly a well-respected member of the law-enforcement community, and he at one time had the trust of the community he swore to protect and serve. Due to his drunken and violent actions, the defendant lost all the respect he gained over his 12 years of public service.

“The defendant has failed to accept full responsibility for his drunken/violent actions and has even gone as far as to claim temporary mental insanity. Tpr. Richards and I were there. Tpr. Richards and I were threatened with a loaded and cocked pistol. I was violently punched in the face and choked by the defendant. Tpr. Richards and I know the facts of this case, and his defense only shows his failure to accept responsibility.

“I stand before this court today hoping the defendant will accept full responsibility for his drunken/violent actions on June 1, 2010. I also respectfully request that you, Judge Haley, help me protect my family and myself from the defendant.

“If the defendant chooses to surrender his badge and resign from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department, I would fully support a decision to sentence him to probation with the appropriate conditions to include: The defendant is not permitted to possess a firearm, and the defendant is not permitted to have any contact with me or Tpr. Richards. But if the defendant denies responsibility, I would respectfully request the court sentence him to the maximum jail time allowed under this plea agreement.

“My greatest concern is the defendant will retain his position as a deputy with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department and possibly be sent as Tpr. Richards’ or my backup to a critical incident. It is not fair to ask Tpr. Richards or me to put our lives in the hands of the defendant who attempted to end them. Due to his own actions, the defendant no longer has our trust or respect.











Deal may spare deputy jail
BY ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
January 27, 2011
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1663948626/Deal-may-spare-deputy-jail




Kipp Needham, a suspended Grand Traverse County deputy, stands next to his attorney Wednesday in 86th District Court.



TRAVERSE CITY — Prosecutors dropped felony charges against a suspended sheriff's deputy accused of assaulting and injuring a state police trooper, assaulting two female relatives, and being drunk while possessing a firearm. A key to a deal that could spare Kipp Needham a jail stint and possibly save his job as a Grand Traverse County sheriff's deputy: an anti-fungal medication that allegedly affected his behavior.










Suspended officer expected to plead to misdemeanor
BY ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
January 23, 2011
http://record-eagle.com/local/x71343349/Suspended-officer-expected-to-plead-to-misdemeanor




Kipp Needham



TRAVERSE CITY — A suspended Grand Traverse County deputy could avoid two felony convictions if he pleads guilty to a misdemeanor. Kipp Needham, a 12-year member of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year, is expected to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer, court records show.







GT County deputy takes plea deal in assault case
by Roxanne Werly
Posted: 01.21.2011 at 1:31 PM
UP North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=570651




Kipp Needham pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Assault on a Police Officer Friday. The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail.


TRAVERSE CITY -- A Grand Traverse County Deputy accepted a plea deal on an assault case.

Kipp Needham pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Assault on a Police Officer Friday. The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Needham was arrested at his home last June.

He was charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest causing injury, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and two counts of domestic violence.

He was originally scheduled for trial in October 2010, but it was delayed while mental evaluations were completed. The trial was rescheduled to take place on February 15.

The 12 year veteran of the Sheriff's Office has been suspended from the force without pay, pending the outcome of the case. The Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley tells 7 & 4 News his office has no comment on the status of Deputy Needham until the case is reviewed by the Sheriff's Office.












GT County Deputy's assault case going to trial
Posted: 01.06.2011 at 1:17 PM
Up North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=563948





TRAVERSE CITY -- A Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Deputy's assault case is going to trial.

Kipp Needham is charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest causing injury, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and two counts of domestic violence.

Needham was arrested at his home last June.

He was originally scheduled for trial in October but it was delayed while mental evaluations were completed. The trial is now scheduled to take place on February 15. A final conference is scheduled January 21.

The 12 year veteran of the Sheriff's Office has been suspended from the force without pay, pending the outcome of the trial.










Deputy to undergo psychiatric evaluation
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Record Eagle
Wed Sep 15, 2010, 07:12 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1967874430/Deputy-to-undergo-psychiatric-evaluation

TRAVERSE CITY — A suspended Grand Traverse Sheriff's deputy charged with assault will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Kipp Needham is charged with assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence.

Judge Philip E. Rodgers on Tuesday ordered Needham to undergo the evaluation, Prosecutor Alan Schneider said. Criminal proceedings will move forward when the evaluation is complete.

Needham allegedly assaulted his wife and daughter at his Acme Township home June 1, then scuffled with Michigan State Police troopers who responded to the scene. He allegedly choked and hit a trooper during the struggle.

Needham is a 12-year employee of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year. Grand Traverse Sheriff Tom Bensley suspended him without pay pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Needham is free on bond.












Deputy to stand trial on assault charges
Needham waives preliminary exam and is arraigned

BY ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
Wed Jul 28, 2010, 09:19 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1079910842/Deputy-to-stand-trial-on-assault-charges



Grand Traverse Sheriff's Deputy Kipp Needham, left, with attorney George Mertz, listens during a preliminary hearing on charges of a count of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence.



TRAVERSE CITY — A veteran Grand Traverse sheriff's deputy will stand trial on charges that he choked a state trooper and assaulted two female relatives.

Kipp Needham, a 12-year member of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year, waived a preliminary examination Tuesday in 86th District Court. Judge Michael J. Haley bound Needham over to 13th Circuit Court and arraigned him afterward.

Grand Traverse County authorities last month charged Needham, 35, with assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence. The domestic violence charges involved his wife and daughter. The assault/causing injury to a police officer charge is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or $5,000. The remaining charges are misdemeanors.

Court officials initially barred Needham from his Acme Township home, but Haley on Tuesday lifted the no-contact provision with his wife and daughter. Needham's wife told Haley that she felt safe if he returned home.

"I would like him to come home," she said.

The no-contact provision with his neighbors remains intact.

Michigan State Police on June 1 responded to a domestic assault complaint, and found Needham face down in his driveway. He ran toward their patrol vehicle, slid his county-issued, loaded semi-automatic pistol toward police and said, "You're going to have to kill me," court records show.

Needham then ran to the backyard, where police said he punched and choked a trooper. Another trooper helped restrain Needham, and they repeatedly struck and handcuffed him.

He was taken to Munson Medical Center and received staples and stitches for facial lacerations.

Grand Traverse Sheriff Tom Bensley suspended Needham without pay pending the outcome of his criminal proceedings.

George Mertz, Needham's attorney, declined comment on the charges.

"At this time, we're still kind of in a holding pattern," said Mertz, who wouldn't disclose whether a plea deal for Needham is in the works.

Needham's pre-trial conference has yet to be scheduled.












Judge reduces jailed deputy's bond
BY ART BUKOWSKI The Record Eagle
Wed Jun 09, 2010, 07:30 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371475405/Judge-reduces-jailed-deputys-bond



Deputy Kipp Needham

TRAVERSE CITY — A Grand Traverse sheriff's deputy accused of a drunken assault is out of jail, but there are plenty of strings attached.

District Judge Michael Haley on Tuesday reduced suspended Deputy Kipp Needham's bond from $250,000 cash to a personal recognizance bond, which requires no money to secure release. Needham, 35, was set to be released from the Leelanau County Jail later Tuesday.

District Judge Thomas J. Phillips arraigned Needham last week on a count of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence.

He allegedly assaulted his wife and daughter at his Acme Township home June 1, then scuffled with Michigan State Police troopers who responded to the scene. He allegedly choked and hit a trooper during the struggle.

Needham is a 12-year employee of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year. Grand Traverse Sheriff Tom Bensley suspended him without pay pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

George Mertz, Needham's attorney, said a recent mental health assessment shows Needham is "stable" and fit for release. Haley agreed, but imposed a series of bond restrictions designed to protect Needham and the victims.

"I realize these things aren't bulletproof, but nevertheless a competent mental health professional has basically signed off on this and indicated that ... there is not an immediate concern for the defendant's own safety," Haley said. "I think that the conditions of bond established will tend to the need for safety on the part of the victims involved here."

Needham won't be allowed to contact his wife or daughter, and he'll be allowed a single police-supervised trip to his home to collect belongings. He must take twice-daily breath tests for alcohol or utilize a system that prevents his car from starting without a clean breath test.

Mertz and Prosecutor Al Schneider said Needham's wife wants the no-contact restriction lifted. But she wasn't present in court to say so herself, so Haley wouldn't alter that condition.

Haley said it's understandable that Phillips initially set bond high.

"I think it's sufficient to say that when you have an event that occurs that attracts a lot of public attention like this, that involves alcohol and domestic violence, that involves a weapon and police officers getting hurt, it's the correct thing to do for the first person looking at the bond to" set a high amount, he said.

Needham was being held in the Leelanau County Jail because officials didn't want to jail him in the county where he serves as a deputy.











Deputy Needham Released From Jail
Posted: 06.08.2010 at 4:11 PM
Up North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=467777




TRAVERSE CITY -- A Grand Traverse Deputy, accused of domestic violence and assaulting a Michigan State Police Trooper has been released from jail.

Following a mental health evaluation, a judge reduced Kipp Needham's bond Tuesday from $250,000 to a Personal Recognizance Bond, which requires no money.

Last week, Needham was charged with one count of resisting arrest, possession of a gun while intoxicated, and two counts of domestic violence.

He was suspended without pay from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office.










Undersheriff: Arrest is 'black eye'
BY ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
June 3, 2010
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371473022/Undersheriff-Arrest-is-black-eye



Deputy Kipp Needham

TRAVERSE CITY — The image of a bruised and battered Grand Traverse sheriff's deputy streamed across a courtroom television screen.

Kipp Needham's facial lacerations and swollen right eye were the result of a drunken, early-morning off-duty scuffle with police that put the 12-year member of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year behind bars.

"It's a black eye on the department," said Undersheriff Nathan Alger. "This was a shock to us, completely out of character."

Judge Thomas J. Phillips arraigned Needham on Wednesday in 86th District Court on a count of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence. He allegedly assaulted two female relatives.

Michigan State Police early Tuesday responded to a domestic assault complaint, and found Needham face down in the driveway of his Acme Township home. He ran toward their patrol vehicle, slid his county-issued, loaded semi-automatic pistol toward police and said, "You're going to have to kill me," court records show.

Needham then ran to the backyard, where police said he punched and choked a trooper. Another trooper helped restrain Needham, and they repeatedly struck and handcuffed him.

He was taken to Munson Medical Center, and received staples and stitches to close up facial lacerations. A blood sample was sent to the state police forensic laboratory to test his intoxication levels, but state police Lt. Bill Elliott said it could take more than a week to get the results.

"This is an isolated incident," said George Mertz, Needham's attorney. "He's not a violent person or a danger to society."

Mertz requested a personal recognizance bond, but Phillips instead set a $250,000 cash bond. He remained in the Leelanau County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm concerned about Mr. Needham," Phillips said after he set bond. "He could be a danger to himself."

Needham is a road patrol deputy who specializes in serious accident investigations, said Alger, who commended the deputy's service record. Alger visited Needham on Tuesday at the jail to inform him of the department's decision to suspend him without pay until the case concludes. His preliminary examination is scheduled for June 16 in 86th District Court.

He is required to undergo twice-daily preliminary breath tests, twice-monthly drug screens and he's not allowed within 500 yards of his Baywood Drive residence — all of which are bond stipulations.

Needham also cannot contact the two female relatives he allegedly assaulted, his children and a neighbor who attempted to break up the domestic dispute.

Editorial: Good old boy network is alive and well
http://traversecityrecordeagle.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Deputy gets 6 months
http://traversecityrecordeagle.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

State police Trooper Travis Peterson's statement
http://traversecityrecordeagle.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Deal may spare deputy jail
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1663948626/Deal-may-spare-deputy-jail

Suspended officer expected to plead to misdemeanor
http://record-eagle.com/local/x71343349/Suspended-officer-expected-to-plead-to-misdemeanor

Deputy to undergo psychiatric evaluation
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1967874430/Deputy-to-undergo-psychiatric-evaluation

Deputy to stand trial on assault charges
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1079910842/Deputy-to-stand-trial-on-assault-charges

Judge reduces jailed deputy's bond
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371475405/Judge-reduces-jailed-deputys-bond

Deputy arraigned; held on $250,000 bond
http://record-eagle.com/archive/x371472558/Deputy-arraigned-held-on-250-000-bond

Undersheriff: Arrest is 'black eye'
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371473022/Undersheriff-Arrest-is-black-eye

GT County deputy faces assault charges
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371472494/GT-County-deputy-faces-assault-charges











Deputy Troubles Weigh On Force’s Presence
Posted: 06.02.2010 at 6:23 PM
Up North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=465376

TRAVERSE CITY -- It’s been a turbulent month for the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office, which has endured two deputy firings and one deputy suspension in the past 30 days.

In May, Deputies Robert Sillers and Mark Noffke were fired for their involvement in a scandal involving Traverse City Police Officer Joseph Soffredine.

On Tuesday, Deputy Kipp Needham was arrested at his home in Acme Township. Needham has since been charged with Assaulting an Officer, Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated and two counts of Domestic Violence.Grand Traverse County Sheriff Thomas Bensley said Needham has been suspended without pay.

Bensley said the disciplinary problems are starting to take a toll on the force’s ability to protect and serve. “Well there is a good possibility we won't be doing some things. We won’t have the time. Obviously our business is a priority business…some complaints have a priority over others.”

For Bensley, the suspension of Deputy Needham could not have fallen at a worse time.


“Well, obviously we are coming into the busiest time of the year. For us, the summer season is the busiest and at this time that is one less officer we have out on the road,” Bensley said.


To add to the situation, the County Board recently decided to drop funding for the TCAPS liaison officer program. In the fall, deputies will have to pick up extra responsibilities when school is back in session.

“The complaints are not going to go away. They will be handled much differently. We have patrol officers now who will be responding to the schools to handle any complaints at the schools,” Bensley said.

The Sheriff’s Department is stretched thin and the strain could end up costing tax payers, who would have to pay for the overtime county deputies may be forced to take. “Our overtime could increase because of the officers being held over to handle additional complaints because of the man power shortage,” Bensley said.





Deputy In Court To Face Charges
Posted: 06.02.2010 at 12:10 PM
Up North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=465157






TRAVERSE CITY -- Grand Traverse County Deputy Kipp Needham was officially charged Wednesday with several counts including domestic assault and resisting arrest.

Early Tuesday morning, State Police arrested a 12-year veteran of the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s office. During the arrest, responding Officer Travis Peterson was punched several times in the face. Both Peterson and Needham were treated for injuries at Munson Medical Center.

Deputy Needham, was arraigned by video Wednesday morning while he continues to be held in Leelanau County's Jail in Suttons Bay. He was charged with 2 counts of Domestic Violence, Possession of a Firearm while Intoxicated and Resisting and Obstructing Causing Injury.

Bond is set at $250,000. A preliminary hearing is set for June 16 at 1:30 p.m.

The following notice was set to 7 and 4 News from The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office:
On June 1, 2010 the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office suspended Deputy Kip Needham without pay until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings or until an internal investigation has been concluded regarding the events of the early morning hours of June 1, 2010.
Deputy Needham has worked for the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office since 1998. Deputy Needham has worked with this Office as a Road Patrol Deputy and specializes in serious accident investigation. Deputy Needham is also a Child Passenger Safety Specialist and frequently does car seat safety inspections. In his 12 years of service to Grand Traverse County Deputy Needham has received nearly 20 letters of positive citizen contacts, received a lifesaving award in 2007 for saving a 9 year-old girl that was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, and was the employee of the year in 2007.
At this time it is unknown by this Office why the events of June 1, 2010 occurred.
We do however; believe this was completely out of character of Deputy Needham. The Sheriff’s Office will provide additional releases as we progress in the investigation.












Deputy arraigned; held on $250,000 bond
BY ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
Wed Jun 02, 2010, 10:55 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/archive/x371472558/Deputy-arraigned-held-on-250-000-bond

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge today arraigned a Grand Traverse sheriff's deputy on charges that he assaulted two female relatives and a state trooper.

Judge Thomas J. Phillips arraigned Kipp Alan Needham, a 12-year member of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year, on a count of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence. Michigan State Police on Tuesday arrested Needham outside his Acme Township home.

"This is an isolated incident," said George Mertz, Needham's lawyer. "He's not a violent person or a danger to society."

Needham, 35, of Traverse City, remains in the Leelanau County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond.

"I'm concerned about Mr. Needham," said Phillips after he set the bond. "He could be a danger to himself."

Needham's preliminary examination is scheduled for June 16 in 86th District Court.















GT County deputy faces assault charges
12-year vet accused of domestic violence, choking state trooper

BY ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
Wed Jun 02, 2010, 07:40 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371472494/GT-County-deputy-faces-assault-charges

TRAVERSE CITY — A veteran Grand Traverse sheriff's deputy faces a lengthy list of criminal charges after police said he assaulted two female relatives, then choked a state trooper who responded to an early morning disturbance.

Authorities on Tuesday charged Kipp Alan Needham, a 12-year member of the sheriff's department and its 2007 employee of the year, with assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury, possessing a firearm while intoxicated and two counts of domestic violence. The assault charge is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or $5,000.

Michigan State Police responded early Tuesday to a domestic assault complaint in the 4000 block of Baywood Drive in Acme Township. Troopers arrived and found Needham, 35, of Traverse City, face down in the driveway.

Police told Needham to remain on the ground, but he allegedly ignored their orders. Needham ran toward the patrol vehicle, slid his county-issued, loaded semi-automatic pistol toward police and said, "You're going to have to kill me," court records show.

Needham ran to the backyard, and police gave chase with a Taser in hand. He then punched and choked a trooper, police reports show.

Another trooper helped restrain Needham, and they repeatedly struck Needham in the head and handcuffed him.

"Throughout this incident, Needham had slurred rapid speech and his breath reeked of intoxicants," police reports show.

Needham was taken to Munson Medical Center for multiple facial lacerations that required stitches and staples to close the wounds. The trooper who scuffled with Needham was treated at the hospital and received a stitch on his hand.

Hospital staff also drew Needham's blood, which was sent to the state police forensic laboratory to determine his intoxication levels following the assault; test results are pending. Police transported Needham to the Leelanau County Jail because of his job in Grand Traverse, state police Lt. Bill Elliott said.

Grand Traverse Sheriff Tom Bensley on Tuesday suspended Needham without pay. Bensley would not comment on Needham's charges.

Judge Thomas J. Phillips is expected to arraign Needham this morning in 86th District Court. Needham remained in the Leelanau County Jail Tuesday afternoon.

Needham is listed as a social science instructor at Northwestern Michigan College, but he's not scheduled to teach classes during the summer or fall semesters. NMC staff policy states that "if a faculty member is charged with a crime or is alleged to have committed an act of gross misconduct ... the faculty member may be suspended from duty by the board of trustees during the dismissal process."












Grand Traverse County Deputy Arrested
Posted: 06.01.2010 at 12:02 PM
UP North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/





Early Tuesday morning, State Police arrested a 12-year veteran of the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s office.


TRAVERSE CITY -- Early Tuesday morning, State Police arrested a 12-year veteran of the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s office.

Kipp Needham, 35, was arrested by the Michigan State Police on multiple charges, including Domestic Violence, Possession of a Firearm while Intoxicated and Resisting and Obstructing Causing Injury.

During the arrest, responding Officer Travis Peterson was punched several times in the face. Both Peterson and Needham were treated for injuries at Munson Medical Center.

Sheriff Tom Bensley said Needham will be suspended without pay until the conclusion of the investigation. He will be arraigned on the charges Wednesday morning.











Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence

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