Monthly Archives: May 2009

UPDATE: Here are Your 2008 Crime Stats


The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Monday released its yearly report about crime in Washington. Today, I’ll be analyzing our local numbers here in Kitsap and talking with chiefs in the area to find out where we are at.

You may also want to check out our own crime map to look at incidents in your neck of the woods.

I’ll be on Twitter Wednesday publishing the highlights from Kitsap’s four cities and Kitsap and Mason counties. I’ll post the tweets below:

  • Port Orchard’s violent crime fell in ’08 by 38%, from the 2nd most violent per capita city to the 15th. Chief says its due to Mako’s closing.
  • Bremerton’s overall crime fell in ’08 5.4%. Chief says drop due to proactive patrols which focus on problem spots.
  • Poulsbo assaults, thefts jump in ’08. Chief is planning to divide areas up among cops, hone in on specific problems.
  • Bainbridge Island’s overall crime down 14% in ’08. Decline mostly in property crimes. Thefts fell from 288 to 233.
  • Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office: violent crime is up 16 percent, property crime up 5.5 percent. Assaults, burgs, thefts up most.
  • Mason County Sheriff’s Office: burgs are up, thefts are down, violent crime held steady. I wonder how deputy cuts will affect things.

Here’s an interesting fact gleaned from the statistics: the percentages of cases “cleared,” or solved by law enforcement agencies in 2008:

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Someone Called the Fashion Police — and Troopers are Best Dressed Again


Next time you see a state trooper peering through a radar gun beside the highway, be sure to take in the finest uniform worn by law enforcement this side of the Mississippi.

The National Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD) has, for the second year in a row, named the Washington State Patrol as the best dressed law enforcement agency in the country. This year, however, they have company: the association also named the Mississippi Highway Patrol as co-winners.

Take a good look at this photo-op. Unquestionably formal, yet a bit colorful. Simple, yet projecting.

I have no idea what I’m talking about. But WSP Chief John R. Batiste does.

“I am very proud of the men and women who wear the uniform of the Washington State Patrol,” Batiste said in a release. “I have seen the uniform of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and am honored to be in their company.”

Here’s more from the state patrol about the win (which is the first time in the association’s history the same agency has received the top nod in consecutive years):

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Standout Bremerton State Patrol Dispatcher Off to Bellevue


The Washington State Patrol’s “calm and cool” dispatcher Jonathan Pitts is off to Bellevue.

Pitts, who we profiled back in February, has earned a promotion that puts him a step up on the state patrol’s ladder but keeps him a dispatcher. He’ll go from Bremerton to Bellevue, by way of Olympia, for a ceremony in Olympia Tuesday honoring the accomplishment.

State patrol spokeswoman Krista Hedstrom said their district 8 office — which includes Bremerton and the Kitsap Peninsula — was happy for Pitts, but not happy to see him go.

“I know we would all like to have him back,”  she said.

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Comment of the Week: ‘I have an idea! Why not drive at the speed limit?’


In the age of comment threads, I’ll sometimes revisit older stories and see if anyone’s added some new and interesting opinion. I was particularly struck by a comment left by michael on our special report, “Ticket to Safety?” which ran last July.

The debate centered around the motivations of law enforcement in writing traffic tickets. And I think his post, made Feb. 26 — made around seven months following the story’s publishing — is insightful while being a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Here it is:

“I have an idea! Why not drive at the speed limit? There are two immediate advantages. First, you won’t get a ticket, so you won’t pay a fine! Second, you’ll be able to ‘stick it to the man’ by refusing to give up your hard-earned money over to the county and state. I know it’s a novel idea, but I’m pretty sure it works!”

He goes on with an anecdote:

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Slowpokes on Highway 101 Getting Hood Canal Bridge Detoured Drivers Red Hot Mad


Generally, Highway 101 through Quilcene is a Sunday driver’s paradise, offering pristine views of both the Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains.

But while the Hood Canal Bridge is closed, it is a get-the-heck-outta-my-way commuter’s thoroughfare.

Traffic on Highway 101 has increased 77 percent since the bridge closed last week, according to the Washington State Patrol. And the number 1 complaint of the newly detoured motorists?


Trooper Krista Hedstrom points out that there are 20 “slow vehicle turnouts” on 101 in Jefferson and Mason counties. And if five or more cars are piling up in your rearview mirror, you’re obliged by law to pull over.
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Motorcyclist Eluding Cops had no Idea Airplane was Tracking his Every Move


Comes now the tale of a 19-year-old motorcyclist who allegedly didn’t like the idea of getting pulled over for speeding.

The Washington State Patrol had one of its aircraft flying and directing troopers on the ground to speeding vehicles on Highway 3 near Chico Way. The state uses a plane to conduct a speed trap on occasion, but only in Chico and Highway 16 near the Sedgwick interchange. (Watch a video of them doing air enforcement here.)

When the aircraft spotted the 19-year-old speeding, a trooper on the ground tried to stop him.

But he allegedly just kept going. And as troopers gave chase — up to 100 mph at certain points — the man zigzagged his way around Highway 3 and its exits at Loxie Eagans, Kitsap Way and Austin Drive.

Eventually, when he came to a bus, the troopers on the ground decided to call off the chase. But the aircraft kept its eye on him.

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Contrary to News Reports, Ferry Commuter Was Not Randomly Attacked


News flash: A story that appeared on some media web sites Wednesday about a random attack on a ferry commuter has been found to be inaccurate.

The original story claimed a woman was attacked by a stranger while she walked to the Seattle ferry terminal to catch a boat to the west side of Puget Sound. It’s unknown which boat she planned to take.

The story got us interested because anytime a random attack occurs to a local resident, it is cause for concern. I called over to the Seattle Police Department to get a copy of the police report.

“You know the media reports of that incident were innacurate,” I was told by the good media folks at SPD.

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Supreme Court: Even Insane Killers can’t have Slain Family Member’s Estate

Under state law, killers can’t get property or benefit in any way from a “willful and unlawful” killing. And on Thursday, the state’s supreme court extended the “slayer statute,” to those deemed mentally insane.

Here’s more from the Associated Press:

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a man who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the deaths of his mother and stepbrother has no right to his mother’s estate.

In an unanimous ruling Thursday, the high court said that Joshua Hoge’s actions on June 23, 1999 were “willful and unlawful” when he killed Pamela Kissinger and James Zachary Kissinger.

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More on Man Caught in Bremerton for Attempted Murder


It’s safe to say this occurrence is rare: man calls officer with complaint about a bowling alley. Officer responds, asks man for his name. Officer finds man is wanted for attempted murder.

Yet that’s exactly what happened in Bremerton Friday night. Shawn Patrick O’Brien, upset that he’d been kicked out of Bremerton Lanes for smoking a cigarette, called police to complain.

The 24-year-old, who was living in Tacoma, left before the cops could get there. Perhaps he knew he might be in trouble if he reported it.

In any case a Bremerton officer found him, and found the warrant for his arrest. The big mystery in our newsroom: just what were the circumstances behind such a warrant?
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Accused Former Poulsbo Mayor Headed to Hospital


A judge has ordered Richard A. “Mitch” Mitchusson to undergo some mental health evaluations at Western State Hospital in Steilacoom.

The longtime former mayor of Poulsbo, who by all accounts ushered in a new era of economic development for his city, ran into trouble in March following allegations by multiple adult women of stalking, assault, and indecent liberties.

It wasn’t long before evidence surfaced that Mitchusson could be suffering from a disease. And with that in mind, Mitchusson was sent to Western State Hospital, where he’ll be evaluated for two things, according to Kellie Pendras, deputy prosecutor handling the case.

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