Blue Byline

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

Tag: Pierce County Sheriff’s Department


Eatonville tragedy another stat in a quiet epidemic

Cognitive dissonance: (noun) the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Thursday’s scathing news assaulted our senses: A man kills his wife and turns the gun on himself. In that short sentence are a thousand unspoken fragments. Two children, orphans. Family, friends, confusion, grief.

Sadly, this story could easily be supplanted in the headlines of any newspaper virtually anywhere. That it happened in Eatonville is just coincidental (TNT 5/15). It has shaken this small town, yet for all the disbelief and outrage, experience suggests this crime

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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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Steven Powell’s 15 minutes of infamy winding down

In the last year or more it seems that every time we reach the end of the Powell murder mystery, another chapter is written. The latest installment is the disturbing trial of Susan Powell’s uber-creepy father-in-law, Steven Powell.

Detectives investigating Susan Powell’s disappearance served a search warrant on Steven Powell’s home last August. The warrant affidavit would likely have requested a broad scope for the search, and in the case of homicide – okay, disappearance – search and seizure case law can and should allow greater latitude than lesser crimes. The stakes are higher and the evidence could be anywhere.


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Powell’s evil act “Smells to heaven”

I imagine myself walking through the charred, smoking remains of a home, sifting through the blackened bits of wood, fabric and broken glass. The lingering heat and haze causes me to squint, but I somehow keep myself from stumbling over the shapes of two small bodies which suddenly materialize out of the sooty, heat-warped air. As I kneel on the burnt floor, I am consciously aware of a part of myself that is usually still – an inner shield forged by the paternal instinct to protect the innocent. That part of me cracks open.

This is the legacy of Josh

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The double-edged sword of criminal justice

“…and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” The Lord’s Prayer

When I was a boy reciting this prayer I took this particular excerpt to simply mean I should steer clear of trouble. But what if, like Pierce County deputies Montgomery and McNicol, your job is to steer straight into trouble?

As the recent Trib article relates, a Pierce County jury returned a guilty verdict on Friday for the two deputies accused of perjuring themselves in March 2010. Fortunately, this shameful scene is a rare event. But when it happens it is painful to watch, especially for those of us in the same profession.

The criminal justice system in which we work is an imperfect format. Cops (myself included) often criticize the process for its loopholes, limitations and one-size fits all approach. In most instances, however, we are there to see the system work well (or at least well enough).

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