Officer Thwarts Attempted Ambush/Assault
During the early morning hours of Sunday March 17, 2019, 47-year-old resident of Chowchilla, Paul Clingham was arrested outside of the Chowchilla Police Department.
Clingham was seen on video surveillance camera, circling the department on a bicycle.
A closer examination of the video showed that Clingham was at the rear area of the department carrying a large “butcher” type knife. As one of the officers walked outside of the department, he noticed that there was a bicycle laying in a parking spot where a patrol car is normally parked.
The officer, used his training and experience and began to believe that the bicycle could have been placed there as a distraction. Believing this to be the case, the officer cautiously began scanning the area and looked to areas where a person could be hiding or waiting. The officer, observed Clingham standing in a corner area holding the knife in his right hand. Immediately, the officer ordered Clingham to drop the knife who started to advance of the officer.
Commands were given by the officer again, to drop the knife and lay on the ground, while pointing his duty weapon at Clingham. After several commands, Clingham finally complied and dropped the large knife. Clingham was then taken into custody.
After being placed into custody, Clingham was found to be in possession of methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia.
He was also found to have an active warrant out of Kansas for attempted murder. According to Clingham, he stated the warrant was due to him stabbing a correctional officer in that state.
Clingham was booked into Madera County jail, for the warrant as well as the additional felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, threatening/ resisting arrest and several misdemeanor charges which included the possession of methamphetamine.
This incident is an example of the growing dangers, officers across the nation are facing while policing the communities they serve. Our community and officers, face the same issues, and this was an example of it. Thankfully, the officer used his training and experience to safely clear the back of the department and ensure he was not injured.