Blue Byline

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

So, what do you want to talk about?

Post by Brian O'Neill on Aug. 2, 2011 at 8:54 am with 16 Comments »
August 2, 2011 9:08 am

After almost four months of dishing on topics like marijuana legalization and gun violence, as well as sharing stories about police work or motorcycle trips, I thought I might ask readers what topics they would like to discuss.

If writing this column has taught me one thing, it’s that this is not a lecture platform. Because so many people have such strong feelings about how we enforcement laws and deal with crime, this online column is less one-way narrative and more a forum for exchanging points of view. Certainly, there are specific experiences that give those of us in law enforcement an insider’s point of view. However, the 617 approved reader comments (as of this moment) have highlighted the fact that most people are capable of adding value to the discussion with their own individual perspective.

That is, in my opinion, a pretty cool use of this digital space.

So if you have a question about an issue, law enforcement-related or not, or if you have a topic you feel would best be discussed in Blue Byline, I welcome your input.

And thanks for reading.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. Gandalf says:

    I’ll bite. Just where would you place the most “blame” on our current revolving door criminal justice system? The courts? The public? The laws? Recently the SCOTUS, in a 5-4 decision upheld a lower courts ruling to allow the release of over 40,000 criminals in california because of poor mental health facilities and treatment. We all know the case of the four lakewood police officers gunned down by a career criminal that should’ve been behind bars. Or that criminals can be arrested in the morning and are out walking the streets before the arresting cops get off duty.

    I blame the public for keeping their heads buried in the sand, refusing to come to grips with inadequate facilities that force the system to release known convicted criminals simply because the ACLU has successfully litigated for criminal rights and overcrowding of our jails. I blame the voters for refusing to allocate more funding for jail expansions, and also for refusing to pass levies to build more jails. In addition, it’s the fear of “profiling” and other PC nonsense that handicaps our LEOs from getting scum off the streets.

  2. Hi Brian, Below is a link to an article. I watched the video and read this story this morning and I think this is a topic that needs to be spoken about: How should police deal with the mentally ill and emotionally disturbed in regards to their use of force? Is it a training issue?

  3. ConservativeChristian says:

    Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains. It’s time to stop putting our own family members in jail over marijuana. How about discussing some straight-forward ways we can make some progress in this area?
    If ordinary Americans could grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes. Let’s put the criminals out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods. Let’s let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.
    Here’s one way that IT IS REALLY WORKING: Arresting the criminals and collecting a fee from the registered growers (and bringing in thousands of dollars to support the county budget); what a great plan! This is the way to build a better America!
    The current proposal before Congress, bill HR 2306, will allow states to decide how they will regulate marijuana. Email your Congressperson and Senators at and ask them to sign on as a CO-SPONSOR of HR 2306.
    And a big THANK YOU to the courageous, freedom loving legislators, governors, and countless others who are working so hard to bring this through! You’re doing a great patriotic service for all of America!

  4. rivitman says:

    Ok, the South Sound 911 Tax proposal.

    I hate taxes with a passion. I hate new taxes in a recession more. And I dunno about the dispatch centers. I’m dubious on the need for police/fire interoperablity.

    But any scanner enthusiast can probably tell you that out in the county, Police radio coms stink. To many dead areas, officer’s portables would seem to come from the cut out rack at toys R us.Not only does it seem frustrating for officers and dispatchers, but I believe the current com system is a big threat to officer safety.

    So, with a sigh, I’ll vote in favor.

    As long as I can still listen in……..

    And guys and gals, when you key your mike, wait a heartbeat before talking. A lot of blown transmissions caused by twitchy thumbs.

  5. ribbonwinner says:

    In response to Rvitman and voting in favor of the South Sound 911 proposal….

    There is no need for the new dispatch centers they are proposing, and no need for a new EOC either.

    There is a need for Pierce County to upgrade their radio systems. However, they do not need your yes vote on South Sound 911 to fund that upgrade.

    The radio system that is in place and used by Tacoma and the cities that Puyallup dispatch for already have and use an 800MHz system that meets the FCC mandated radio standard.

    Pierce County has had EVERY opportunity to join this radio system, and they still can, but they have declined. Why? Because they want to be the only game in town and do not want to have to work with the other dispatch centers. They want to run the whole show.

    It is a huge song and dance with their South Sound 911 proposal. It is not needed!

    Have you heard of Pierce County’s response times and call stats? They do not even meet national standards. Meanwhile smaller centers like Puyallup meet and exceed those standards and provide excellent 911 services to their cities. Do you really want an entity that can’t meet a national standard in charge of you emergency services? I surely don’t and that is why my vote will be a resounding NO.

  6. ribbonwinner says:

    Also, rivitman with the upgraded radios- they are encrypted and you will not be able to listen in.

  7. Save the “SUN KING!”

  8. Brian O'Neill says:

    I viewed the video, Yid. To be honest, the case for police brutality was not made for me. I have seen excessive force used, and watched the system play take justice on the rare officer that “loses it.” In this case, the lack of clarity and distance from the scene make it impossible to make any true statement about what was occurring. But, I also think that’s what makes this a topic worthy of discussion. Thanks for the idea.

  9. rivitman says:

    Sorry, I can’t find anything that says a new com system would be encrypted. It May well be trunked, but encrypted I find unlikely.

    As to the politics involved, sure, there may well be. But the cops need better coms. I’ve heard it for myself. The politics may stink, but what politics doesn’t?

  10. Brian,

    Last Friday as I was leaving the office and unbeknownst to me the office next door had a silent false burglar alarm go off. The police came as I was walking outside to take the garbage out. I was holding a bag of garbage and two Police vehicles surrounded me, four police officers got out and said,” don’t move, stay right where you are”. Two of the officers had their hand on their gun, while it was still holstered. They all proceeded to ask me multiple questions, in different ways, including, my name, reason for being on the premises, et cetera.. Two of the police officers standing at my side, visually checked to see if I was armed. At this point, I was being detained. I asked if I could put my garbage in the can and again they, said, “no, stay right where you are”. Two of the officers went and checked out the office where the alarm had gone off. They found no break in, but continued to ask me questions.

    I couldn’t help but think, if I was a mentally ill person there, standing with a bag of garbage and did not obey their commands or appeared delusional what would or could have happened. One of the officers apologized for detaining me and said I was free to go. The story is funny now, but at the time, no one was laughing.

  11. Whatever1214 says:

    I would like to see a column where you explain exactly what police are taught at the academy in regards to “shoot…. don’t shoot” and why police don’t shoot to wound or try to shoot the gun (or knife) out of a suspects hand.

    All too often comments indicate people don’t understand use of deadly force policies or policies involving escalation of force and why those policies exist.

  12. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thank you very much for all of your comments and recommendations. I think I have more than enough research to complete, and I hope I can answer some of your questions in the next few blogs.

  13. smokey984 says:

    How about the topic of “Peak Oil” and how it will affect our society.

  14. Brian O'Neill says:

    Smokey- I believe I would be straying into unfamiliar territory if I were to discuss “Peak Oil”. I’ll leave that to the pros.

  15. I would like you to talk about Craigslist and the Seattle Weekly adult ads. Do the ads make police work easier to bust prostitution? Do they increase prostitution in the community? Did they take prostitutes off the streets?

    What is your take as to the effect of these ads?

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