Letters to the Editor

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POLICE: Recognition is appreciated

Letter by Sheila M. Batiste, Fircrest on Nov. 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm with 37 Comments »
November 21, 2011 2:40 pm

I cried as I read Sunday’s editorial (TNT, 11-20) regarding law enforcement. Thank you for publicly expressing that view. It means the world to me. If the saying is true about one letter writer really representing 100, 1,000 or sometimes 10,000 others, then this letter is coming from more than just myself.

Being married to a trooper for 27 years, I can tell you that the perception of law enforcement has changed so drastically over the years. Society, too, has changed and not all for the good.

Do I believe one editorial will change everything? No, I do not, but maybe it will redirect one mind to see another other view. Maybe it will soften one heart to feel for “the man.” I know it speaks volumes to those in law enforcement, their families and friends.

This week, I’ll give thanks for one more thing.

Leave a comment Comments → 37
  1. Hopefully its not John Batiste you are married to. He epitomizes everything that is wrong with law enforcement. He actively targets motorcyclists, violates our constitutional rights on a regular basis. He IS part of the problem with law enforcement today, and is a stain on all good officers and troopers.

  2. Westend253 says:

    TMell; with all due respect, having known Joihn Batiste for over twenty years, I think you need to know that he is a good man. He is a man of integrity, character, and morals.

    While he makes hard choices and leads good people, he looks out for the best interest for the citizens of Washington.

    I argue that good people do good things..John Batiste and the WSP emulate this.

    While some may not agree with the laws of society or what society thinks is our best interest, the laws are put into place. Police do not have the luxury of deciding what laws they do or do not like, they are sworn to enforce the law, despite their personal opinions, which is what I am sure you would want them to do.

    Simply put, John is a good man. We as a state are lucky to have him at the helm of the Washington State Patrol, which I am sure is not what you want to hear.

    Look at the statistics. Since he has become Chief, fatalities are down, despite the funding cuts and the cuts in personnel that the WSP have been faced with. They have been doing more with less for years and we enjoy safer roads as a result….

  3. I appreciate your opinion but John Batiste is an active participant in the illegal profiling of motorcyclists. A 90,000.00 award was awarded against WSP for the illegal profiling stop by Officer Piggott(963) a few years ago. The most recent illegal profiling stop by Piggott on August 13, 2011 was AFTER motorcycle rights groups successfully got RCW 43.101.0001(anti profiling bill) through our State Legislation and passed into law 4/13/2011. The State lawmakers recognized the rampant problem with law enforcement in this state. This law passed OVERWHELMINGLY! LOL, 2 years ago when I was testifying along with others; an active duty law enforcement officer (Klippert from Eastern WA I think) specifically said he doesn’t profile against motorcyclists, but he has seen it done.

    Look at the situation with Christopher Coy Clark in Puyallup a year ago. Wasted, crashed his car-nothing done at the end of the day. Completely covered up by his administration.

    You may think he is a good person; thats great. I think he IS a large part of the problem with the Washington State Patrol. And we are standing up for our rights men like him think they can strip. His helmet law has been ruled “unconstitutionally vague”. I have personally beat a helmet ticket that was a direct result of the out of control ego of Batiste. His internal memo to WSP troopers was to “help motorcyclists help themselves”. He believes his troopers have a right to stop someone strictly on the pretext of the troopers belief that the helmet being worn is illegal, based on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 418. This files completely in the face of my 4th amendment rights. I literally was pulled over on Highway 12 along Riffe Lake going 55 mph one direction by a trooper going 55 the other way. At 110 mph closing speed this officer felt my helmet was illegal!!! He looped around, pulled us over and cited us(of course we beat the tickets-as the law has already been ruled unconstitutionally vague.

    Youtube WSP & Black Thursday, watch the video and tell me John Batiste is a good man, a good person, or a good cop!

  4. Well you ask me….if motorcyclists are being targeted, maybe they can start nailing them for NOISE VIOLATION ENFORCEMENT!

    When some testosterone laden knucklehead out to somehow prove his masculinity by revving some pathetic Harley without proper mufflers to the point that it deafens anyone nearby, I hope they throw the book at them with every possible violation!

  5. alindasue says:

    Some people, including many women, drive motorcycles because they use less fuel and are an economical way to get around. Very few of them can be classified as “testosterone laden knucklehead”. Remember, some bikers are also police officers.

    Ms. Batiste,
    You stated that “…the perception of law enforcement has changed so drastically over the years.”

    My perception of law enforcement didn’t change until a few years ago when my disabled son was threatened by a police officer simply because he was approaching the officer to say “hi”. Fortunately, I was there and able to pull my son back to defuse the situation… but, until that point I had been instructing my son that if he ever got separated from us, he should seek out the person in uniform for help. After that scare, I have quit doing so out of fear for his safety.

    Whether it be dealing with an autistic young adult or a group of people shouting protest slogans, police officers have to learn not to treat the members of the general public as if they were “the enemy”. Until that happens, perceptions of law enforcement are going to continue to be negative.

  6. LarryFine says:

    I’m with you DCR. Some of those rattle traps are waaaay over the legal noise limit.

  7. harleyrider1 says:

    Wow – People just jump in and create their own personal exchanges. Maybe they should e-mail, text, or tweet each other instead.

    The topic – I agree with you TMell and thank your husband, whoever he is, for his late nights away from his family, the countless hours of traffic stops not knowing who was behind the wheel of the car he was walking up to, and for just doing his job day in and day out. Often it’s thankless. But most people, in their own way, are good people and are thankful for the police and all they do.

  8. Sheila, there is another letter in the TNT headlined POLICE: Uniform Doesn’t Make One Above Reproach, by Ken Kreps, that reads in part…

    “Wearing a police uniforms does not automatically make a person bad, but neither does it automatically make them above reproach. There are at least a few people on most police forces that have no business being there, and we see them in action in videos where they are kicking, stomping and beating defenseless demonstrators who are doing nothing more than trying to ward off the blows.”

    “The police at the University of California Davis pepper-sprayed a group of peaceful, sitting nonviolent demonstrators. Closer to home, an 84-year-old woman in Seattle received the same treatment.”

    “Needless violence by the police is no better than violence by ordinary citizens, and nonobjective and one-sided editorials that sweep police violence under the rug do nothing to help the situation.”

    There are bad cops. Their actions reflect badly on all cops. That’s what happens. When good cops see these bad cops doing the wrong things, they should not just stand by and let it happen. They should stop their fellow officers. If that happened just once on camera it might make a big difference in how all cops are viewed.

  9. “alindasue”…. I have no issue with motorcycles. I spent nearly 25 years riding myself until I decided that with the way people drive around here, it just wasn’t worth the risk anymore.

    My issue is with the silly little boys on HARLEYS…not ALL Harleys, just the unmuffled, “I need to show the world what a tough guy I am!”

    Harleys ridden most often these days by twerpy little corporate three piece suit robots, who think a LOUD Harley, and a set of leathers makes them a man! They are little more than attention grabbers! THEY are just about as pathetic as the rednecks in big pickups with blinding foglights and loud diesel mufflers with blue bull gonads swinging from the rear bumpers, but thats another story.

    If any of the rest of us made as much noise and disturbance as those clowns on Harleys, with our vehicles, we’d all be ticketed. I dont understand why they get a free pass to disturb the public.

  10. DCR-too loud of pipes(on motorcycles and cars) is also on the radar. As is heighth of handlebars(above your shoulders is illegal in our state I believe is the law).

    My concerns over Batiste and the negative direction he has drug the Washington State Patrol had to do with specific, illegal profiling stops, not exhaust. The Washington State Patrol was prohibited from using Biker 101 as a training manual by a Washington State Court. After that ruling, in 2002 a trooper acknowledged being trained with it! He didn’t even know about the injunction! Batiste is arrogant. When I was at Olympia a few years ago for an organized, planned motorcyle rights rally, they forced us to walk between WSP goons in their Smokey the Bear hats with drug dogs. The year before they illegally crawled through the bushes with a tape recorder noting the license plates of legally parked and assembled motorcycles attending a motorcycle rights rally at our State Capitol! If that doesn’t scare you as a citizen I don’t know what could. The next year the lawmakers couldn’t believe(had it on video so it couldn’t be refuted) that WSP would engage in profiling activities flagrantly AT THE STATE CAPITOL when people were assembled to protest this very activity.

  11. TMell…..Actually I find it kind of an amusing piece of imagery to picture the WSP crawling through the bushes with a tape recorder! Kind of gives me the image of Maxwell Smart, or maybe Elmer Fudd on a rabbit hunt! HAAAAAAA

    All the other issues aside, I just dont find it all that important to be protesting every aspect of life like so many do in this screwy State. I am just a guy who goes about my business, and tries to stay out of others. Which is why I have such a hard time with dopey unmuffled clowns infringing on the space of the rest of us. Glad the unmuffled are on the radar! ;)

  12. Elmer Fudd hunts wabbits, Dcr.

    Don’t expect much from someone that fights wearing a safe helmet while riding a motorcyle. Probably already fell a few times and landed head first.

    I’m betting that TMell would call a civil rights lawsuit “frivolous”

  13. scooter6139 says:

    I have great admiration for anyone who joins a profession to serve (and protect) their city/county/state. I have no respect for those who join to get the power of the badge. Lately I have seen more of the latter than the former.

    Police have radically changed in the last 10 years. They are no longer police that are there to protect and serve the public but have become more of a para-military goon squad whom feel threatened by anyone and everyone. Tactics have evolved to a point where it feels like we are living in a Soviet era police state. Don’t believe me? Compare the uniforms from 20 or so years ago to what police wear now. Compare the equipment. Compare the training. Then compare and contrast a video of an OWS crackdown and a crackdown on protesters from the Ukraine of the 1960’s.

  14. LOL RW, educate yourself regarding helmets before speaking with regard to them. They DO NOT increase safety. In fact, they increase neck injuries. Our state cited a study of motorcyclists at Harborview to push our helmet law back in 79 or 80. The study was a farce. It found that 62 percent of motorcyclists that came to Harborview exceeded their personal insurance and personal financial ability, resulting in a cost to the taxpayers. I don’t know if you have ever heard the saying “you can make statistics lie”. While the stat was factually correct, what they failed to include was that 63 percent of persons in cars/trucks/standard vehicles also exceeded their insurance and personal means. It was false assertions that led this nanny state to create a helmet law in the first place. When I ride with a bulky DOT approved helmet, it creates significant wind pull. On long rides, it strains the neck, requiring you to look down so the wind hits the top of the helmet, then effectively having to look “up” with your pupils so as to see the road. Some people actually enjoy the wind. That is why I ride. I choose to ride open faced and without a windshield. Nebraska just got rid of their helmet law. 16 states recognize the individual freedoms. Let those who ride decide. I take my helmet off when I hit State Line Road headed East. Idaho, Montana,Wyoming, North Dakota etc. all allow personal choice. I leave this state to head to Arizona just to rent a bike and ride free. Sedona, Prescott, Jerome-there are some beautiful places to get close to God without a helmet in your way. I don’t expect you to understand, nor do I expect you to be intelligent enough to see through the “helmet safety laws”. I can supply you statistics after statistics that show no discernible difference in safety, costs to the public, etc between helmeted riding and non-helmeted riding. In fact, if you want to play the “public cost” card, and believe that helmets increase safety(they actually increase neck and spinal injuries by the way), you could get behind the movement to repeal helmet laws as you would believe that more of these individuals would die versus being a public burden :).

  15. DCR-you may find it amusing that WSP flaunts their ability to violate individuals civil liberties and intimidate them AT the STATE CAPITOL during a protest of these very actions. That’s great. You remind me of the people who thought it was funny when the cops regularly abused black people. Some people find it funny, some have issues with cops thinking they are above the law.

  16. TMell – invoking “God” as a means of avoiding a helmet? God never spoke to me all those years I safely wore a helmet. We know that helmets don’t add to safety. That is why professionals wear them in competition.

    If you and your cohorts don’t mind, the rest of us citizens would like our State Patrol officers on the road, not in the courts for your pleasure. ;)

  17. How did I know “civil liberities” would be part of Tmell’s issue?

    Tell us, Tmell, how do you feel about the right to assemble peacefully in the United States, if the assembly is about something with which you disagree? Not as important as a helmet law, eh?

  18. “You remind me of the people who thought it was funny when the cops regularly abused black people.”

    Did I really read this on a blog about motorcyle helmets?

  19. RW-working to change the laws is the way to go. It is a civil liberties issue. WE are changing laws throughout the United States on many fronts. The reference to God is not about the helmet. It’s about what I take out of riding. It’s my simple escape from my responsibilities toward my children, society, my employees, my mortgage, etc. etc.

    I don’t have a specific problem with the OWS people IF they are protesting in a legal manner. Just as we protest with the legislation and within the confines of the laws(while pushing to change them). I also don’t have a problem at ALL with the cops protecting other peoples civil liberties and rights by removing individuals that would infringe on others rights to travel to and from their jobs, on public roadways, etc. I have actually been very impressed by the police’s restraint they have show with the “occupiers”. I am outspoken about abusive, bad cops(whether its Dougil, Keller, McDonough, etc) and VERY appreciative of the good cops that are there to protect and serve the public. Too many people believe if you speak out against bad cops(like Batiste) you are anti-cop. Just not true. You can be pro-good cop and anit-bad cop. I for one would like the public perception of law enforcement to change. But for this to happen, it will require the Police Officer Guilds, Police Chiefs and others to stop protecting the bad cops. When they can figure out that ridding their ranks of these wolves in sheepsdogs clothing, public perception will change.

  20. meant to put “is a good thing” after “clothing in last sentence. New forum, can’t figure out how to edit…..or if you can.

  21. TMell, and I have a problem with people that use hyperbole like “abusive cops” when the officers are enforcing laws on the books that they didn’t write. Sorry if I can’t find helmet law enforcement on the same level with Bull Connor. By the way, I didn’t bring up OWS. You did.

  22. TMell, can you cite where one of the officers you mentioned, were abusive? Certainly anyone that would sue, would have documentation of abuse.

  23. oh, and http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/helmets.htm

    That should take care of any misunderstandings.

  24. RW lll attach links tonight to this thread showing Dougils trial for perjury, Kellers restraining order granted against him by a man and woman he arrested and roughed up as well as him getting forced out of King County Sherriffs Dept for takin an informant down to the Green River and threatening to kill him. I’ll give you links to McDonoughs forced resignation last October 23rd. There is limited I do abailable publicly on Christopher Coy Clark, as it was covered up. However you can get over 400 pages of information on a CD as I did with a simple public records request. It will outline each of the specific WSP subordinates and superiors of Clark’s that failed to place him under arrest at the scene of his accident up at 104th and canyon in Puyallup. By letting his ex wife come and pick him up he was then able to claim he drank a few beers at her house after the accident, so they. Pulsing effectively charge him with DUI. But beware, within 2 days of making my public records request I was already being harassed professionally over why I was digging into it. It is WSP’s standard operating procedure to give the officer information of who is making public records requests. Eve
    if the officer has demonstrated psychotic, violent behavior repeatedly in the past. I’m on my phone so I can’t post the links yet but I will before the night is over. And I’ll post some specific links to the case where a judge has found Washington States new helmet law unconstitutionally vague.

  25. http://policecrimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7225

    Here’s just one on Dougil in Gig Harbor RW. I’ll post them independently as the trib doesn’t like multiple url’s in a post.

  26. One on Keller relating to what forced him out of King County. Will follow with one regarding the restraining order granted against him WHILE he is an on-duty officer in Bonney Lake


  27. http://www.blscourierherald.com/news/93328229.html

    Here’s one specific to his restraining order while an on-duty cop. And yes, he was still allowed to carry a weapon with an open restraining order against him. Will follow with more if you want.

  28. http://www.king5.com/home/State-Patrol-trooper-arrested-for-DUI-faces-alleged-coverup-attempt-89296022.html

    Here is one of the stories on Coy Christopher Clark. Yep, still on duty as a Washington State Patrol Officer under the umbrella of corruption ran by John Batiste

  29. http://usff.com/hldl/report/4thEditiona.html

    Here’s a few case laws showing the abuses by WSP even before Batiste took over and started his own illegal war against motorcyclists.

    Thanks for playing, you can google all this and more(if you care about Nichols & Montgomery for instance who were just convicted of perjury locally a month or two ago). There are tons of bad cops, but there truly are more good cops than bad. Its just a matter of getting rid of the scum out there so we the tax-paying public can start respecting and appreciating law enforcement again. Cops like Batiste are a stain on the good officers names and reputations.

  30. TMell…Are you serious? So, because I mind my own business, keep myself within established laws, and dont belittle those who enforce them, I remind you of people who “people who thought it funny when cops abused black people”?

    Son….You have some serious deep seated issues! :D I cant take you seriously now!

    As far as that hogwash about helmets not being necessary, or causing neck injuries? I kept for many years the Bell helmet I was wearing in 1976 when I came off during a high speed sweep of a tight curve in Europe. I kept it as a reminder, and to occasionally show people like you. It had a 6 inch long, rather deep crack in the area that would have been my skull just behind my right ear.

    As far as the old excuse (which thankfully I didnt see you use!) that helmets reduce the ability to hear traffic….I DID try riding ONE time without a helmet, and found the WIND NOISE rushing by my ears so deafening that THAT was the reason I couldn’t hear traffic!

    Which reminds me of the other noise excuse…..I dont know for certain, but I am going to assume that you are of the ilk that maintains the baloney that loud Harleys are a safe because it improves the ability of those in traffic to know you are next to them. That of course is hogwash! The AMA (not the medical association) made a statement about that very fact, but it wasn’t necessary, as they only stated the obvious. Making a bunch of stupid racket, and disturbing the public does NOT make Harley riders any safer..if that excuse were true, I imagine Gold Wing riders should be dropping like flies since no one can hear them! HAA! :)

  31. I have to side with DCR628 on the helmet issue. I ride, and I always wear a helmet. Not wearing a helmet while riding is just plain stupid. Ask Gary Busey if you don’t believe me. Even if there were no helmet law, I would still wear one!

    Loud Harleys are also stupid, and I really think the louder they are is a telling sign that the bike’s owner is really trying to compensate for a small something else. Loud pipes do not make you any more manly. They will eventually make you deaf, however.

    As far as cops profiling and attempting to bust bikers for illegal activities, I’m sure that probably happens from time to time. And, if because of that they catch drug trafficking gang members and throw their butts in jail for a while… well, that’s okay with me.

    Finally, are there bad cops? Yes, of course. Just as there are bad teachers, bad union leaders, bad politicians, etc… TMell, I do applaud your efforts to identify bad cops, and I hope that through your efforts the system catches up with the truly bad ones and relieves them of duty.

    Ride safe guys!

  32. Muck-totally appreciate your desire to ride with a helmet. If you feel it improves your safety, you should wear one. I ride with friends in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota etc. that choose to wear a helmet even though the laws in those states allow them the personal choice to wear one or not. I have very close friends in law enforcement and it sickens me what has happened to public perception. Between the WSP and Seattle PD, you can’t go a week without some out of control, narcissistic(sp?) cop committing a crime against citizens of this great nation. With great power comes great responsibility. It’s just time to re-establish that law enforcement are “our” the people’s employees. Their role is to protect and serve. Years ago, WSP’s motto was “Service with humility”. Made me smile when it was still the tagline on one of the public information officers email addresses when I was wading my way through the public records request on Clarks little debacle and coverup this last year.

    DCR-there are plenty of accidents where a helmet is going to save your life, as well as accidents where the helmet is going to take your life. Sounds like yours was a situation where you were fortunate to be wearing a helmet.

    Loud pipes(to a reasonable decibal level) certainly do alert drivers to your presence. However, I picked up on your close-mindedness, and wasn’t going to argue that point or any other. There are specific laws on the books, and if a bike exceeds the decibal levels allowed, fine ‘em. I don’t think your peace should be shattered by somebody who thinks straight pipes are cool anymore than I think my peace should be shattered by some WSP officer thinking he has the right to pull me over for no reason :).

  33. Oh well, “TMell”….If I am “closed minded” because I know when wrong is wrong, and I wont compromise my opinion or belief to accommodate wrong, then closed minded I will be.

    And loud, unmuffled Harleys are not any safer than all the rest of the refined, quiet, civil, REAL motorcycles on the road that are NOT silly image toys.

  34. …..and TMell…..I am going to go out on a limb, and ASSUME that you are of the Harley “outlaw” vein….and that is EXACTLY why you may be profiled. You guys do the look of bad boy, and you will be SEEN as bad boy! ;)

  35. You went out on a limb, and it broke off on ya :)…sorry, I’m a tax-paying, non-club affiliated business owner who enjoys riding, and is sick and tired of bad cops abusing citizens.

    Try reading my comment, I agreed with you that unbaffled straight pipes that exceed the decibal limits should be fined.

  36. Dale – the vast majority of Harley “bad boys” one sees on the highways these days are retired doctors and lawyers.

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