Blue Byline

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

Archives: April 2013


Detective’s unshakable determination leads to cold case arrest

When gunfire erupted in the Hilltop in 1988, Tacoma was then a city known only for its toxic aroma and an anemic economy. What citizens knew of gang violence came from news clips out of Los Angeles, where gangsters had descended like a plague years before.

Then came the drive-by shooting death of Bernard Houston on a Hilltop corner. His death was a harbinger of bad things to come. It would get worse before it got better.

In the 25 years since, the city’s fortunes have described an arc. First came the rapid descent into a maelstrom of gang violence

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Keep memory of Crystal Judson, other DV victims, alive

In 2003, David Brame killed his wife, Crystal Judson, in a parking lot before turning the gun on himself. The murder-suicide sent shock waves far beyond Tacoma, the city Brame served as its Chief of Police.

A decade later Brame’s specter continues to haunt the city.

Sean Robinson’s critical analysis of the events leading up to Brame’s crime (Trib 4/21) provides answers to the “who knew what and when” line of questioning. What is now clear, after ten years’ worth of hindsight, is that David Brame was a deeply disturbed man whose final crime should have been predictable.

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A city defeats terrorism by being “Boston strong”

Even before the smoke from Boston’s twin blasts had cleared, a large number of people were running the wrong direction. Instead of racing away from two deadly concussions towards safety, they ran into the smoke.

This is the type of selfless courage for which first responders are known. It is not, however, the type of behavior one expects from random civilians when a tragic event occurs.

But that is surely what happened last Monday when an improvised explosive device lit off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As police and firefighters ran towards the carnage, they were joined

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Foot chases, back in the day

Plenty of things have changed in the twenty-five years since I first walked through the doors of the police academy. I’m older, of course, and hopefully a bit wiser.

But my footspeed is, well, let’s just say it ain’t what it used to be.

Being on the downhill slope to fifty will do that to a person, as will an accumulation of injuries from sports played well past an “athlete’s” expiration. At least that’s what my orthopedic surgeon keeps telling me. Repeatedly.

But I remember when I used to be pretty fast.

When a suspect turned and bolted, a spike

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Gun background checks not just a “feel better” idea

The debate on gun control is arguably the most contentious topic currently sucking up real estate inside the media bubble. An important national issue, with both legal and cultural implications, it is primarily an emotional one.

The only federal legislation still on life support is the measure requiring universal background checks for gun sales. Despite being backed by roughly 90% of Americans, the bill barely made it out of the Senate committee’s frying pan, and now waits a slow basting in the fiery Senate chambers.

If nothing else, the measure’s plodding pace has provided ample opportunity for everyone to voice

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Lakewood scandal: great article, wrong target

The twisted saga of Skeeter Manos, former Lakewood police officer, is a case study in betrayal. In a scathing article (TNT 4/7) on theft that shook the foundation of a grieving community, TNT investigative reporter Christian Hill drags Manos’ crime into the harsh light of day.

It was a worthy effort, but praise comes with a caveat. The subject of the story was not Manos, the central figure sentenced to 33 months in a federal penitentiary last year for embezzling more than $150,000 from a charity fund destined for widows and orphans of the fallen Lakewood officers.

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Marijuana opportunists risk voter outrage

I warned you about them, didn’t I?

In the heady days leading up to the passage of I-502, one of the main concerns about legalized marijuana were users who, having ignored pot prohibitions for so long, would quickly step beyond the new restrictions. While that may seem a harsh judgment, there is simply no denying that, prior to I-502’s passage, every recreational toke was a criminal act.

Now that Washingtonians can legally use marijuana, a few marijuana opportunists are busily proving that those concerns were well founded.

A recent AP article (Trib 4/4) relates that at least two taverns, one

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About last week…

When the sun came out last week, I was sifting through several interesting news stories for a topic. Let’s just say I got distracted. Now that I’m somewhat back on track, let’s take a look at a few.


Early in the week we learned that  an Italian court had ordered Amanda Knox’ murder case reopened (Trib 3/26). Though not unexpected, the judicial quicksand into which Knox stepped after being implicated in the death of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, continues to tug on her. More than anything, the court’s recent decision highlights two major differences

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