Blue Byline

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

Tag: Tacoma Police Department


Controlling one’s gun is not “Gun Control”

There is at least one commonality between the role of parent and that of gun owner – both require a heightened level of personal responsibility. Ensuring the safety of children is an instinctual trait for our species. Being a responsible gun owner just makes good sense. When both these roles are ignored, the results can be tragic.

As I began research for this column, the circumstances surrounding the February 22 accidental shooting of an 8-year-old girl in a Port Orchard elementary school were well-documented (Trib 3/13). On the heels of this tragedy came the

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Expensive study unnecessary to answer gang question

The long-anticipated answer has finally arrived, and now it is official: Tacoma has a gang problem.

It seems obvious at this point that the Tacoma City Council’s decision to spend $50,000 on a study to determine the extent of the gang problem was a bad idea. At best it was a well-intentioned exercise in redundancy. Let’s look at some of the results:

  • Gangs infest more than half the city
  • Gangsters sell drugs and use guns for violent crime
  • Youths are recruited into gangs in middle school

If the authors of the full 316-page report, Missouri-based Executive Interface, LLC,

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Police and fire cuts highlight city’s fiscal irresponsibility

If you are a vile Grinch (or perhaps Tim Eyman) then the Tacoma municipal budget may be giving you everything you want this Christmas, such as:

No more fire stations for Proctor and the Tide Flats. Don’t worry, everything there was either old or flammable anyway.

No more school resource officers. No problem – just hang a few “No bullying” signs.

No more fire boats. Heck, if the fire’s on the water then it’s not really a problem (let’s just overlook all the chemicals and HAZMAT at the port, though).

No more gang unit. Well, they’ll just have to behave

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The power of redemption

I have spent many nights on third watch, graveyard or whatever one’s term is for the time period when most hard-working, reasonable and sober people are sound asleep. The hours just before and after midnight are often harsh and violent. The alternate reality of night shift can also wear away on the softer natures of those who ply their trade in the dark: the nurses and docs who labor in the chaotic ER; the paramedics roused from sleep to perform CPR in the gutter; the cops who prowl the dimly lit streets.

When you spend enough time working the wrong side of

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Interim City Manager playing poker with city budget

If Tacoma’s Interim City Manager Rey Arellano thinks his latest budget proposal is a joke, I have news for him. It ain’t funny.

With $23 million in expected cuts coming in 2012, potential job losses come as no surprise. The number of jobs–165 jobs according to the latest Trib report–does put a hefty human toll, especially given the nation’s unemployment woes.

But those figures blur when the two job classifications taking the majority of the cuts come into focus: Police officers and firefighters.

In all fairness I know people in both agencies, and will indirectly

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Legalized marijuana is closer, but not there yet

To all the jokers, smokers and midnight tokers out there, it’s safe to come outside: Initiative 1 has passed.

With 64.7% of the votes, one might even say it smoked the competition (that pun might actually be more criminal than marijuana now).

In jubilant response, a recent Trib article suggested advocates new attitude could best be summarized as ”Ladies and gentlemen, start your bongs.”

Sherry Bockwinkel, one of the measure’s co-petitioner’s, was thus quoted, “Lowest enforcement means lowest enforcement. That means no arrests for marijuana possession under 40 grams, period.”

Not so fast.

True, this vote is a

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Remembering a night of violent potential

In the current spasm of civil unrest, where angry groups trade words and projectiles with ranks of police, I am reminded of a single moment in time.

Itn the mid-90’s I was a Tacoma Police Patrol Officer assigned to the One Sector. In addition to downtown and Northeast Tacoma, this area also included the Hilltop neighborhood, which was still in the grips of gang violence and narcotics crimes. Gunfire was common and the police response often included extra officers. It was also a time when many residents harbored a strong resentment towards my former department.

Though I can’t recall the specific

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