Blue Byline

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

Archives: Feb. 2012


Trooper’s killer a stereotype for hatred, cowardice

Last Thursday in Gorst, forensic experts arrived to process an early morning homicide. They set up a logic-driven crime scene, incorporating technology and methods unknown even a few years ago. When pieced together, these efforts will give investigators an inside look at the death of Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu.

And none of it will make any sense.

The answers such tests will provide – the whens, whats and hows – are important, make no mistake. The information provided by photographs and tire imprints, from detailed interviews and follow-up calls, and from all the high-tech tools and forensic analysis

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Rights of victims are a low priority

Consider the following news headline: “Mother loses court battle – accused serial molester will have access to kids”

How about this one: “Visitation granted to man after court advised of sexually deviant images on his computer”

Or even: “Defeat of HB 2588 a signal that accused have more rights than future victims”

I’ll admit it - these headlines are fiction. However, they do represent another possible spin on recent events. These examples are alternate versions that, instead of highlighting individuals arrested for crimes focus on the safety and the rights of their victims.

The mother in the first example is Jill Thomas, Jerry Sandusky’s daughter-in-law. Thomas’

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The “Skeeter Rule” could help prevent insider theft

When the last “Welcome aboard!” had faded away on my first day as a cop, I was briskly ushered to a dimly lit cubicle where a three-ring binder the size of the Cleveland phone book awaited. “This is the policy manual,” I was told. “Read it because you’re responsible for everything in it.”

Since then the digital age has rendered paper versions of workplace rules obsolete. This was timely because the human penchant for screw-ups would ultimately have led to a policy manual roughly the size of Cleveland. What, I wonder, would be the reaction if each new policy were named

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911 should be a conduit not a disconnect

Getting emergency help is supposed to be simple. When you need to get hold of the police, medical aid or the fire department all you need to do is dial three numbers – 911 – and the appropriate responders will be there right away. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Maybe in a perfect world.

If anyone were under the illusion that a call to 911 would be a simple matter, the recent spinoff story from Josh Powell’s murder-suicide should clear up that misconception. The mishandled 911 call, discussed in a 2/11 Trib article, has

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Manos’ alleged crime is a bitter betrayal

In early December of 2009, about a week after four police officers were killed, I worked a shift in Lakewood. Like many other cops, I had shown up to support my shell-shocked colleagues and to allow them some time off to grieve. In reality, we all were drawn to the Lakewood station by our need to make sense of the tragedy, to talk through the hurt, and to begin the healing process among friends and colleagues.

Between calls for service we spent most of the day outside the station, mingling with a large crowd of people who, like us, were

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Powell’s evil act “Smells to heaven”

I imagine myself walking through the charred, smoking remains of a home, sifting through the blackened bits of wood, fabric and broken glass. The lingering heat and haze causes me to squint, but I somehow keep myself from stumbling over the shapes of two small bodies which suddenly materialize out of the sooty, heat-warped air. As I kneel on the burnt floor, I am consciously aware of a part of myself that is usually still – an inner shield forged by the paternal instinct to protect the innocent. That part of me cracks open.

This is the legacy of Josh

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Random nature of gang violence requires extra measures

For those of us who live within civilized boundaries, homicide is an almost unknowable quantity. We do have a few common weaknesses, such as rage, greed or jealousy, built into our systems. These motivations – or failings, if you prefer – are somewhat understandable to us, though the taking of a life still remains abhorrent.

But what if a person, perhaps a well-loved young woman, was killed because of a color?

The recent homicide trial of five young men, which concluded with last Friday’s sentencing, was another prime example of random

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Mass murders make big news, unless it’s Mexico

There is something not right about the media’s coverage of violence on this planet.

Serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway received sensational coverage during their killing sprees, the lengthy manhunts and the subsequent trials. Years later the stories of their crimes continue to garner news coverage, while the names of their victims (there were allegedly 30 and 71  respectively) pass into oblivion.

This past summer a lunatic named Breivik captured global attention when he gunned down and blew up a total of 77 people (not including scores who were grievously injured). The story held our fascination, both

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