Wyoming Briefs April 27, 2023

 

April 27, 2023

Authorities investigate more phone shenanigans

BUFFALO (WNE) - Local law enforcement agencies continue to receive bogus phone calls, and they don't know why.

Police Chief Sean Bissett last week told Buffalo City Council members that Johnson County dispatchers received three phone calls between April 16 and of April 17 connecting the Johnson County Dispatch Center to other dispatch centers throughout the country.

Bissett said the calls are being treated as part of the same incident as the false report of an active shooter at Buffalo High School received late last month.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the incident, along with the FBI.

"There was no report of a threat," Bissett said of the calls, adding that they were still being treated as swatting. According to the FBI, swatting involves someone calling 911 and reporting an unsubstantiated emergency with the intention of drawing a law enforcement response.

Misusing or interfering with emergency communications is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, $750 in fines or both.

The suspicious calls began with the phone ringing at the dispatch center in Buffalo. The dispatcher who answered the phone was connected to another dispatch center elsewhere in the country.

"We don't understand why or what it's about," Bissett said. "It's more than just a prank phone call from a kid. It's above what a normal prank would be."

Bissett said investigators are uncertain if the recent calls are an attempt to get law enforcement called out to a scene or if it's to create confusion between two agencies. It could also be the caller's way of figuring out law enforcement's emergency response protocols.

Regardless, Bissett said the calls take dispatchers away from their jobs directing the county's first responders to actual emergencies.

This story was published on April 27, 2023.

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Shed hunting seasons delayed after harsh winter

POWELL (WNE) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced Tuesday an emergency extended closure of the shed antler and horn hunting regulation to protect big game on winter ranges.

The emergency regulation extends the current closure until 6 a.m. May 15 on designated lands, excluding Teton County.

"Big game animals have experienced a tough winter and are highly vulnerable to human-caused disturbances, such as being moved around by people on the landscape gathering antlers," said Rick King, Game and Fish chief of wildlife. "The unnecessary use of energy and undue stress can increase mortality. Postponing the shed antler collection in some areas of the state will help minimize stress, protect big game and increase their chance of survival."

The Big Horn Basin and areas outside of Yellowstone National Park legal to collect sheds do not have shed seasons.

There are area habitats closed to human visitation intended to protect wildlife in their winter ranges, but Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith said "it's important to be respectful of wildlife, giving them a chance to rest and consume much needed calories while trying to rear fawns and calves."

That is especially true this season due to the harsh and extended winter.

A map of the affected land is available on the department's website and the boundaries are detailed within the emergency regulation, as well as a complete list of open and closure dates for wildlife habitat management and public access areas across the state.

Anyone found violating the closures or illegally gathering antlers may be cited.

Teton County is not included in the closure extension. The primary species affected by the harsh winter in western Wyoming are pronghorn and mule deer, and there are relatively few pronghorn and mule deer that winter in Teton County.

This story was published on April 27, 2023.

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WYDOT and NWS: Avoid burning in state rights of way this spring

CHEYENNE (WNE) - As temperatures begin to warm and the winter snows melt, many ranchers and farmers head outside to begin their annual agricultural burns.

Each year, as the spring burning season gets into full swing, at least a few of these burns get out of control.

This year, the National Weather Service and the Wyoming Department of Transportation are encouraging people to stay safe and "Learn Before You Burn!"

"Frequently, our calm mornings turn windy during the afternoon," said Lance Vanden-Boogart of the Riverton NWS office. "Having an up-to-date wind speed and direction forecast can help you know where any fire is likely to move, and assess any nearby risks."

VandenBoogart said federal and state land management agencies routinely obtain weather forecasts from the NWS, and citizens should do the same.The Riverton NWS office can be contacted 24 hours a day by phone at 1-800211-1448.

Area-specific forecasts are also available online at weather.gov/forecastpoints or at mobile.weather.gov Highway conditions and remote weather information are available at wyoroad.info.

Citizens conducting a field burn are not only responsible for what happens on their own property, they may also be held criminally and civilly liable from damages to federal and state property.

This includes, but is not limited to, right-of-way fencing.

Landowners, conservation districts and others who plan to conduct prescribed burning activities are strongly encouraged to check the latest weather forecast by calling the NWS toll free at 1-800-211-1448. They should inform local government officials of burn plans, as well.

This story was published on April 26, 2023.

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Sentence reimposed for man who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault

SUNDANCE (WNE) - A Belle Fourche man has had his sentence for aggravated assault reimposed after repeatedly breaking the terms of his probation.

Myles Dillon was originally given a suspended sentence following an incident at a Hulett motel in which he allegedly beat a victim to the point of severe trauma.

On August 8, 2021, outside a room in a Hulett motel, Dillon allegedly inflicted injuries to the victim which included severe trauma to the head, face and neck and a potential collapsed lung. The victim was eventually life flighted.

According to court reports, Dillon attacked the victim in several ways, including kicking him in the face with pointed-toe cowboy boots; kicking him around the head, neck and chest area; and striking him with a wooden chair.

Dillon pleaded guilty to one felony count of aggravated assault and battery and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Judge Matthew F.G. Castano gave him a suspended sentence of between four and six years on the first count and 180 days on the second, to run concurrently, pending successful completion of a total of 3.5 years of supervised probation.

Dillon was also instructed to pay a total of $650 in fines.

However, Dillon appeared again in court after being accused of breaking the terms of his probation.

The accusations included that he was terminated from residential addiction treatment due to "behavior issues and a lack of participation;" that he stole items from a vending machine; that he admitted to consuming alcohol, methamphetamine and marijuana multiple times; that he was terminated from therapy due to lack of attendance; that he failed to meet with his probation agent; and that he has failed to make any payments to the court.

Castano reimposed the original sentence for the charge of aggravated assault.

Dillon will be incarcerated for between four and six years, with credit for time already served.

This story was published on April 27, 2023.

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