Medford standoff costs city $16,000 in OT

MEDFORD — The Medford Police Department spent nearly $16,000 for overtime pay during a 24-hour standoff with a man who barricaded himself inside his home on Alma Drive earlier this month.

A total of 41 officers logged overtime during the standoff, which ended peacefully Sept. 6 after 47-year-old Bradley Leon Cathey gave himself up.

"The problem with these standoffs is that you have to patrol the rest of the city while dealing with the situation," Medford police Deputy Chief Tim George said. "That requires us to call people in early to cover shifts."

George said the cost, though stiff, was necessary to bring the situation to an end.

"You can't start putting a dollar sign to safety issues," George said. "We will spend any amount to make sure people make it home alive at the end of the day."

The tense situation began on the afternoon of Sept. 5 during a reported domestic dispute between Cathey and his wife, Sandra Cathey, 45. When police arrived, the wife left the residence with a 7-week-old baby in her arms.

Cathey fled into his home as police arrived. At one point he said his home was equipped with several guns and that he was willing to harm police and himself.

After a search warrant was issued on the house, officers found a shotgun, two .22-caliber rifles and a .38-caliber handgun. Cathey said he had explosives as well, but none were found inside the home.

The standoff interrupted the lives of everyone living on the street, as police closed the area to drivers and people were evacuated in case shooting started.

George said a large number of officers was needed to surround the home in case Cathey tried to escape. The police also wanted as many eyes on the home as possible in case Cathey attempted to start shooting.

"You can't have a mentally disturbed person who is armed to get the upper hand at any time," George said.

Police chose not to force their way into the house because of the inherent danger in confronting a person who stated he was ready to kill.

"Why jack up the situation?" George said. "We are willing to take any step needed so that everyone makes it through safely."

Cathey has since pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree disorderly conduct in connection with the standoff, according to court records.

His next appearance in Jackson County Circuit Court is scheduled for Nov. 10.

"These standoffs cause grief for everyone involved," George said. "Luckily we only have a few of them a year."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

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