Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Lauren Spierer: Private investigator apologizes for comparing Bloomington, Ind. chief to Gomer Pyle
With the search for their missing daughter about to enter its fifth month, Robert and Charlene Spierer have hired a retired New York City detective to help in the investigation.
So far, the move has turned up more insults than leads.
Former New York City police Detective Richard "Bo" Dietl apologized Monday on "Imus in the Morning" to "the great state of Indiana and Bloomington" for comparing the city's police chief to the TV bumpkin "Gomer Pyle" on Friday.
"I feel bad. Sometimes I open my mouth and don't think before I talk," Dietl said.
Lauren Spierer, 20, of Greenburgh was a student at Indiana University in Bloomington and disappeared June 3 after a night of partying with friends. After months of working with Bloomington police and hundreds of volunteers, the Spierers hired Dietl, who runs Beau Dietl and Associates, a security consulting firm.
In an appearance on "Good Day New York" on Friday, Dietl compared the head of the Bloomington Police Department to the well-meaning but naïve character Gomer Pyle from "The Andy Griffith Show" and its spinoff, "Gomer Pyle, USMC."
The show's hosts asked him about possible friction between local police and big city private investigators.
"Friction? I thought I was talking to Gomer Pyle out there," Dietl said of Chief Mike Diekhoff during the segment. "The thing is, I met with the chief ... and all I gotta say is, thank God for New York City detectives."
While Diekhoff brushed off the attacks ("I've been called worse," he told The Herald-Times of Bloomington), the Spierers distanced themselves from the spat.
Charlene Spierer told Fox59 News in Indiana: "We continue our search for Lauren since her disappearance on June 3. We are confident in the Bloomington Police Department and they have our full support."
Her husband, Robert, told the television station that the family hired Dietl to "supplement" the investigation.
He added, "We don't agree with the disparaging comments made without our knowledge and completely contrary to our opinion of the Bloomington Police Department."
Diekhoff said Bloomington police met with Dietl and two of his team members.
They wanted to work with Bloomington police and share details of the investigation, but Diekhoff said he rejected that request for a number of reasons.
For starters, he said Spierer's disappearance was the subject of an ongoing police investigation, and it's standard police policy not to reveal "pertinent information" from open investigations.
He also said a police partnership with a private agency is unethical and contrary to standard police practice.
Dietl and his investigators also contacted the FBI and other police agencies helping with the Spierer case. Those agencies refused to give Dietl case information for the same reasons.
"As he did not get the information he came seeking, I can only surmise that is the reason he described me as Gomer Pyle," Diekhoff said. "I don't agree with that characterization, but to use a time-honored phrase, maybe that is how they do things in New York."
Dietl is a regular on New York's radio and television channels, appearing on Fox News Channel shows and on Don Imus' radio show, among others.