Kitsap Crime and Justice

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

Mason County Has its First Domestic Violence Shelter

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

A domestic violence shelter is coming to Mason County for the first time, according to the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

The center, opening in an undisclosed location to protect the victims, will house adults, children and small pets. It can take up to 60 people at any given time.


Cops on Segways Coming to Bremerton

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Running from the police? Well, if you’re in Bremerton, they’ll now be able to chase you by car, on foot and … on a Segway.

Westsound Bank is donating the facncy wheels to the department, who bought it in 2007 for company functions but no longer has a need for it, according to a press release.

And, to be fair, its use in apprehension of an eluding suspect is probably unlikely. But Bremerton Police Capt. Tom Wolfe sees a few areas of policing that it can aid.

“We had just completed a training and evaluation period with a Segway and found out that it had worked well in both an enforcement capacity and in increasing the amount of positive police community interaction,” Wolfe said in a statement. “Prior to Westsound Bank’s donation we were struggling with a way to provide this tool to our community and our officers,” Wolfe continued.

So, if you live in Bremerton, don’t be surprised if you see a Segway equipped with lights and sirens running around.

Threats to a Ferry — What’s the Penalty?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

State — and perhaps federal — authorities will be investigating who called 911 anonymously to report a threat to bomb a Washington State ferry today.

That doesn’t mean the person would be facing any criminal charges. In fact, State Trooper Krista Hedstrom notes, authorities are glad the call was made in the name of safety.

“We definitely would like to talk to that person,” she said of the 911 caller.


Fear and Excitement as Google’s ‘Street View’ Hits Bremerton

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Poulsbo veteran cop Nick Hoke called me this past week with news of yet another fascinating project from the techie wizards at Google.

Hoke hopes this project will give him a chance to don a Sasquatch suit, but we’ll get to that later.

A Google Street View car (PHOTO BY GOOGLE)

The Google development is a takeoff of the company’s wildly popular maps and is called “Street View.” It crept onto the shores of the Kitsap Peninsula Nov. 4 to little fanfare.

Many of us have zoomed in on our searches on Google’s satellite maps as close as we possibly can. But at some point, there’s just no getting down on the ground to look around — without actually being there.

Until now.


Do You Have Any Counterfeit Cash?

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Image by

As you may have seen in Sunday’s edition, there’s quite the load of counterfeit cash roaming around Kitsap.

$20s, $50s, and $100s have been reported to police lately. In one case, it appears suspects were able to keep the paper of a $5 bill but print a $100 bill over it.

But can you spot a fake if it was in your purse or wallet? Here’s some tips on how you can.


Prescription Drug Overdoses Countinue to Catapult

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

The continued rise in the use of prescription opiate drugs such as Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin is leading to more overdoses.

Unintentional deaths from prescription opiates in Washington rose from 24 in 1996 to 475 a decade later, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In our special report, “A Bitter Pill,” in April, we reported the huge surge in drug addiction to opiate medications. Overdose deaths, then, too, had already started to climb.

Mind you, these drugs are so effective at dealing with pain. I don’t want to downplay that aspect. Problem is when they land in the wrong hands — and are used purely for the pleasure of getting a Heroin-like high. (more…)

Enter Medical Marijuana into the Checkpoint Debate

Friday, November 14th, 2008

The confluence of local and federal legalities surrounding border patrol-run checkpoints on the Olympic Peninsula now has another layer of intrigue.

Enter medical marijuana.


Club Officer: ‘Uncertain Times for Gun Owners’

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Around the country, a flurry of stories is being written by the media talking of “Fears” of a “Democrat Crackdown” that is leading to a “Gun Sales Boom,” according to one article by the Associated Press.

Here’s the data the AP relied upon:

“Last month, as an Obama win looked increasingly inevitable, there were more than 108,000 more background checks for gun purchases than in October 2007, a 15 percent increase. And the

y were up about 8 percent for the year as of Oct. 26, according to the FBI.”

We have, of course, devoted a special report to the rise this year in concealed pistol licenses (up 43 percent) in the state, and some local gun owners do attribute a rise with the political upshot of the Democrats, whose last president, Bill Clinton, signed a gun ban into law.

There’s a highly critical article of the media’s reporting on this topic in Slate, however. But we’ll get to that later. First, I wanted to find out locally if there’s any trends developing, so I emailed Marcus Carter, executive officer at the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club. Here’s what he said about the possible uptick:


Squirrel Fines (and the People that Impose them)

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Andy Binion’s squirrel story is certainly the talk of our web site this morning, as the “cute yet verminous” critters (according to one source) are taking Bremerton, and the county, by storm.

Photo by Lenna Himmelstein

After reading the story, county resident Robert Leurquin called me this morning with a question about fining folks who feed the not too fastidious creatures.

Under whose authority can Kitsap County Animal Control dole out fines for squirrel feeding offenders?

For the answer, I called upon Rance McEntyre, head of Kitsap County Animal Control (and quoted in Andy’s story). Here’s the scoop:


Pros, Cons of Roadside Memorials Studied

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Do roadside memorials for those killed in car crashes remind motorists to drive more safely or cause more accidents because they are distracting?

This is a question I’ve long pondered and an issue to which our newspaper has devoted a special report.

It’s also a topic of a study conducted by the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary in Canada. The bottom line: the authors found the memorials appear to “have significant short-term safety benefits,” and at very least, “There does not appear to be any downside in allowing roadside memorials.”


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