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Category: Public Safety


Measure to strengthen protections for victims of stranger stalking passes Senate

Lawmakers unanimously passed a measure in the Senate today that supporters say will better protect victims of stranger stalking.

House Bill 1383, sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, passed 47-0.  It would create a stalking protection order, which advocates say would be taken more seriously by law enforcement and the court system than anti-harassment orders, which can be obtained to settle many types of disputes.

Domestic violence protection orders are available for victims who have a family or dating relationship with their stalker, but for victims who don’t really know their harassers, the stalking protection order would provide a new

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Legislature to consider allowing digital billboards along Washington highways; hearings next week

Legislation that would allow digital billboards along state highways is bubbling up again in Olympia.

Both the House and Senate are considering changes to state law. Each body’s transportation committee has scheduled a hearing on the measures for Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Electronic signs aren’t allowed along state highways. The legislation maintains existing limits on signs, including keeping them in industrial and commercial areas. Digital signs also couldn’t have flashing or moving lights – the message would have to be static.

Clear Channel Outdoor put up its newest digital billboard last week in Tukwila, on city owned property near the

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Inslee says he’ll announce pick for WSP chief in coming days

Gov.-elect Jay Inslee said this morning he will have an announcement on the Washington State Patrol chief in the next few days.

Inslee’s remarks at The Associated Press legislative forum came as the patrol’s troopers union went public last week with their effort to replace John Batiste, who has led the State Patrol during outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s entire eight-year tenure.

The union has informed Batiste several weeks ago that the union would not support his staying in the job after Inslee took office. It criticized Batiste for being out of touch and not listening to the concerns of

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Pierce County Council task force closes meeting with sheriff on budget, overtime

The timing was coincidental, having a special work group of the Pierce County Council meet with county Sheriff Paul Pastor one day after The News Tribune article on skyrocketing overtime in the jail.

That was the topic of the meeting in council chamber Monday. But it had been scheduled well ahead of the latest reports on overtime costs.

Still, the Sunday article brought attention to the issues involved – more mentally ill inmates at the jail requiring increased supervision that is covered through growing overtime hours. There also is concern that money set aside to hire more street

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Tacoma: Fire Department wins $7.7 million grant, saving 37 firefighter jobs and closing part of budget gap

Tacoma’s fire department has won a $7.7 million federal grant that will save 37 firefighter jobs and solve a big part of an increasingly urgent city budget shortfall, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office announced Thursday.

“This is a very competitive grant process, so the significant amount of this award really shows the need,” said Scott Whiteaker, a spokesman for Cantwell. “The loss of these 37 firefighters would have equated to losing at least three of the city’s fire engine companies.”

Acceptance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant award also ensures no firefighter in Tacoma can be laid off for

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Tacoma land use administrator approves application to renovate fire boat station on Ruston Way, add garage for fire truck

The application for a shoreline development permit was made by city officials who want to restore the old fire station on Ruston Way and turn it into a police and fire marine safety center. The issue before land use administrator Jana Magoon was whether the project fit in a shoreline area, based on state law and the city’s own development rules.

In her decision, Magoon said that it did fit and approved the shoreline permit but set some conditions that must be met before construction permits can be issued. The most significant is that Tacoma must negotiate a lease for

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Schaub running against Pierce County sheriff

Steilacoom Public Safety Director Ron Schaub has filed to run against Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

Schaub is running against one of his bosses. That’s because Steilacoom contracts with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department to employ Schaub to oversee police and fire operations for the town’s 6,000 residents.

Schaub became Steilacoom’s public safety director in 2010. He has been a member of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for nearly 18 years and is currently a sergeant.

Pastor was appointed Pierce County sheriff in 2001. He was elected sheriff in 2008, two years after voters decided they wanted to return to

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Family of murdered Tacoma teacher testifies for anti-stalking bill

A measure aimed at better protecting stalking victims who have no relationship with their stalker got a public hearing today.

It’s designed to prevent cases like that of Jennifer Paulson, a 30-year-old teacher who was shot and killed by her stalker outside Tacoma’s Birney Elementary School in 2010.

Her family told lawmakers that the proposal would have prevented her death.

Attorney General Rob McKenna requested the measure, which would create a new stalking protection order for victims who don’t meet requirements for other types of protection – such as that the perpetrator must be a member of the victim’s family or household.

That was the

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