Monthly Archives: May 2014

UPDATED: Bainbridge police blotter, May 28

Policebanner11-09

***This report was updated at 7:30 p.m. May 28 for additional details and clarification.

The following items were taken from Bainbridge police reports by reporter Ethan Fowler. For more blotter, visit bainbridgeislander.com and click on Bainbridge blog link on the right side of the screen.

Crime log stats from May 18 to May 24: 3 thefts in the third degree, 3 warrant arrests by outside agency, 3 traffic accidents, 2 thefts in the second degree, 2 driving with license suspended/revoked, 1 dangerous weapon on school facilities, 1 residential burglary, 1 runaway, 1 miscellaneous, 1 driving under the influence/liquor or drugs, 1 identity theft, 1 suspicious persons/situations, 1 verbal dispute, 1 suspicious incident/investigation, 1 mailbox theft, 1 found property, 1 criminal trespass in the second degree and 1 recovered stolen property.

May 26

Suspicious incident/investigation: A man living in the 8000 block of Hidden Cove Road arrived at his home at 10:30 p.m. to find his front door open. Nothing looked disturbed in the house. On May 23 at 1:15 a.m., the owner heard someone trying to gain entry into his home. When the man turned on his back patio light, he saw two figures running. The man didn’t report the May 23 incident to police the night it occurred.

Miscellaneous: Police found an unoccupied car running at 2:03 p.m. in a parking lot on the 5000 block of New Sweden Road. An officer then turned off the car and removed the key. The owner of the car, a 64-year-old man, was called by police but a message couldn’t be left since the man’s voicemail was full. Police also drove to the man’s house to find him but no one was home. Police placed the key into a temporary evidence locker. The car was still parked in the same location at 10:20 p.m. and police called the man’s home again at that time but still didn’t receive a response.

 

May 25

Driving while intoxicated: A 42-year-old Bremerton man was stopped at 1:30 a.m. for driving 74 mph in a 50 mph zone on Highway 305 near Hidden Cove Road. An officer smelled alcohol on the man’s breath, but the man refused to take a Breathalyzer test. The man was later booked for driving under the influence and taken to Kitsap County Jail with a $5,000 bail.

 

May 24

Criminal trespass: A pair of juveniles were seen by a night custodian trying to gain access to the Bainbridge High School gym at 1 a.m. One of the boys was described as having a thin build and about 16 to 18 years old. The intent of the boys was unknown.

 

May 23

Recovered stolen property: Police received a call from the Washington State Patrol that a white three-door Honda Civic with a stolen license plate was in-bound from Seattle to arrive at the Bainbridge ferry terminal at 10:20 p.m. The front license plate didn’t match the back plate. The 29-year-old Seattle man driving the car told police that earlier this year he was a victim of a car prowl and that the plates may have been switched then. Police told the man that switching license plates was a common tactic used by thieves to make detection harder. The officer recommended the driver file a stolen license plate report. Police removed the stolen back plate from the vehicle and booked it into police property.

Warrant arrest by outside agency: A Port Orchard police officer called Bainbridge Island Police to confirm a warrant on a 32-year-old woman he had pulled over. The woman’s warrant was for driving without a license in the third degree.

 

May 19

Assault in the second degree: A woman living on the 200 block of High School Road was hit in the face by a man who had being staying at her place the previous 10 days and cooking meals. No one else observed the assault.

Birding on Bloedel: Forest lover returns to Northwest

“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published  here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for seven years. They live in Kingston. 

Mid-May brings the Black-Headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) back to the Pacific Northwest from its wintering grounds in southern Mexico and Central America.

The melodious song of this denizen of forested habitats throughout the western states resembles the song of the American Robin, but is usually longer and is often punctuated by a “chunk” note that is typical of the species. The song is virtually identical to that of its close cousin, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, that replaces the Black-Headed Grosbeak in eastern North America.

Black-Headed Grosbeaks are sexually dimorphic with adult males, as their name implies, having a black head as well as black upper back, wings and tail. The underparts and rump are a rich cinnamon brown and the wings have prominent white spots. Females and first-year males have brownish upperparts and yellowish-orange underparts, and a white stripe over the eye. Both sexes flash large yellow patches under their wings when they fly.

In most songbirds only the male sings, but grosbeaks are an exception.

Females regularly sing a song similar to that of males, but less complex. Both sexes also participate equally in breeding activities, and both male and female may actually sing from the nest while incubating the eggs. The nest is usually located in the outer branches of a deciduous tree or shrub.

The large conical beak of grosbeaks enables them to husk large seeds, and they are frequent consumers of quantities of sunflower seeds at backyard bird-feeders. About half of their diet is insects, however, particularly during the breeding season. They typically forage high in deciduous trees gleaning insects from the foliage.

One interesting feature of grosbeak foraging is that they have adapted to eating Monarch butterflies, which are toxic for most birds, in their enormous winter congregations in the mountains of Mexico. The result can be a orange carpet of Monarch sings under the trees where they congregate to spend the winter.

At Bloedel, listen for their melodious song as you walk along the forested paths, and search the upper branches for a glimpse of this strikingly-plumaged songster.

Bainbridge police warn Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord, Civic owners

Due to a recent uptick in crime, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner is urging owners of older Honda Accords and Civics, as well as owners of Subaru Legacy cars, to ensure that their vehicle is locked when they park it near or at the Bainbridge ferry terminal.

Models of the vehicles from 1995 to 2005 are being targeted the most.

Investigators believe the suspect or suspects drive to Bainbridge in a stolen car, park the vehicle on the island, walk on a Seattle ferry as a passenger and return later to Bainbridge to steal a different vehicle.

Police believe the thieves are able to steal the Honda and Subaru vehicles with little trouble because of their knowledge of the cars’ equipment.

Hamner said owners of these car models who park within proximity of the ferry need to be especially diligent in locking their cars and aware of their surroundings.

“Sometimes a few simple steps to secure your belongings can be enough to deter theft,” said Hamner, who has strong leads in the case.

According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the Seattle-Bainbridge route in 2013 transported 6.3 million people, including 3 million walk-on passengers – more than any other Washington State Ferry route.

Bainbridge police blotter, May 20

Policebanner11-09
The following items were taken from Bainbridge police reports by reporter Ethan Fowler. For more blotter, visit bainbridgeislander.com and click on Bainbridge blog link on the right side of the screen.

Crime log stats from May 11 to May 17: 3 traffic accidents, 3 false alarms, 3 identity thefts, 3 thefts in the second degree, 3 miscellaneous, 2 mailbox thefts, 2 burglaries in the second degree, 2 residential burglaries, 1 driving while license suspended/revoked in the third degree, 1 found property, 1 failure to secure load, 1 domestic verbal, 1 reckless driving including racing, 1 theft in the first degree, 1 driving without a license, 1 threats, 1 harassment, 1 malicious mischief in the third degree, 1 agency assist, 1 mental investigation, 1 possession of drug paraphernalia.

May 19

Burglary-residential: A woman living on the 9000 block of Sands Avenue returned to her home at 5:40 p.m. to an uninvited man cooking in her kitchen wearing some of her clothes. The suspect also rearranged the woman’s clothing and had stayed the whole weekend at the woman’s place.

Warrant arrest by outside agency: A 38-year-old Montlake man was stopped for driving with a license suspended for third degree with a $2,500 bail. Snohomish County Jail confirmed the warrant with Bainbridge Police Department.

May 18

Driving while license suspended in the third degree: A 28-year-old man living on the 5000 block of Rockaway Beach Drive was stopped for going well over the 35 mph speed limit. The officer also revealed that the man was driving on a suspended driver’s license after failing to pay a traffic citation out of Florida several years before.

May 17

A 37-year-old man reported that his debit card was used without his permission by someone in Puyallup, who was attempting to make a purchase of $1,700 and $700 at a national electronics store.

May 15

Theft in the first degree: A hotel located on the 900 block of Hildebrande Lane reported unwanted guests from Whidbey Island had accrued a $30,000 bill since they arrived March 24, 2012. The credit card the couple was using had been declined. The couple had made several promises they would pay the bill but had failed to do so. The couple was booked into Kitsap County Jail with a bail of $50,000.

Birding on Bloedel: Warbler heard more than seen

“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published  here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for seven years. They live in Kingston. 

The migratory species that spend their summers and nest at Boedel began to arrive in mid-April, with plenty of time to spare before the celebration of International Migratory Bird Day on May 10. One such species, a common summer resident in forested areas with extensive undergrowth at Bloedel, is the Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla).

It has made the long journey from Central America where it spends the winter. Wilson’s Warbler is more often heard than seen, its song a melodious “cheerycheery cheeeycheery chewchew,” the last notes slightly lower in pitch.

A glimpse of the singer is well worth the patience and work. The male has a bright yellow head and underside, gray wings and tail, and a greenish back — and a black cap on top of its head accentuating the bright yellow coloration. Females are a duller yellow and lack the black cap.

Wilson’s Warbler is named for the man who is often referred to as the “father of American ornithology.” Alexander Wilson was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1766, but immigrated to America after being imprisoned for writing poetry protesting the working conditions of garment workers in Scotland. Here he developed an interest in natural history and decided to produce his own paintings of American birds. His hand-painted engravings of 268 bird species were published in three volumes entitled “American Ornithology” between 1808 and 1814 (2014 is thus the bicentennial of its completion).

Wilson’s Warbler was one of 26 species new to science that appeared in the folios. Wilson’s work helped to inspire John James Audubon to produce his magnificent body of work.

Listen and look for Wilsons’ Warbler in dense forest undergrowth near the Bird Marsh and near the Christmas Pond.

O’Neill named interim Bainbridge High principal

Following Bainbridge High Principal Jake Haley accepting a principal position at Costa Mesa High School in California, Bainbridge Island School District named Mary Alice O’Neill as the school’s interim principal for the 2014-15 school year. She will start July 1.

O’Neill was the associate principal at BHS from 1999 to 2001 and Woodward Middle’s principal from 2001 to 2009. She currently works as a teacher on special assignment.

“I’m excited to fill this important role,” O’Neill said in a news release. “I believe we have one of the finest high schools in the state. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing students, the talented and caring staff, as well as the supportive parent community.”

O’Neill has worked as an educator for more than 30 years in Kitsap County, California and Kuwait. She holds a bachelor of arts and masters of education from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

“We’re thrilled to have Mary Alice rejoin the district in this critical role,” Superintendent Faith Chapel said. “She is a skilled and experienced principal and understands the needs of our district.”

Haley will work through the end of the school year before starting his new job in California July 1.

Last month, Amii Pratt was named the new associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School. The half-time administrative position – which was cut in 2011 – is being reinstated as a result of the district’s increased enrollment and changes in administrative roles and responsibilities. She’ll start her new job July 1.

“Amii has excelled in a number of instructional and leadership roles in the district, and she is highly regarded by those who have worked with her,” Chapel said.

Pratt brings 11 years of educational experience to this new position. She taught first and second grades at Wilkes and Ordway Elementary Schools and second grade at Ogden Elementary in Vancouver, Wash. She also served as a K-5 English Language Learner coordinator in Vancouver for two years.

Currently, Pratt is a K-5 English language arts teacher on special assignment and is a principal intern at Blakely Elementary. She has designed and led professional development sessions and co-facilitated the Teacher Evaluation Committee for the Bainbridge Island School District.

She graduated in 2001 from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in science and a year later earned a master’s degree in teaching from OSU. In 2008, she achieved her National Board Certification, a rigorous and advanced teaching credential. This year, she received her Initial Principal and Program Administrator Certificate from the University of Washington’s Danforth Educational Leadership Program.

Contributed photo Amii Pratt recently was named the new associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School.
Contributed photo
Amii Pratt recently was named the new associate principal at Sakai Intermediate School.

Birding on Bloedel: Stellar’s Jay standing sentinel

“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published  here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for seven years. They live in Kingston. 

Contributed photo / Kincade Fowler Steller's Jays are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of animal and vegetable food.
Contributed photo / Kincade Fowler
Steller’s Jays are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of animal and vegetable food.

The Danish-born Russian explorer Vitus Bering led two expeditions to Alaska and the Bering Sea in the early 1700s. The physician and natualist on his ill-fated second expedition (1740-1742) was Georg Wilhelm Steller.

When Bering’s ship, the St. Peter, visited Kayak Island in the Aleutisns in 1741, Steller discovered a striking jay new to science, but which he realized was clearly a close cousin of the Blue Jay of eastern North America. This relationship led Steller to deduce that Alaska was part of North America, not Asia.

Unfortunately the St. Peter encountered severe storms while attempting to return to its Russian home port, and was shipwrecked on what is now Bering Island, where the crew had to spend the long winter. Steller and about half the crew survived, but Vitus Bering did not, dying on Dec. 18, 1741. The jay and several other bird and mammal species were eventually named for their discoverer.

Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a denizen of the coniferous forests of western North America, but it has also adapted to life in urbanized environments. It, like its eastern cousin, is now a frequent visitor to backyard bird feeders. Its striking cobalt blue plumage over most of the body, except a charcoal gray hood, makes it a stand-out in any setting. Its strident alarm calls are often heard before the bird is seen, and it is quick to scold any perceived threat — hence, again like its eastern cousin, it is often referred to as the “sentinel of the forest.”

Jays and their relatives, the crows, are omnivorous, taking a wide variety of both animal and vegetable food. At backyard bird feeders it is particularly fond of sunflower seeds, a reflection of the fact that about three-quarters of its diet is vegetable.

Although most of the animal portion of its diet consists of insects, it also preys on the eggs and nestlings of other species of birds, which accounts for the fact that during the breeding season the “scolder” is frequently scolded by other birds. Listen for its raucous scolding as you walk along the forest paths in Bloedel — it may be scolding you.

Island benefits from Kitsap Great Give

Island nonprofit groups fared very well in the inaugural Kitsap Great Give on Tuesday, May 6.

The event, organized by the Kitsap Community Foundation, set a goal of raising $500,000 for nonprofit organizations and activities throughout Kitsap County through a 24-hour donation drive. Donations were accepted through its website, www.kitsapgreatgive.org, where a leaderboard kept a running tally of donations through the day.

The total donated in the Kitsap Great Give was $539,199.95. At least 22 island-specific organizations were helped, including several near the top of the countywide list in terms of donors and amounts raised. The Bainbridge Schools Foundation raised more than any other nonprofit, with $22,840.

The Bainbridge Schools Foundation, with 82 individual donors, led all island organizations in that category, followed by Maasai Women’s Education and Empowerment Program (41), Island Time Activities (52), Island Volunteer Caregivers (40) and Bainbridge Public Library (43).

The amount raised for Island Time Activities ($19,180) was also among the highest in the county. Others at the top in terms of donations were Bainbridge Island Museum of Art ($17,310), Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council ($7,325) and Bainbridge Performing Arts ($7,235).

For a full and updated list, visit www.kitsapgreatgive.org

Bainbridge police blotter, May 13

Policebanner11-09

The following items were taken from Bainbridge police reports by reporter Ethan Fowler. For more blotter, visit bainbridgeislander.com and click on Bainbridge blog link on the right side of the screen.

Crime log stats from May 4 to May 10: 7 traffic accidents, 5 suspicious incident/investigations, 3 theft from motor vehicles, 2 malicious mischiefs in the third degree, 2 miscellaneous, 2 false alarms, 1 driving under the influence-alcohol, 1 driving while license suspended/revoked, 1 assault in the second degree, 1 lost property, 1 warrant misdemeanor, 1 missing person, 1 failure to transfer title of motor vehicle, 1 mental investigation, 1 recovered stolen property, 1 forgery/counterfeit, 1 agency assist, 1 patrol check, 1 vehicle prowling and 1 littering.

May 12

Failure to secure load: A 21-year-old man, who lives on the 10000 block of Sunrise Place, was stopped after a half case of beer fell out of his car and broken glass was strewn over the roadway at High School Road and State Route 305 at 10 a.m. The driver had put the half case in the back of the vehicle, but he didn’t close the car’s hatchback all the way. Two citizens came up with brooms, dust pans and garbage pails to sweep up the glass from the road, which caused the officer to cancel a request to Public Works.

Found property: A 1974 canoe was found on April 25 and was dropped off at the city dock by the Suquamish Police Department. The canoe was placed into custody and will be stored.

May 11

Driving while license suspended, expired registration: A 70-year-old Olympia man was cited for an expired vehicle registration while his car was parked at a fast-food restaurant on High School Road. The vehicle had expired in August 2013 and had a July 2013 report of sale. The driver had a suspended license in the third degree for unpaid tickets as of November 2011. He also had an active warrant out of Kitsap County for driving with a license suspended/revoked in the third degree with a $500 bail. The man was given a June 17 court date.

May 10

Driving while license suspended/revoked in the third degree, speeding: A 30-year-old Lynnwood man was stopped after an officer witnessed him driving at a high rate of speed going southbound from West Port Madison Road on State Route 305. Radar clocked the man’s car at 70 mph. The man previously already had his driver’s license suspended in the third degree for unpaid tickets. He issued a June 10 court date.

May 9

Driving under the influence/liquor: A 55-year-old man living the 600 block of Park Avenue was arrested for driving under the influence/liquor at 10:30 p.m. Officers had responded to a call of a truck pulling in front of a vacant house. When officers arrived, they saw a vehicle in a ditch, just north of Wing Point Way. The driver later walked out of his home on the 600 block of Park Avenue and said he had seen a large dog in the intersection, which caused him to swerve into the ditch as he tried to avoid hitting it. Officers could smell alcohol on the man’s breath, which caused the man to admit to drinking two beers with friends earlier that night on the south end of the island. The man provided two valid breath samples that measured .215 and .208. He was transported to Kitsap County Jail and booked with a $5,000 bail.

May 7

Burglary-residential, trafficking in stolen property, possessing stolen goods: A 29-year-old woman living on the 10000 block of Falk Road and a 29-year-old Bremerton man were arrested for burglary and are believed to responsible for at least some of the increase in Bainbridge residential burglaries in the first five months of 2014. In one incident, the man sold jewelry that was stolen from a house the woman was hired to clean.

Citizens’ Police Academy 9: Harbormaster, marine patrol, K-9, graduation

This is the ninth and final entry in a column about reporter Ethan Fowler’s participation in the Bainbridge Island Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy.

Keeping the waters surrounding Bainbridge Island safe is something Bainbridge Harbormaster Tami Allen and Bainbridge police officer/marine patrol officer Ben Silas continually focus on.

Allen, who will reach her 15th anniversary as the island’s harbormaster in July, said the Bainbridge Harbor Management Plan was started in 1999. It covers safety and navigation, water quality, anchorage and mooring, public access, maritime commerce and derelict vessel prevention.

Allen said she keeps tabs on 53 miles of water, which include four deep water bays. She said there’s more than 550 buoys around the island and that all of them require permits. She noted it took five years to log all of the buoys.

She said she’s always looking for volunteers for the Summer Dock Host program, where people greet boaters as they step off their boats and answer questions for them. Allen said one day last summer featured visitors who spoke 14 different languages.

She said she gets a lot of help with her job from volunteer harbor stewards, residents who live along the shoreline and call her when they see anything worthy of her attention.

Silas, who started working the same day 15 years ago as his future wife Carla for the BIPD, pilots the department’s 35-foot, state-of-the-art police boat. He said the boat was funded through a $640,000 Homeland Security grant in 2008 and has the ability to load a SWAT team on a Washington State Ferry.

When he first joined the force, Silas said he had no interest in boats but he has since grown to “really love it.” He said his jurisdiction extends halfway between Bainbridge and the nearest piece of land, however he has law enforcement powers for the whole state since Silas said there’s fewer resources for the water.

He said he goes riding around the island at least once a month and more frequently during the busy boating season.

For the final week of the two-month Citizens’ Police Academy, the group of about a dozen people gathered for a potluck dinner at the Queen City Yacht Club. The celebratory evening was highlighted by Officer Dale Johnson demonstrating the skills of his retired K-9 partner Rusty, who delighted a lot of the children of the academy participants.

Rusty was able to successfully find hidden money that had drug scents on them. During his career, the chocolate lab mix was used in 214 searches with 547 finds of controlled substances and or drug paraphernalia. He also assisted in 181 arrests.

Bainbridge Police Chief Matthew Hamner said he hopes to have another K-9 officer in the near future.

I truly enjoyed participating in the Citizens’ Police Academy and learned a new appreciation for police officers and greater understanding of the challenges they face. I was particularly impressed by how much Bainbridge officers treated academy participants like they were family. I will also miss the amazing treats that Officer Carla Silas, who organized the academy and scheduled the speakers, created weekly for us.

I highly recommend everyone in the community to try to find time to participate in a future Citizens’ Police Academy, which are generally offered yearly in the spring.

Citizens’ Police Academy 8: Use of Force

This is the eighth of nine entries in a column about reporter Ethan Fowler’s participation in the Bainbridge Island Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy.

Everything that you’ve learned or watched on a TV police drama you need to “wipe away” from your memory, Officer Trevor Ziemba emphatically told the Citizens’ Police Academy participants at the start of a recent class.

“This is just my job,” said Ziemba, who has more than 20 years of police experience and is the Bainbridge Police Department’s field training officer. “This is just a uniform I put on. I do everything in my day you do. I’m not a robot. I’m just a dad. I live on the island and have two kids.”

Ziemba talked about the use of force with Officer Jeff Benkert, who has 12 years of experience. Ziemba said he has 450 hours in police use of force and defensive training that’s not involved in shooting. He’s learned control holds, impending tactics, using a baton, pepper spray, neck restraints and ground survival.

Unfortunately, during their careers Ziemba said he and Benkert have known 26 police officer friends that have been “murdered” in the line of duty with most of those deaths happening to Washington state officers.

“We must be vigilant, prepared and motivated not to get an emotional reaction when someone yells at us,” Ziemba said. “There’s nothing I can do to train to take me away from being a human. I’m very educated. I’m not a guy who was bullied in high school. Most of our (society’s) contacts with law enforcement are negative, (such as) speeding, death in the family or crimes.”

Ziemba said an officer’s use of force is lawful under six conditions, according to the Revised Code of Washington 9A.16.20.

“The necessary force law states you must do what’s ‘reasonable,’” said Ziemba, the BIPD’s crisis interventionist officer.

Benkert said police officers must be prepared at all times. He talked about watching people’s body language. For example, he demonstrated that someone who wants to fight likely will go into a “fighting stance,” where they drop one leg and a side of the body behind the other. They may also clench their fists and teeth.

“Every fight a cop is in is a gunfight,” Benkert said. “Seventy percent of officers shot in the field are shot by their own gun in the head. A fist fight can cost your life. Action is faster than reaction.”

Added Ziemba: “I have to see those precursors, so I can fight for you and fight for another day.”

The two police officers then put on a disturbing YouTube video that showed two police officers being “murdered” by a suspect who they had pulled over. They followed that video with another one where a different officer in a similar situation was pulling over a guy driving a truck on a freeway. The officer noticed that the driver had a gun when the suspect pulled off the highway and was ready when the guy stepped out of the vehicle with a gun and started firing.

“It’s not the movies,” Benkert said.

Benkert said police follow what’s called the OODA Loop, which was developed by U.S. Air Force Col. John Boyd. Officers are trained to first observe, then orient, decide and act.

“We constantly go through scenarios,” Ziemba said. “We teach our officers to act because no action is never good. I don’t care if I’m shot in the face or head, (I’m) not dead yet. I’m not going to give up on myself. When we shoot someone, we train that they may not fall.”

The following Saturday, Citizens’ Police Academy participants got to experience some of the use of force tactics they learned about. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this event, as well as a Saturday class visit to the county jail, dispatch center and coroner, but I heard both were quite good.

Citizens’ Police Academy 7: Kitsap Mental Health

This is the seventh of nine entries in a column about reporter Ethan Fowler’s participation in the Bainbridge Island Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy.

Breaking misconceptions and educating his audience about mental health issues were some of the things Kitsap Mental Health Services Crisis Response Team Supervisor Gary Clark achieved during his recent talk to participants in the Citizens’ Police Academy.

Clark, who has worked nine years with Kitsap Mental Health Services, said his department is responsible for detaining people diagnosed with mental health issues that pose a threat to public safety.

“We usually respond within 30 minutes of a call,” said Clark, who noted the state requires agencies respond within two hours. “We go to them generally, but we don’t go out at night or alone anymore. Most of our staff is women.”

Although it varies widely, Clark said that Kitsap Mental Health Services receive 150-175 phone calls on average monthly and have about 80 face-to-face meetings. Clark said mental health professionals typically see clients either in jail, hospitals or homes.

“Most of our attention is on what’s real and what’s the real cause,” Clark said. “Drugs or family incidents can provoke these kinds of illnesses and the more they take these drugs the slower they recover.”

Clark did note, however, to keep in mind that street drugs, trauma and urinary tract infections often can cause people to suddenly “masquerade” as if they have mental illness. Having “access to clear facts” is pivotal, he said, to preventing a misdiagnosis.

He said jails can verify whether some inmates are able to get medicine for their mental illness, “but it’s a very narrow definition because they’re not treatment centers.”

“There’s no pain relief and no sleep aids,” Clark said of prisons. “The focus is on safety, not on treatment.”

The criteria categories for mental health that Clark said he follows are:

  • Danger or likelihood of serious harm, either to self, others or property;
  • Mental disorder or severe impairment;
  • Least restrictive alternative.

He encourages people to call early and often when they have new facts in a case.

“Capturing a case by accumulating facts over time may be preferable to one-call leads to an immediate detention,” Clark stated in a handout he distributed about chronic mental illness and the law. “Multiple calls demonstrate (an) issue isn’t a single episode but is evolving.”