Blue Byline

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

Archives: April 2012

April
29th

Public access to overdose medication gives users a second chance

Through the doorway I heard the sound of a woman screaming. I ran inside, breathing through my mouth to keep from gagging on the stench that permeated the apartment. In the living room, on a soiled couch, lay a young man with a purple face, unblinking eyes and a chest that neither rose nor fell.

Fortunately, my partner and I had arrived a mere second ahead of the paramedics who quickly shoved us aside. They opened their medical kits while having a muted conversation. I picked up the words, “Already dead,” and “Let’s try it anyway.” Then one of them

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April
27th

Red light cameras blend safety with a dose of (insert profanity)

A couple of years ago I was driving to work, when I slowed for a red light. I put on my signal and turned right. Two weeks later I got a ticket in the mail.

I balled up my fist and shook it, spitting out, “Redflex!” Seinfeld fans will get that, trust me.

The infraction was for my apparent failure to stop before turning on the red, a point I had no intention of arguing for two simple reasons. First, the police agency at the top of the ticket was my employer; second, I had watched traffic cops review Redflex

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April
24th

Supreme Court’s ruling on divisive law should give feds a wakeup call

You can say one thing for Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. It separates its supporters and critics as easily as a hot knife through butter.

Arizona SB 1070 is headed for a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. At issue are the four provisions that have been the exclusive privilege of the federal government (at least up until now):

(1) require police to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect he or she is undocumented;

(2) make it a state crime for a non-citizen to be without registration papers;

(3) make it illegal for

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April
22nd

Graveyard shift can suck the life out of you

I knew a vampire once.

He had dark hair and pale skin and his clothes were a midnight blue. He usually woke up just as the last rays of the sun were winking out on the horizon. Give or take a few minutes.

My friend wasn’t especially adherent to the strict regimen of vampires – bloodsucking, for one, was not on his list of to-do’s. But then, strictly speaking, he wasn’t a traditional vampire. He was a cop on the graveyard shift.

What separated my friend from countless people working the night shift was this unique decision: He changed his

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April
20th

Lack of leadership may be the Service’s secret

Back in 1996 I had an opportunity to work alongside the U.S. Secret Service’s presidential security detail. Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak at the T-dome and a “jump team” flew out to brief the police officers assigned to assist. My partner, a young agent with the Secret Service, and I spent hours on our feet facing out towards any possible threat.

Despite my impression that the event was an exercise in organized chaos, Clinton’s appearance went off without a hitch. After a stressful day, the presidential detail and the local cops shared some good times before they caught a

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April
17th

Deconstructing the taboo of suicide

In the vast repertoire of human actions there are few as disturbing as suicide. As such it is too often viewed as a stigma, a crime against the community as much as a crime against oneself.

If we were to be honest, the act of self-destruction is repellant to us for two basic reasons: It is a violation of both our primal sense of self-preservation and the moral principles which mold our personal and religious views. In the past, people who committed suicide were considered damned for eternity and unworthy of a Christian burial. In the present, conversation on this

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April
14th

Florida, Utah police unusually reluctant to make high profile arrests

I was enduring a day-long training class this past week when the instructor made a comment that made me sit up straight. “Denial,” he said, “is a defense mechanism that kicks in when a person rejects what is true, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

It’s not often that the words of Sigmund Freud get tossed around in police circles. It was a lesson for the cops in the room that if we ignore obvious information just because it is sudden or unpleasant (such as the sudden appearance of a weapon in the hands of an unlikely opponent), bad things

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April
11th

Councilwoman provides legitimate reason for gang study – federal money

When Tacoma City Councilwoman Victoria Woodards penned her recent letter to The Trib, it was probably with a release of some pent-up frustration. The letter was a response to the multitude, myself included, who criticized the council’s decision to spend $50,000 studying the city’s gang problem.

Since the city released the results of their consultant’s research in early March, the City Council has been roasted for its alleged waste of scarce funds on such an obvious issue, none as much as Woodards. There was, I believe, good reason for

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