Blue Byline

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

Archives: 2013

Dec.
21st

Guilty verdict takes a cold-blooded killer off the street

At age 16, Kimmie Daily had debilitating physical disabilities and the cognitive skills of a ten-year-old. She was an innocent.

On August 17, 2010, in one of the most reprehensible crimes this area has seen in years, Daily was raped and murdered. Last Tuesday, barely a week before Christmas, a Pierce County jury convicted Tyler Savage of Murder first degree in Daily’s death (TNT 12/17).

As Christmas tales go, the details brought up during Savage’s trial are reminiscent of the biblical story of the male infants put to the sword by a superstitious and jealous King Herod.

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Dec.
17th

Low tech barrier could have prevented fatal collision

In the early 1960s, traffic engineers in New Jersey conducted a series of crash tests with a concrete barrier. The result was a 32″ wall with two curved surfaces that has since become the ubiquitous Jersey barrier.

It is impossible to calculate the exact number of lives saved by the installation of the Jersey barrier along American freeways and highways. Suffice to say, the number is great.

And yet in hindsight, an opportunity for an additional “save” was squandered on Monday along a well-traveled stretch of I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia.

For a thus far unexplained reason, the driver of

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Dec.
12th

Devastating Fox Island blaze a reminder of seasonal danger

When I first ran through the doorway, it seemed like I was walking into a thick fog bank. The charcoal-colored smoke was so opaque I could not see my hand in front of my face. I squeezed my eyes nearly shut, held my breath and followed the sounds of running feet ahead of me.

Against all judgment, my partner had rushed into the burning house in hopes of finding the last occupant. With the fire department still on the way, I was the third cop to follow him inside where a teenager was, unbelievably, hiding out amidst the flames. Though

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Dec.
6th

Are Detroit’s retired first responders too small to save?

As the stock market continues to fill the pockets of hedge fund managers and CEO’s, the echoes of 2008 are fading from memory. The litany of “too big to fail,” it would seem, has served its purpose.

Two of the few legitimate successes from the TARP bailout are Detroit’s General Motors and Chrysler, both of which have repaid their respective loans of $13.4 and $4 billion and survived the Great Recession intact.

How ironic that the Motor City, which nurtured these economic giants throughout much of the last century, has itself failed.

Last Tuesday in federal court, Judge Steven W.

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Dec.
2nd

Red light cameras are intrusive, annoying and necessary

Several years ago I was I was running late for my first shift with a new department. I made a right turn at a red light, fervently hoping none of my new coworkers were close enough to view my rolling stop.

Weeks later, I fished out an envelope mailed to me from my employer. The $100 ticket inside was not only an unpleasant surprise, but it was also my introduction to Redflex.

Although I had heard about red light cameras, I had no idea that I had just rolled through an intersection equipped with one of Redflex’s infamous new contraptions.

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Nov.
25th

Shameless politicians should practice what they preach

When Rep. Henry “Trey” Radel, R-Fla., pled guilty to one count of cocaine possession on Wednesday (TNT 11/20), it was something more than a political scandal.

It was a federal crime. A felony.

That fact does not seem to register with the public, perhaps because Radel is not the first elected official to be arrested on drug charges (though he may be one of the few to apologize).

Few may recognize the name Steve Katz, a New York Assemblyman arrested for marijuana (despite voting against legalization), or Willie Gandara Jr., a Texas County Commissioner arrested on federal

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Nov.
17th

Recreational drugs: what was old is new

“The Greeks and Romans used opium, anticholinergics, and numerous botanical toxins to induce states of mental euphoria, create hallucinations, and alter their own consciousness.”

The quote, lifted from the pages of Dr. David Hillman’s book, The Chemical Muse, suggests that recreational drugs were an accepted part of both the society that created democracy and the empire that bent its knee to Caesar.  

The notion that mind altering drugs have been around a long time should come as little surprise. Today, the demand remains strong, regardless of the so-called war on drugs (or perhaps

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Nov.
12th

Regional incarceration should be treated as a business, not a game

We live in a society of specialization. Look around and you will see niche businesses that employ experts in fields that did not exist a generation ago. With all of that expertise, you might expect that massively expensive public programs are being administered by professionals specifically trained for the task.

Of course I’m joking. Public projects are all too often managed by people (i.e. government officials) who have little or no training for the job.

On the national level, the Affordable Care Act website is a classic example. The site’s epic failure to launch can be attributed to the toxic interference

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