Ostling bill signed into law, requiring more police training

Governor Jay Inslee preparing to sign the Ostling Act into law April 24. Bainbridge Island Officer Trevor Ziemba, far left, and Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson, center, attended the signing. Ziemba testified in favor of the bill. (Photo by Legislative Support Services)
Governor Jay Inslee preparing to sign the Ostling Act into law April 24. Bainbridge Island Officer Trevor Ziemba, far left, and Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson, center, attended the signing. Ziemba testified in favor of the bill. (Photo by Legislative Support Services)

The Douglas M. Ostling Act, a measure that will require all Washington law enforcement to receive crisis intervention training, became law when Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill April 24.

Ostling, a mentally ill Bainbridge Island man, was shot and killed by Bainbridge Island police in 2010, and two years later a federal jury determined the city had not provided proper training for the officers, awarding the Ostling family $1.4 million.

The new law requires incoming police officers to receive eight hours of initial crisis intervention training starting in 2017, and two hours of additional training each year for all officers by 2021.

Since the shooting, Bainbridge Island’s newest police chief has been working to improve training and repair community ties.

Matt Hamner, hired in 2013, sent Officer Trevor Ziemba to Olympia to testify in favor of the Ostling bill. Ziemba is the department’s crisis intervention officer.

“We wanted to show our support of this bill,” Hamner said. “We want to do better, and we want to do the best we can for the community.”

Bainbridge Bakers ends its online fundraiser

Bainbridge-Bakers_GoFundMe

Bainbridge Bakers has canceled the GoFundMe campaign started by one of its employees, said owner Mike Loudon on the company’s Facebook page Wednesday night.

He said that the business is “putting together a more structured loan option.”

Labor and Industries confirmed it’s investigating five wage complaints lodged against Bainbridge Bakers this year.

The GoFundMe campaign was started last week to help the 29-year-old business, asking for $100,000.

About $6,000 had been donated the day after the campaign launched.

Donors can expect a refund in 2-5 days, according to Loudon’s Facebook post.

The bakery closed around noon today, with a notice posted saying it would remain closed through Sunday for restructuring, said Ben Goldsmith, who started the GoFundMe campaign.

He said owner Mike Loudon sent an email to employees saying he would be having meetings during the temporary closure, and that “the goal for this time is to work out a strategy for the future of the bakery.”

Goldsmith, who has not worked for the past several days and is one of the bakery’s employees who has not received a paycheck in recent weeks, said “Getting the payroll settled I know is his first priority.”

Tim Kelly, editor of the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, contributed to this post.

Going all the way with green energy?

420524_5531137_ver1.0_640_480City Council will discuss buying 100 percent green energy for the city’s electricity at its next business meeting in two weeks.

Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program relies more on wind, bio-gas and solar-energy sources instead of coal.

About 13 percent of the city’s electricity is from green energy, costing about $3,000 a year. The city spends a total of $330,000 a year on electricity, and going to all green power would cost the city an additional $15,000 a year.

The council decided to buy 13 percent green power from PSE last year, matching the percent of residents that use green power.

Two other Washington cities buy 100 percent green energy, said Heather Mulligan, PSE market manager. Those cities are Lacey and Bellingham.

City invests in phase II of Ferncliff Village

The first phase of Ferncliff Village development. (Brad Camp/Special to the Kitsap Sun)
The first phase of Ferncliff Village development. (Brad Camp/Special to the Kitsap Sun)

City Council agreed Tuesday to provide $150,000 for phase II of the Ferncliff Village, an affordable housing development by Housing Resources Bainbridge on the island.

Phase II will include 16 two and three bedroom townhomes, a playground and trails. Each townhome will cost about $200,000, according to the development’s website.

Housing Resources Bainbridge started the first phase of the development in 2011 and sold all of the homes by the fall of 2013.

The city will contribute $75,000 a year for two years after Housing Resources Bainbridge has a construction loan agreement.

Payments from the city will be reimbursements, and Housing Resources Bainbridge must submit receipts.

Island fire department prepares to sell off land

Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Hank Teran. (Kitsap Sun file photo)
Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Hank Teran. (Kitsap Sun file photo)

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department plans to sell .83 acres of undeveloped land on the south end of the island.

Fire commissioners unanimously voted to surplus the land, which is assessed at $130,000, on April 9.

The department is not using the land that is surrounded by a neighborhood and is zoned residential, said Chief Hank Terran. It was donated to the department for a “nominal amount” in the 1960s.

Although the Bainbridge Island voters recently passed a fire bond to build two new fire stations, the undeveloped property isn’t in the right location for a station, Terran said.

Money from the property sale will go into the department’s capital fund.

Oversight committee next step in police relations

bainbridgepolicebadgeThe City Council is moving forward with discussions on forming a public safety committee with the support of the police chief and residents.

The public safety committee, which would be made of three council members, was suggested by council members to improve police oversight and communication between the department and community.

“We’ve made so many important strides,” said Kim Hendrickson, founder of the grassroots group known as Islanders for Collaborative Policing. “It’s a different department now, and there’s a real commitment at the top level of the police department to interact positively with the community.”

The committee’s specific role and responsibilities will be discussed at a following council meeting, said City Manager Doug Schulze.

When and how often the public would be given notice of the committee meetings also will be reviewed.

Islanders for Collaborative Policing started in 2011, when police and resident communication was “terrible,” Hendrickson said.

“Sadly, up until the shooting death of Doug Ostling, people just didn’t talk openly about the police department,” she said. “It wasn’t the culture on this island to have an open conversation about it.”

In 2010, Ostling was shot by Bainbridge Island police after calling 911. A judge later ruled the city didn’t provide officers proper training to interact with residents that have documented mental health issues, like Ostling, and Ostling’s family was awarded a $1 million settlement nearly two years after the shooting.

The police department faced other scrutiny under former Police Chief Jon Fehlman.

In 2011, the department hired a volunteer reserve officer — giving him a badge and the authority to carry a gun — who had a criminal history, including a misdemeanor assault charge and a weapons charge.

Fehlman was the Bainbridge Island police chief during each of these issues. He resigned in September 2012.

The current police chief — Matt Hamner — has been working to rebuild community relations since he was hired in 2013, he said, including designating a community resource officer earlier this year.

Hamner said he welcomes questions from the community and is working to provide a transparent department.

“I think it’s important that the community, with their elected representatives, are able to see the progress and good work the police department is doing,” Hamner said. “And this is a great venue to accomplish that.”

Under Hamner’s direction, the department has a new mission, new training and new ways to document complaints, among other changes.

Transparency is part of the department’s transformation, Hamner added.

While he and Hendrickson both said improvements have been made in the police department, they also agreed there is more work to be done.

Seeing an oversight committee is one more aspect Hendrickson wants to see.

“We’ve been waiting for this for years,” she said. “This is a huge step in the right direction, if it happens.”

Read an extended version about changes in the police department on the Kitsap Sun website.

Local author’s tour stops by the island

Barcott
Barcott

Bainbridge Island author and journalist Bruce Barcott will be on Bainbridge Island next Thursday signing and discussing his latest book on the ramifications of legalizing marijuana.

“Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America” talks about cultural, social and financial adjustments surrounding legal weed.

Barcott discusses his last minute change of heart to vote for legalizing marijuana in a CNN opinion piece, where he notes that marijuana possession can come with more prison time than some rape and other violent crime convictions in states like Louisiana.

weed-barcott“Legal weed hasn’t inspired an army of hooligans to tear up the state. It’s just kept 10,000 people with a little bud in their pockets from being branded as criminals,” he wrote. “Instead of losing their jobs, they keep them. Instead of draining tax dollars as prisoners, they contribute tax dollars as workers and consumers.”

Barcott’s other work includes “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw” and “The Measure of a Mountain.”

He will be at the TreeHouse Cafe in the Lynwood Center on Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Police blotter for April 3 edition

polie_blotter_logoBike wreck
A man saw a young teenage girl walking down Hyla Avenue with a bloody face, wearing a bike helmet March 18 about 7 p.m.
She told the man she had flipped over her bike’s handlebars while going down Beach Crest Drive nearby and was trying to walk home, according to the police report.
She appeared disoriented and “not fully aware of her surroundings.”
Police found the bike in the bushes along Beach Crest Drive, and the girl was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for “treatment of significant facial injuries and head trauma.”

Missing bench
A city maintenance worker reported property damage and a stolen bench at the Port Madison Trailhead on March 25.
There were axe cuts in one picnic table and two stumps in place of where an old wooden bench had been, the police report said.
The bench legs had been “hacked away” to remove it.
The damage is estimated to be $500.