Tag Archives: Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer

Kitsap County’s sheriff not ready to support marijuana legalization initiative

In his former life as a Washington state trooper, Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer recalls watching a motorist one day drive around a Walmart parking lot, encircling it several times at about three miles an hour. 

Round and round the car went, until Boyer’s hit his overhead lights and brought the car from its crawl to a halt.

The driver was stoned, Boyer recalled.

The sheriff used the story to explain to me his mixed feelings about Initiative 502, which would legalize the possession of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The driver was certainly not the worst he’d ever seen, having responded to too many alcohol-fueled fatality crashes. But he looks at the issue from a public health standpoint: would Washingtonians be better off if they could purchase weed at a store?

“Do you really want to add it to the mix” of our currently legalized libations? he asked.

For the record, Boyer will not be following suit of King County Sheriff Steve Strachan, who has come out in favor of the initiative. Boyer will be voting no on it.

But the issue’s merits are a conversation he wants to have.

“I think it deserves a dialogue and discussion,” he said. “Not just rhetoric.”

He believes that medical marijuana, whose patients in this state have long operated in a legal gray area, can help people. And he does not view pot as a scourge on society in the same way as, say, meth or heroin have been.

“Marijuana being an evil weed causing all the problems in this country? I don’t buy that,” he said.

But here’s why he’s voting no:

  • The plant remains a so-called Schedule 1 narcotic — meaning it has a high potential for abuse and has no value medically — in the eyes of the federal government.
  • Use of any substance not prescribed for medical use — legal or illegal — “do not usually make a person’s life better,” he said.
  • He doubts the criminal justice system will save money by not having to prosecute simple marijuana possession. “There are very few people in jail for recreational marijuana,” he said.

Boyer reiterated his willingness to continue the discuss and that he could change his mind about possible future initiatives. For now, he’s still weighing the issues, but isn’t ready to vote to end marijuana prohibition.


Emergency Responders, Kitsap County Addressing Address Problems

Armed with the new census information, Kitsap County Central Communications (our 911 center) is coordinating an effort with our police and fire agencies to weed out “problem addresses,” around the county.

A rather unknown benefit of the census is that it helps ensure homes and their addresses match up what’s on record. The benefit of having correct addresses is that in the event of an emergency, police officers or firefighters can find a location quickly without confusion.

Kitsap County’s Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is also helping with the project. More information can be found at www.kitsapaddress.com.

Here’s the news release from the county:

(Port Orchard, WA) – Kitsap County Central Communications (CenCom) is working with local first responders and Kitsap County’s Geographical Information Systems (GIS) experts to correct problem addresses throughout the County. While preparing for the 2010 Census, the County identified many homes whose actual location differed from the location indicated by their address. Addresses that are hard to find or are out of logical sequence are also reported by first responders from fire, emergency medical, and law enforcement agencies who encounter these problems when they respond to emergency calls. Problem addresses also create challenges for school districts, Kitsap Transit, delivery services, and other agencies. “Correct addressing is absolutely critical to enable law enforcement to respond to emergencies quickly and efficiently. Its absence places our deputies, as well as the safety of our citizens in jeopardy,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer.

There are many reasons problem addresses exist. Some addresses were created long ago and assigned before the current addressing conventions were established. Some annexations have brought properties into a different addressing system for the City than the addresses established by the County. The directional indicator assigned to roads (such as NE, SW, etc.) are based on an addressing grid and cause problems when the road extends in two different parts of the grid. The project looks to correct these problems. Once this is accomplished, officials are confident that technological advances in GIS will prevent similar problems from arising with new addresses in the future. “We have spent considerable time and effort collecting and prioritizing problem addresses throughout the county, so I am anxious to get the change process started,” says Tom Powers, CenCom’s addressing coordinator. “There is a lot of work to be done, but it is exciting to be moving forward” Powers added. He provided examples of two scenarios encountered during their research. These are actual scenarios with the street names changed.

* There is a business at the corner of X and Y streets. The business lists its address is 6090 X Street. Street addresses for properties around the business are all in the 3200 block, which is in line with the numbers on Y Street. The numbering sequence on X Street is completely different. Their address places them at the other end of X Street and creates confusion when someone is looking for that business or a potential disaster in an emergency response where time is critical.
* CENCOM receives a call for emergency services. The caller says they are calling from 20595 Any Road. The 9-1-1 info says they are calling from 20952 Any Road. The road is a private road and the residence is not visible from the road. In this case the homeowner went to the main road to help flag down the responders and direct them to the proper address.
“There are also issues beyond emergency response and deliveries,” notes Diane Mark from the County’s Information Services Division. “Accurate addresses help ensure voters get the proper ballot, and are essential for redistricting based on the 2010 census,” according to Mark. “The Auditor’s Office must be able to match a voter’s residence address to a parcel of land in order for that voter to receive the correct ballot in an election,” says County Auditor Walt Washington. “With the Census Bureau providing population totals and redistricting of our city council, county commissioner, legislative and congressional districts beginning in 2011 it is critical to our mission to provide voting materials in a responsible and accurate fashion,” Washington added.

Most addresses are not affected by this project, and in some areas the changes are not finalized, so it is not currently possible or necessary to call and find out if your address is likely to be changed. If there is a problem with your address you will receive a letter advising of the problem and how it is being corrected. The first phase of the program aims to correct out of sequence numbering beginning in North Kitsap. Future phases will include resolution of confusing existing road names as well as the addition of new road names where unnamed driveways are serving multiple residences and/or businesses. A public meeting on the topic is planned for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Paul T. Nichol Headquarters Fire Station (26642 Miller Bay Road NE) near Kingston. More information is available at www.kitsapaddress.com

Sheriff Boyer Stresses ‘Civility’ in Wake of Police Shootings

It was hard in January not to feel the force of numerous nationwide news stories chronicling violence around America — particularly against the police.

Here’s what happened, according to Meg Laughlin of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times:

The end of January has been a deadly time for police officers around the country. The shootings and killings — which felled 12 officers and a U.S. marshal’s deputy over five days — began with two Miami police officers being shot and killed on Jan. 20 while trying to serve an arrest warrant on a fugitive wanted for murder. Four days later, an Indianapolis officer was shot in the head during a traffic stop and died in the hospital.

The same day, four officers were shot in Detroit, two deputies in Port Orchard, Wash., and another officer in Lincoln City, Ore. Then, Monday morning in St. Petersburg, two police officers and a U.S. marshal’s deputy were shot while attempting to serve an arrest warrant at a home. The two officers died.

Which raises the question: Even as overall violent crime is declining across the nation, is this sudden rash of police shootings the beginning of an era marked by an escalation of brazen, cold-blooded cop killers?

With a half a month’s distance from the violence, the tide of shootings has subsided — though any officer would tell you there’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop.

I asked Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer what he made of the violent January, of which his deputies too were violently attacked:

“I’m hoping the increase in frequency of police involved shootings is not a long term trend,” he said. “It does worry me that it seems like people are attacking our institutions, attacking the symbols of our society.”

“I think civility needs to be stressed more.”

What could have caused the surge? Was it just random? Slate has an interesting piece out about “predictive policing.” Perhaps, as it points out, police shootings — or rather people lashing out violently against authority — could be like an earthquake, in which there are initial tremors, a big incident and aftershocks.