Blue Byline

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

Archives: March 2013


Stalking victims deserve new law

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” 
―Joseph Heller, Catch 22 

Imagine a very real and credible threat so pervasive you must constantly be on alert.  It alters your life, forcing you to check the exits everytime you go somewhere and always have an escape plan handy.

Now imagine that you are not a soldier in a combat zone or  an undercover operative on covert assignment. Your reality is far less intriguing – you are a victim of a stalker.

Unlike dangerous professions, or their Hollywood equivalent, there is nothing mysterious about stalking

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A lapsed Catholic takes a new look at the church

This is a column about the recent installation of Pope Francis as the head of a billion Roman Catholics. While it does not relate to the normal police-related topics of Blue Byline, it was too intriguing to pass up. 

As some people have pointed out to me in the past, I am a bit of a stereotype. Son of an Irish immigrant, Catholic by default and a cop by choice, I’ll admit my life does sound like a cliche.

That includes a typical Catholic education which started the first day of kindergarten, when my mom dropped me off with Sister

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Crime and punishment: the ethical dilemma of unintended consequences

For the record, $450 million is a lot of money.

That is part of the reason why a federal judge decided to throw the book at Casey Fury, a New Hampshire man who just might have committed the nation’s most destructive act of vandalism. Fury was responsible for setting a small blaze which caused almost half a billion dollars in damage to one of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear subs and led to several injuries.

An AP article reported that Fury received a fifteen year prison term for setting the fire. His defense? He told authorities he was trying

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Tragic Navy crash a poignant reminder of loss

My best friend in college, Greg, was a pretty impressive guy. Besides a wicked sense of humor, he was bright, athletic and fearless. He could have done just about anything.

He chose to be a Marine Corps aviator.

Greg and I parted ways after college when he set out to fulfill that dream. He called me a couple of years later and told me he had graduated second in his flight school class. I told him I was surprised that somebody finally beat him at something.

I was actually proud of Greg’s achievement and excited to learn that his new

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The mental health system – where “broken” never goes out of style

If Google were truly the revealing search engine we think it is, I should be able to download the entirety of our state’s mental health system simply by entering a single keyword: Broken.

Sean Robinson’s exhaustive article (Trib 3/10) reveals a system plagued by slipshod accountability and error-prone service. This comes as no surprise for the people who operate within this cyclical business, a list which includes firefighters and cops, ER docs and nurses, along with the mental health professionals who hold the keys to long term treatment.

Robinson delved into the minutiae of his topic in

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Former feds’ fight against legalization a wasted effort

With all the sound and fury eight former DEA bosses are stirring up over marijuana, you would think that recent legalization measures passed in Washington and Colorado are the first sign of the apocalypse.

In an AP article (Trib 3/5) replete with infomercial appeal, “the onetime DEA heads issued a joint statement” (pot humor is mandatory in these articles) that the Justice Department should “act now or else it will be too late.”

Too late for what? Too late for the cartels who profit from illegal drugs? Too late for the war on drugs which is bankrupting our

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Task forces really are the long arm of the law

When cops work together, good things can happen.

Last week a mixed bag of local, state and federal cops put the finishing touches on a cooperative effort known as Shiny Penny. After six months of work the officers and agents working for Pierce County’s Auto Crimes Enforcement task force (say that three times fast), netted a treasure trove of stolen vehicles, firearms and other property (Trib 3/2).

Twenty-one people went for that shiny penny, and ended up dangling on ACE’s hook. That is the type of successful collaboration that the other Washington would do well to emulate.

Unfortunately, even

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