Citizens’ Police Academy 5: Parking enforcement, crime scene investigation

Contributed photo Bainbridge Island Parking Enforcement officer Ken Lundgren
Contributed photo
Bainbridge Island Parking Enforcement officer Ken Lundgren

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

After U-Park System took over the Bainbridge ferry terminal, parking tickets issued from the city have decreased from 3,829 in 2010 to 1,601 in 2013 — only 244 have been issued through February this year, Bainbridge Island Parking Enforcement Officer Ken Lundgren said at a recent Citizens’ Police Academy class.

Lundgren, who previously was a pastor, typically is the only officer on the BIPD that issues parking tickets, but other officers can as well. He often works weekdays, but also works occasionally on weekends. He writes five to eight tickets a day and walks about three to five miles a day during his shift.

“I try to educate people and foster good community relations,” Lundgren said. “I don’t have a quota for parking tickets, but I do have a goal. (I’m) on the lookout for opportunities to give a ticket.”

He did note that tickets or warnings are issued at the discretion of the officer.

Lundgren said that close to half of the tickets that are issued are to vehicles with one or more previous parking tickets. He said more tickets are issued on weekends and during the evening at Harbor Square.

Det. Aimee LaClaire followed Lundgren’s presentation as she talked about crime scene investigation. She said it was important to keep an open mind because “things are not always as they appear to be” and because she must “find the truth to bolster a case.” LaClaire said she tries to find trends and methods of operation. To do this, she relies DNA database, finger prints and ballistics.

“It’s all about teamwork, cooperation and communication,” LaClaire said. “You must document, document and document because a case may take five years to get to court.”

When a detective arrives on a crime investigation scene, LaClaire said officers use photography, videotaping and sketching. Police look for anything out of place, they dust for prints, interview witnesses and note weather conditions, among other things.

“Everything is considered as evidence,” said LaClaire, who previously worked 10 years in Boulder, Colo., before laterally transferring to the BIPD.

The class later was able to put some of what LaClaire talked about by watching a slide show from an actual Bainbridge death and discuss some of the mistakes made during the O.J. Simpson murder case in June 1994.

“What I like about being a detective is it’s like solving a puzzle,” LaClaire said.

LaClaire ended her talk by informing the group that people can fill out a form for police to check their home when they go on vacation.


About Ethan Fowler

Ethan Fowler has more than 20 years of journalism experience with 19 years of daily and weekly newspaper experience covering news, features and sports, as well as being an editor for 14 of those years. He has won several writing awards over the years in Washington state, Virginia, Texas and Georgia, including award-winning investigative journalism. Fowler was paid by the Review & Herald Publishing Association in 2009 to co-author a book, "Brushed Back: The Story of Trevor Bullock," with his wife. The book details the real life of a top minor league pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization and his Christian faith. "Brushed Back" has sold more than 2,000 copies since its release.