Blue Byline

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

Tag: Tacoma Police Department

Jan.
10th

Cops could use a little help with public relations

Police work can be an exciting and rewarding career field, but it definitely has its drawbacks. One of the most frustrating aspects is the negative response cops receive from simply doing their job.

I refer you to a recent incident that occurred at the transit center in downtown Tacoma on Monday involving an off-duty officer and a combative subject (TNT 1/8).

The details that led to the altercation are exceptional only in the fact that they are so mundane – the subject, a 34-year-old man, was detained on a misdemeanor charge of smoking a cigarette

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Oct.
25th

Ridiculous police lawsuits are a costly joke

Picture this: You’re driving through town when you see police lights in your rearview mirror. You ignore the cop and driver home, where you find your street blocked by police cars and at least one officer on foot. Instead of stopping, you attempt to drive through them, striking an officer with your car. In return, police open fire and you are struck, putting an end to your night.

Variations on this scenario are common, but this example was borrowed from a TNT story (10/21) involving a 34-year-old Tacoma man who was shot after allegedly driving his vehicle

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April
28th

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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Oct.
17th

Police standoffs are disruptive – alternative is much worse

I was a cold, wet, hungry and tired rookie cop the night of my first standoff. I got the initial call, a domestic dispute, at 2AM, which was immediately upgraded when someone cranked off a few rounds. I flipped on the lights and sirens, floored the gas and was there in a couple of minutes.

I was the first on scene and, rather than knock on the door, I stopped and took cover. That’s when the mistakes started. First, I pulled directly in front of the house. Way too close, I realized and ran to the rear of my car and

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Sep.
3rd

Recent killings have an invisible link: domestic violence

“Some men you just can’t reach.” An excerpt from “Cool Hand Luke”

In past columns I have made the case that some criminals could have been steered away from crime had the mental health system not been dismantled. For all the money we spend incarcerating the mentally ill, not to mention drug addicts, there is certainly an argument that money could be better spent on preventive and long term care for these unfortunate souls.

But when the crime involves domestic violence, I make no such case. I have no pity for criminals who prey on their own family, who physically assault

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Aug.
6th

A little good news from the beat

Sometimes scanning the news can be a real drag. Trauma, death and scandal seem to be the only competitors for the front page, leaving us to continually wonder why the big news is usually bad news.

It is a disturbing question that may say less about the media and more about us, the media consumers.

That fact is especially true if your daily bread is criminal justice. Incidents involving the police or the actions of specific officers are the type of news stories that usually land a spot on the front page and fester there for days.

So when three

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July
11th

Hilltop neighborhood protective of their progress

Tacoma City Council members got a rare demonstration of neighborhood activism last Tuesday: 20 people showed up to protest a single item that wasn’t even on the agenda. Those people, all residents of the Hilltop neighborhood, were there to speak out against the rumored addition of a sex offender halfway house in their neighborhood. Whether or not the possibility existed (the answer is probably not), their presence was at least a reminder that a united neighborhood, aka a community, is a power to be reckoned with.

For proof you need look no farther than the Hilltop today. Vital businesses have

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April
11th

Councilwoman provides legitimate reason for gang study – federal money

When Tacoma City Councilwoman Victoria Woodards penned her recent letter to The Trib, it was probably with a release of some pent-up frustration. The letter was a response to the multitude, myself included, who criticized the council’s decision to spend $50,000 studying the city’s gang problem.

Since the city released the results of their consultant’s research in early March, the City Council has been roasted for its alleged waste of scarce funds on such an obvious issue, none as much as Woodards. There was, I believe, good reason for

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