Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

First dispatch

Post by Brian O'Neill on April 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm with 13 Comments »
May 9, 2011 9:22 am

About a year ago I got an email from Kim Bradford, one of The News Tribune’s editorial page writers. I had done a couple of stints as a guest columnist and she was wondering would I be interested in writing a blog for the editorial pages.

Sure, I told her. But first a question: what’s a blog?

A year later I have written a number of blogs for the paper, some of which made the cut to the print edition. Most of these contributions arose from my experiences as a local police officer. Because I have spent most of the years between 1989 and the present as a cop, I naturally felt most comfortable writing about law enforcement related topics.

I am grateful that a few people took the time to read. Some were critical of my view–a few vehemently so–while some where genuinely positive about the content of the column and the work done by my colleagues in blue.

Good or bad, that feedback was likely the reason I received another communique from my editor, Patrick O’Callahan: Would I be interested in writing my own cop-centric online column for The News Tribune?

Hmmm. Does a Taser shoot 50,000 volts? (The answer is yes, but the bite is in the 2.1 milli-amps, just so you know.)

Thus the creation of this blog, the Blue Byline, so named for the thin blue line of police officers on duty every hour of every day. Giving them a voice is my prime motivator. In doing so I hope to add layers of understanding and context to the myriad stories about cops, citizens and criminals that are scattered like grapeshot throughout our daily media.

I will also take any opportunity to defend my brother and sister police officers from the narrow-minded few that insist that corruption and excessive force is endemic to my profession. Conversely, if one of us screws up–and we do, because like it or not, we’re from the same gene pool as everyone else–it is important to identify the problem and deal with it.

Lastly, of course, I enjoy the writing. Enough said.

I hope you like the column. If one of the topics intrigues you, I invite your comments.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. This is just to say , ..WELCOME ! .. So, pleased to have you with this news paper co’s staff.

    Your experience and knowledge will serve this area well and also give credit where credit is due !

  2. Alison7613 says:

    I am not sure using the excuse that you come from the same gene pool as everyone else justifies the murder of the mentally ill. I am specifically referring to the John T. Williams case. In that instance, I would have to say the officer should be out of the pool, or at least out of the police gene pool.

  3. aimdoggg says:

    I’m glad they have someone with your viewpoint contributing. Too many people give no thought to the perspective of the police and their families. I am looking forward to you blog.

  4. tacomajoe says:

    Let’s hope we see something more than the conventional wisdom. What’s your take on Chambers Bay, Mr. Jarvis’s free car, the pagoda, and the Towne Center?

  5. I would welcome a Daily blog from you as well as any of the men and women that compose the Thin Line of Blue. The average citizen is not aware of the dedication, daily sacrifice and challenges that you face in performing your peace-keeping, crime prevention and criminal apprehension mission. You perform that mission with honor despite the opportunism and misinformation that characterizes the liberal media’s reporting of law enforcement efforts. Please keep us informed. Thank you.

  6. ItalianSpring says:

    This will be interesting to read regularly. It will be really entertaining to read the spew from the cop haters out there. Their negative energy makes the jewel of their collosal ignorance shine like a black hole.

  7. pazzo242 says:

    Brian–this is absolutely fantastic. As you are aware there are so many that get their digs in on every incident Tacoma PD is involved in with zero knowledge of what really goes on out there. They think the officer made the wrong decision but give no suggestion or solutions to rectify, what they see, as a problem.

    At the same time it is good to see those who post comments, like Roncella and ItalianSpring that have a compassion for law enforcement.

    We must, also, not lose sight that there is an occasional rogue or misfit cop that needs to be rooted out. I know that TPD does a good job at doing just that.

    And pul-lease people, all you naysayers can we stop bringing up Chief Brame.

    Thanks Brian–don’t know anyone who could do a better job then you.
    Your old (and I mean old) Buddy–Stu Bracken

  8. FewWords111 says:

    Thank you for your service…I am glad you are there

  9. DeschutesMan says:

    I am the son on a retired and since deceased TPD officer that was active in the Juvenile Division of TPD. Glad to see you here and hope you can do a story line about the “old” way of handling the youth of my day. The bad Cop is out there but the Good ones have a way of coming to the front when they are needed. Ignore some of our ignorance of law and common sense we have in our comments. I know I get riled really fast when the wrong button is pushed.

    Welcome!! We need your words…

  10. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thanks, Rich, and everyone else who has gone to the trouble of welcoming my blog to the Trib. I feel very fortunate to be part of a paper that has been so valuable to T-town.

  11. Piercecountyvet says:

    Thank you Brian,
    your participation and viewpoint is sorely needed.

  12. Alison7613 says:

    @rh_wa Let’s see…in the last year I saved a neighborhood food bank some mean people were trying to shut down, I have served in the past on a mental health board (for years unpaid), I serve on a disabilities board now (unpaid), I have MS, I write letters, contact and speak with officials about these issues, I advocate for better care and treatment of our most vulnerable. No, I was not in Seattle that day so I could not push Mr. Williams out of the way of the bullets. And I have multiple sclerosis. So no, rh_wa. I just sit around all the time doing nothing. I think you are the idiot.

  13. Alison7613 says:

    …and I continue to work with agencies and advocates about educating our front line responders so these mishaps become less frequent. rh-wa, you make assumptions that are just not true. In fact, I even speak to first responders such as police and firefighters frequently to find out what I and others can do to make these shootings (of the mentally ill) a thing of the past (except in cases where direct harm is not avoidable, as was NOT the case in the John T. Williams shooting)

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