Blue Byline

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

Archives: July 2013


Nonemergent calls to police and fire are irritating but necessary

Scene: Mid-90s. Swing shift patrol. Northeast Tacoma. 

Action: Day 1 – Police officer drives around in circles for hours. No calls. He pulls into the fire station and eats his lunch with similarly bored firefighters. Goes home. Day 2 – Repeat.

While this scenario was largely true back in the day, it is no longer. Shrinking budgets and an increase in service calls keep most first responders hopping day and night. But hopping to what?

According to Adam Lynn’s excellent piece in Sunday’s TNT, many of those calls – at least for the Tacoma Fire Department –

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Is drug raid a federal declaration against legalized pot?

Following the results of last November’s vote to legalize marijuana in Washington State, there has been much speculation about the federal government’s response.

With marijuana still illegal on a national level, officials from Attorney General Holder on down have been quick to reaffirm federal authority. They have also been frustratingly silent on what actions, if any, the various government agencies might take.

If actions speak louder than words, however, it appears the silent treatment is over.

On Wednesday, federal agents raided three Western Washington medical marijuana dispensaries, including a downtown Tacoma storefront operation known as Tacoma Cross (

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New DUI penalties a bit of good news amidst a bloody week

If one were looking for confirmation that summertime and bloodshed go hand in hand, the proof was scattered throughout the local news this week.

Here are a few in no particular order:

  • An 18-year-old is injured following a drive-by shooting in Tacoma;
  • A Puyallup man is arrested for first degree murder when sheriff’s deputies search his blood-soaked apartment for links to a missing man;
  • A 16-year-old is in custody after a fatal stabbing in Renton;
  • Two people are wounded in a Seattle shooting;
  • A stabbing melee in Olympia leaves two men hospitalized;

In other words, it was a

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Zimmerman verdict: Recognizing the injustice in the system

For all our disparate values, when Americans go to the movies we all crave one thing when the credits roll. A good end to the story.

The need to have loose ends wrapped up, to bring a sense of closure, is endemic. Perhaps the best evidence of this need is the collective response when people don’t get it. They generally don’t react well.

Such was the case when six Florida jurors acquitted George Zimmerman of all criminal charges in the death of Trayvon Martin last Saturday (TNT 7/14). When word of the decision spilled out,

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Stealing a child’s innocence now carries harsh consequences

In the last few weeks, two articles buried in the TNT’s local section detailed the convictions of two men for seemingly unrelated crimal offenses. But their crimes are not only connected, but intimately so.

On July 3, Gilardo Zaldivar-Guillen, a Sumner man, had the unenviable distinction of becoming the first person convicted of patronizing a juvenile prostitute under a revised sentencing guideline (TNT 7/4).

Under this new guideline, the crime of Commercial Sex Abuse of a Minor (RCW 9.68A.100) was elevated to a Class B felony. That makes it on par with crimes such as Robbery 2nd

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Paying respects to men who went willingly into the fire

The rivalry between police officers and firefighters has a lengthy history. From sporting events like the Bacon Bowl, to hilarious sendups on Youtube (check out “Cops vs. Firefighters), this good natured ribbing usually ends with a few laughs and the following admissions:

“I don’t know how you guys handle those domestic disputes.” says the firefighter.

“I don’t know how you go into burning buildings.” says the cop.

That is the essence of our mutual respect.

I was reminded of that after learning of the disastrous loss of 19 firefighters of the Yarnell, Arizona wildfire (TNT 7/1).

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