Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

Dec.
12th

Police perjury taints criminal justice system

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

A slap on the wrist. With a feather.

That’s what two Pierce County sheriff’s deputies got Friday from the very criminal justice system they betrayed by testifying falsely under oath last year at a pretrial hearing last year.

Convicted of first-degree perjury in September, 48-year-old Rex McNicol and 36-year-old Jeff Montgomery will have to serve three weekends in jail – they can skip Christmas weekend – plus 79 days in home detention and 40 hours of community service.

Granted, McNicol and Montgomery were first-time offenders, and Superior Court Judge John Hickman’s lenient penalty was within the state’s sentencing guidelines.

But their prosecutor, assistant state attorney general Melanie Tratnik, pointed out that they were not common criminals, and their falsehoods were not common crimes. The sworn lies of police officers send ripples of damage through the legal system.

Most criminal cases stand or fall on the credibility of the police. Officers make judgments on probable cause, request search warrants, arrest suspects, gather evidence, write official reports and testify in court. The entire process assumes that the police are honest.
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May
22nd

A deputy’s disintegration; a family’s agony

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Allen Myron is the portrait of a man in free fall. That his descent ended violently this month when he killed his in-laws and himself is ultimately no one’s fault but his own.

Accounts from friends, family and colleagues paint starkly different pictures of the Pierce County sheriff’s deputy.

He was personable and upstanding, the kind of citizen who did missionary work in Nicaragua and entered law enforcement in midlife to make a difference. The kind of neighbor to bring you home-baked bread on Christmas and watch out for your kids as well as his own. The kind of friend who made a point to ask after an ill spouse.
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May
18th

Keep the public in the loop on deputy’s murder-suicide

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

It’s been more than four days since a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot two innocent people, then himself. The public still knows next to nothing about the killings.

We know that 49-year-old Deputy Allen Myron killed his wife’s parents, Monty and Susan Multanen, on Friday evening at his home near Gig Harbor.

The Tacoma Police Department – which is handling the investigation – revealed Monday that Myron had quarreled with his father-in-law before the murder-suicide. But that could safely have been surmised from the fact that the deputy shot Multanen.

Beyond those bare facts, what?

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May
15th

The Brame comparisons can wait

Tragic. Horrific. Deja Vu.

These would all be apt descriptors for Friday’s double-homicide in Gig Harbor. The events are too closely linked to the Brame tragedy–the homicidal violence, the location and the perpetrator’s occupation–to deny the obvious comparison.

But it’s too soon for that conversation.

First, let the community pour its collective energy into the victims, whose family framework has been torn asunder.

Let the strong among us reach out to to them, these people who may be our neighbors, our friends or simply people whose faces we recall from the myriad places we gather. Let us clutch this family

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Dec.
29th

Deputy is domestic violence’s collateral damage

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

It was the kind of call that law enforcement officers dread, but it is sadly all too common: a domestic.

One family member is hurting or threatening another, and someone calls 911. Emotions are running high, and alcohol or drugs may be involved. One or more of the parties may be armed.

Every call is a step into the unknown for those who respond.

Four days before Christmas, Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Kent Mundell and Sgt. Nick Hausner experienced every law enforcement officer’s nightmare: a domestic call turned very, very bad. They were trying to escort a “drunk and belligerent” man with a history of domestic violence from a family member’s home when he pulled out a gun and began shooting.
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