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Publishing police reports is how we help fight crime

1:45 pm February 19th, 2014

PAT JENKINS
In one of our latest Dispatch reader polls, we asked if folks are more inclined to help police solve a crime if a financial reward was offered, as occurred recently when the Eatonville Police Department posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the miscreants who’ve been breaking into homes in one of the town’s neighborhoods. The response to the poll was pretty one-sided: People will help rat out a rat regardless if there’s a reward, because they just want to help stop crime.
Put us in that crime-fighting corner, too. That’s why The Dispatch regularly publishes a summary of crime reports provided by the Eatonville-based Mountain Detachment of the Pierce County Sheriff Department. The idea is to keep the public informed of crimes in the vicinities of their homes and businesses.
Accompanying the summaries usually is a chart, also from the detachment, that breaks down the number of incidents reported on specific dates during a certain time frame. For instance, one of the latest charts is for the period of Jan. 19 to Feb. 1.
The incidents are short and cryptic. Some typical examples have included “Residential burglary, 2000 block of 304th Street East,” “Motor vehicle theft, 22000 block of 70th Avenue East” and “Vandalism, 3000 block of 255th Street East.” That’s how they’re given to us, in order to provide some privacy for crime victims or protect sensitive information related to an investigation. Here’s an explanation of the format from Sgt. Nick Hausner, who helps head the Mountain Detachment:
“Please remember the data has had the specific location addresses redacted to the general location only. For example, if the incident occurred at the address of 12312 304th Street, the house numbers would be redacted to 12000. This gives the general location within 10 blocks.
“Not all case data may be reflected, displayed or provided. Information may have been withheld or excluded due to an active case investigation or for other reasons, such as being a secondary offense in a higher offense incident, or technical issues. Some incidents listed may not be criminal in nature and a report was taken as the result of a community caretaking function, such as mental health-related incidents, natural-death reports or juvenile runaway reports. Also note that proactive police work, such as some traffic-related incidents, warrant arrests, as well as traffic collisions are reflected in the summaries and may not be an indicator of increased criminal activity in a specific area.”
Hausner goes on to note that during Jan. 19 to Feb. 1, the Mountain Detachment received from South Sound 9-1-1 or self-initiated 594 calls for service. The summaries from that period “contain information from incident reports, and not from” emergency dispatch records, he noted. Hausner adds that “only incidents requiring an official incident report are reflected. Calls or incidents that did not require an official report are not noted in the summary.”
The Mountain Detachment works an area of about 700 square miles. It stretches from 224th Street East in the Graham area to Mount Rainier, spanning the unincorporated areas of or near Eatonville, Elbe, Ashford, Graham, Roy, McKenna, Spanaway and Orting. The work is done 24 hours a day through the combined efforts of two sergeants, 18 deputies and an investigator. At least two deputies are on duty during each shift.
They have a lot to do. And just like our readers, we’re happy to help any way we can.

Dispatch editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at editor@dispatchnews.com and 360-832-4697.

One Response to Publishing police reports is how we help fight crime

  1. Eric Watson Reply

    February 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I would like to say….the reward one might get from the Pierce County Sheriff is bologna. Me and my girlfriend were in the area where a robbery took place. We kinda remembered the truck and who owned it. When the sheriff came told us to go to the county city building and tell them what happened we were told we would get a reward. THen when we went in we were excited about the reward. The officer stated to us….”If you dont tell us what you know you will go to jail as an accomplice. So, we were forced to tell what happened. Another time someone sold a bunch of rafts to a man and I was hired to move them to a location by boat. Again, the cops stopped us, I had the receipt in my pocket and I was still arrested. Then let go after the prosecutor decided to close the case because I had the receipt. Did I get any reward for wrongly being jailed for a crime I did not commit? Did I get reimbursed for the 2 days off I could not show up to work? NOPE and it is still on my record as well. Our justice system is like JUST US against the public or who they choose to go against. Is it safe to snitch on someone? I do not think so. If someone gets out with a grudge…and wants revenge no one can stop that person from doing so. Im sorry, but when cops do dirty and go over my locked fence, stand in front of my recorded cameras without a warrant or cause or their buddies or co-workers see it or a illegal action by another officer and do not report it…then I guess I have to sit in the same boat and be like them. Until the Justice system is no longer a JUST US SYSTEM… and equality flows among us and they become peace officers once again.. then maybe I wont be like them.

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