Blue Byline

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

Archives: July 2012


A dangerous equation: Killer + Media hype = Celebrity

When I came across the U.S. map on the back of the Saturday News Tribune I assumed the dark and light shading of the states represented recent presidential polling. No so. It depicted the scenes of domestic mass killings from the Columbine killings in 1999 to the present day – in all 230 were gunned down in 22 separate incidents.

Though each shocking incident represented a significant loss of life, the total number was not enough to skew our nation’s homicide statistics. Public awareness of these traumatic events, on the other hand, has led to a disproportionate amount of fear.

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Sheriff Arpaio throws his credibility out the birther window

First there was the pink underwear worn by jail inmates. Next came the tent cities, erected at a fraction of the cost of traditional brick and mortar jails. Finally, there were the chain gangs, a throwback to the days when the lives of inmates included hard labor, rather than weight lifting and television privileges.

Through it all there was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who defended his regressive measures by proclaiming (correctly) that our troops in Iraq were facing similar conditions while under the threat of a war zone. In other words, stop whining.


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Federal agency derelict in not reporting serious crime

I hate polygraph exams.

First, there’s the strap the examiner puts around your chest to measure any change in respiration rate. Probes wrap around the ends of your fingers and constantly monitor your pulse. Next is the blood pressure cuff that re-inflates every few seconds, squeezing the heck out of your biceps while it steals the secrets from your telltale heart.

Lastly, there are the questions. I have found, over the years and after a total of seven polygraph exams, that there are no answers that come without either guilt, humiliation or panic. No matter how many times I have

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Hilltop neighborhood protective of their progress

Tacoma City Council members got a rare demonstration of neighborhood activism last Tuesday: 20 people showed up to protest a single item that wasn’t even on the agenda. Those people, all residents of the Hilltop neighborhood, were there to speak out against the rumored addition of a sex offender halfway house in their neighborhood. Whether or not the possibility existed (the answer is probably not), their presence was at least a reminder that a united neighborhood, aka a community, is a power to be reckoned with.

For proof you need look no farther than the Hilltop today. Vital businesses have

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Look, up in the sky, it’s a – drone

In a busy, chaotic world nothing trumps simplicity. A successful organization, whether a private business or a public safety agency, is constantly seeking ways to simplify its processes. Recently, a technological marvel has emerged which holds the promise to do just that for a variety of jobs. That machine is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), aka a drone.

In law enforcement we are constantly looking for better ways to do a dangerous job. That means ways to improve on parameters such as safety, economy and efficiency (though not always, unfortunately, in that order). Unmanned drones show promise in each of

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Choir practice I: Summer movies

The lunch room in my station is the place where pecking order usually takes a back seat to comraderie. The idle chit chat is a lifeline that keeps us afloat, especially given the stresses that exist on the other side of the doorway. I often listen (and sometimes suffer) the opinions of my co-workers on a variety of topics: politics, food, kids’ sports, romance and movies.

And, best of all, I make a point of listening with my elbow on an actual water cooler.

Which leads me to my first installment of choir practice, a series devoted to matters far

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Cops who violate our trust should be held to higher standard

Remorse: Moral anguish arising from repentance for past misdeeds.

With every crime there is always the chance of getting caught. Even the least imaginative individual is capable of understanding the potential fallout of arrest, including a trial and incarceration. Police officers know better than anyone what is in store for someone tapped by the long arm of the law.

Skeeter Manos, ex-Lakewood cop and newly convicted felon, would have known exactly what awaited him if his embezzlement were uncovered. Given his lavish lifestyle, including big ticket purchases, gambling and vacations, Manos should have assumed his arrest would be

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