Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Archive for August, 2010

Why Didn’t the YMCA Scam Suspects Go to Jail?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Story commenter fletc3her brought up an interesting point Wednesday morning on a story about people accused of using the YMCA to scam people for money.

“The criminals wandered off while the police were investigating the crime?” fletc3her posited.

Police officers, as we know, have much discretion in the job they perform, and that includes the decision to arrest someone. And of course, they have to make an on-the-spot decision based on the information they have at the time.

In this case, they’d received a 911 call from a woman saying she’d given some change to people claiming to be fund-raising for the YMCA. They immediately found two suspects, one of which didn’t take long to admit they were conning people, according to Bremerton police reports. That suspect even handed over $18 they’d taken right then and there.

But other than the 911 caller, police hadn’t yet found any other victims.

“Normally, we don’t arrest just based on confessions,” according to Bremerton Police Lt. Pete Fisher. “We usually try to corroborate them first.”

Please note the word “normally.” Obviously, Fisher said, the severity of the alleged crime would influence whether a person is arrested or detained.

Officers were already planning to forward their findings to the county prosecutor in the case, Fisher said. So given the time and manpower constraints and the fact the suspects appeared to pose no further danger to the community, the officers and sergeant handling the situation chose to continue digging and then send on their findings to prosecutors.

Either way, Fisher points out, the suspects will go to jail if, in fact, they are found guilty of impersonation in a court of law.


Trooper Killed in Zillah Fire Trained in Bremerton

Monday, August 16th, 2010

This morning we were greeted with the news of a tragic fire that killed three Washington State Patrol employees in Zillah. And it so happens that Trooper Kristopher Sperry, one of those killed, did some of his training in Bremerton.

While all state patrol troopers go through the academy in Shelton, they do “field training” around the state.

Trooper Kristopher Sperry completed his assignment with an FTO in Bremerton prior to graduating from the academy and being assigned to District 3. Here’s his bio, provided by WSP:

“Trooper Kristopher Sperry, 30, was hired in 2008 and graduated with the 97th Trooper Basic Class in June 2010. His hometown was Eureka, MT. While in the Academy received the Top Fitness award as the most physically fit cadet in his class. Sperry was living with the Millers while his own home was being built.”

Along with Sperry, WSP Communications Officer Anne Miller-Hewitt and her husband, Trooper Gary Miller were killed as well.

“Ann and Gary were long-time employees, and were the best of the best,” State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in a press release. “We were just getting to know Kristopher, but he had excelled at the Academy and had a very promising future with our agency.”

I might add from the state’s press release this tragic note: “The State Patrol has never lost three employees in a simultaneous event, either on or off-duty.”

The investigation into the fire continues.


State Patrol: DUI, Speed Collisions Down in Kitsap County

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Here’s some good news about our local highways. Both DUI and speed-related collisions were down in the first half of 2010 as compared to 2009.

Troopers investigated 27 DUI crashes between January and June in 2010; last year, there was 38 during the same time period.

There were 92 speed-related crashes on state highways in the first half of 2010; that’s down from 112 in 2009.

Troopers also pointed out in a press release that while Kitsap County’s residents wear their seat belts 98 percent of the time, they still wrote up 1,414 tickets for that offense in the first half of 2010.

There have been 898 drivers stopped for aggressive driving on highways, troopers said. It is worth noting that the state patrol has three unmarked patrol cars that troopers drive looking exclusively to build criminal cases against aggressive drivers. The team of three is known as the Aggressive Driving and Apprehension Team.

Three people have been killed on state highways in the first half of this year; two were killed in the same period, troopers said.

And as for the second half of the year, the state patrol is hopeful that Marsha Masters, who filled the Kitsap County Target Zero manager position, will help coordination of emphasis patrols between the county’s law enforcement agencies. There are ones planned for the upcoming Kitsap County Fair.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention cell phone tickets. Troopers wrote in June 155 tickets to drivers for cell phone violations; 10 were written for driving while texting.


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