Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Archive for April, 2008

Deputy Given National Medal of Valor

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Justin Childs, a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy, has received the National Sheriff’s Association Medal of Valor, an award bestowed upon just six other sheriff’s association officers nationwide.

The honor was presented Monday night in a Kitsap County Commissioners’ meeting.

According to Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy Scott Wilson, the medal is given “for an act of outstanding personal bravery, intelligently performed, in the line of duty at imminent personal hazard of life.”

Here’s the sheriff’s own words of Childs’ actions, from the June 2006 ceremony in which he received the local sheriff’s office’s medal of valor.

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Opiates: ‘Doctors Treating Patients Like Criminals’

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I have received — but always welcome more — feedback about our Sunday project regarding the abuse of opiate-based prescription drugs.

Some public criticism came from Shari Wood-Flatley, a Bremerton woman who wrote this letter to the editor.

In part, she states:

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Crime: Hate High Gas Prices? So Do Gas Station Owners

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Even before there was the puncturing of some Poulsbo area fuel tanks and the theft of 80 gallons from a Bremerton construction site, gas stations have been dealing with “drive-offs,” which increase as prices go up.

Economically (but unfortunately), that makes sense — the more something is worth, the more thieves will try to steal it. (Oil, which hit record $120 per barrel highs earlier this week, is hovering around $115 as I write this.)

But here are three reasons that high prices make a bad situation worse for gas station owners, whose typically razor-thin margins are whithered further by those who go without paying. Here they are, according to nacsonline.com.

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More on Opiates: Are Disabled Particularly Vulnerable?

Monday, April 28th, 2008

The steep rise of prescription opiate drugs in the U.S. may be affecting the disabled at greater levels than the general population.

An interesting paper for the state’s Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, by doctors
Daniel J. Nordlund and David Mancuso and Barbara Felver found that “a significant number of aged, blind, or disabled clients receive large volumes of opiates from multiple prescribing providers.”

For the Kitsap Sun’s special project on prescription opiates, click here.

Below are some highlights of what they found:

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Portraits of Prescription Opiate Abuse

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Some very brave souls agreed to be interviewed in Sunday’s story about the rise of prescription opiate drugs. Some of their accounts are in the story, while others, due to space constraints, were not.

In short, a lot of people shaped this project. But I wanted to share with you the stories of four others who provided powerful tales of how they struggled with opiate addiction. Their stories are often similar: a simple swallowing of a pill, but the way the drugs pushed their lives into disarray — and their subsequent recoveries — is too important not to share.

Below, you’ll find stories of a man who resorted to pharmacy robbery, a woman who went to Mexico in search of prescription opiates, a man who crashed his car into a tree at 40 mph while high on “oxy” and drunk, and a woman who used her job at a dentist’s office to support a 20-pill a day vicodin habit.

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Opiates Rising

Friday, April 25th, 2008

This Sunday’s special project deals with a staggering rise in the amount of prescription opiate drugs — OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, for instance — that are now being abused in Kitsap County, the state of Washington and the nation.

Advances in these opiate drugs are helping to treat those with chronic or intense pain more effectively than ever before. But because they’re addictive and provide a kind of high, a black market has been created like any other illicit substance.

As I dug deeper into this story, here are some facts that surfaced:

  • Vicodin, from the hydrocodone family of opiates, was the most prescribed drug in America in 2006, with nearly 110 million prescriptions, according to a U.S. Department of Justice study.
  • An estimated 48 million people, ages 12 and older, have used prescription drugs for “non-medical” reasons in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That’s about 20 percent of the total U.S. population.
  • Local law enforcement agencies say that OxyContin, or “oxy,” is being bought and sold on the street for $1 a milligram — and often, abusers are seeking “eighties,” or 80-milligram tablets.

I’ll save the rest for Sunday.


Second-in-Command From Chief’s Former Department

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Looks like the Poulsbo Police Department‘s newly created post of deputy chief will go to Shawn Delaney, a police lieutenant from Visalia, California.

Sound familiar? He comes from the same department as Dennis Swiney, the Poulsbo department’s new chief.

According to a memo sent out to police department staff that Swiney shared with me, 17 candidates applied for the new position, which included current Poulsbo cops and out-of-area ones.

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Is North Kitsap’s Meth Supply Waning?

Friday, April 18th, 2008

You may recall the arrest of a 44-year-old North Kitsap man the other day, in which drug detectives used an operative to tell him pseudoephedrine pills to out his alleged meth cooking operation.

metharrest.jpg

In the statement for his arrest, West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team detectives note that they’d been told by their operative that “methamphetamine was difficult for (the 44-year-old) to get due to some recent arrests of local meth dealers.” They added that “he was planning to just manufacture some of his own.”

It’s no secret that the black market for drugs runs wide and deep. But could the above statement be true?

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One Last ‘Technicality’ on the Sentencing of Former Pastor

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Harper.jpg

It’s been more than a week since Robbin Leeroy Harper, 61, former pastor of the Church in South Colby, was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for sexual abuse of more than 10 girls and women.

There’s one thing that I didn’t get to explain in the print edition that is noteworthy: Harper could have received a de facto life sentence. But now, if he lives to the ripe old age of about 87, he’ll be a free man.

And just how could he have received more time?

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Court of Appeals Coming for Law Day

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

UPDATE: As an event unique to the celebration of law day in Kitsap County May 2, the division II court of appeals will hear cases at the Kitsap County Courthouse. (Note: Court of Appeals Judge Robin Hunt emailed to say the cases will actually be heard in the Kitsap County Commissioners’ chambers across the street in the Kitsap County Administration Building. Sorry for the mistake.)

The court, which hears appeals of superior court cases from around the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, typically stays in Tacoma.

Below you’ll find summaries of each of the cases the appeals court will hear on law day in Port Orchard.

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