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Spokane Valley

Posts tagged: Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Sex offender living in Otis Orchards

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office sent out a notification today about a Level III sex offender now living in the 19200 block of East Buckeye in Otis Orchards. A person classified as Level III is considered the most likely to reoffend. Carroll L. Pollard, 66, is not currently wanted by law enforcement. He has convictions for second-degree rape of a child and unlawful imprisonment. His most recent conviction was in 2003.

Thursday’s highlights

Greg Williams and Colleen Ramsey (reflected in mirror) drive the streets of Spokane Valley during a training session last week for the West Valley School District. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a safe and fun Fourth of July celebration. Before the weekend starts, lets take a look at some highlights from Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the training required to become a substitute bus driver in the West Valley School District. Aspiring drivers have to complete days of classroom work and road tests before being hired.

The town of Rockford has paid its bill for law enforcement services from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The City Council had balked at paying the $32,000 bill, but they recently voted to pay what is owed to date. At a recent town hall meeting residents had expressed concern that the Sheriff's Office might stop responding to calls because the town hadn't paid its bill, but the Sheriff promised not to abandon the town.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has an update on Miss Chicken, who is now well settled in her new Spokane Valley home. The formerly feral chicken was trapped and relocated after hanging around Pettit's house for quite some time.

Rockford bank robbed

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is looking for the man pictured above, who is suspected of robbing the Bank of Fairfield branch in Rockford just after noon on Monday. According to a Sheriff's Office press release, bank employees told deputies that the man handed over a note demanding money. He could not be located when deputies arrived.

The man reportedly had a trimmed beard and square eye glasses. He was wearing a camouflage hat and blue jeans. Anyone with information on the identity of the man is asked to call Detective Kirk Keyser at (509) 477-6611.  

Thefts at trailheads on the rise

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has issued its annual warning about people leaving valuables in their cars when parking at Centennial Trail trailheads. More people are out and about in the warmer weather, trail users and criminals alike. A Sheriff's Office press release says that numerous thefts have been reported at trailheads and most involve people who have left valuables in plain sight in their cars - IPads, GPS units, purses, brief cases and more.

Either leave those items at home or conceal them in the trunk. If you do conceal items, do it before you arrive so no one watching the trailhead can see what you hide.

Saturday’s highlights

Tony Ludiker has won five national fiddle championships, played with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony and trained many local musicians. Photo courtesy Tony Ludiker.

Good Monday morning, everyone. We started with snow and now I see sunshine. What's next? While we ponder that, let's take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice. Correspondent Jill Barville talked the national grand champion fiddler Tony Ludiker, a native of Spokane Valley. A fundraiser has been organized for Wednesday to raise money to help Ludiker with medical expenses for his kidney cancer after he found himself out of a job and with no health insurance.

Opportunity Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend with tours, a catered dinner, live entertainment and a special worship service. The church hasn't gone far since it began meeting in what is now the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. You still have time if you would like to attend the festivities; reservations are being accepted through Wednesday.

Reporter Nicole Hensley stopped by to check out an iPad training session for West Valley School District teachers. They discovered a wide variety of apps that can help in the classroom.

The town of Rockford is evaluating what to do next after a proposed law enforcement services levy failed at the polls this month. The town hoped to collect enought money to pay for the town's contract with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The target is down

I couldn't resist posting a picture of my target after I spent Saturday afternoon at the Spokane Police Academy gun range. We were there (and at Spokane County Raceway in the morning) as part of the Citizen's Academy class offered through the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Most meetings we're learning about different departments in the Sheriff's Office, which is interesting, but this really topped the cake. They let us shoot an AR-15, shotgun and pistol (after signing a liability waiver or two). This was the first time I ever shot a gun of any kind, so I thought I did pretty well. Note the hole between the eyes. The cluster on the top left is buckshot from the shotgun (my first shot, I think). It was also fun to ride around the racetrack with a couple of driving instructors doing PIT maneuvers. That's where the driver of the chase car uses the front of his car to bump the back quarter panel on the fleeing car to make it spin out. We were passengers for this one. Apparently there aren't enough liability waivers in the world to let us do that ourselves. Nina Culver photo.

Forensics and DUI patrol

Spokane County Sheriff's Office Air 1 helicopter. SR file photo.

Last night was another interesting night at the Citizen's Academy class offered by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office that offers a peek into the department. We heard from people working forensics, DUI patrol and Air 1. The head of the forensics unit, Carrie Johnson, talked about how she got started in the business 35 years ago. “I was the first girl,” she said. “I started as a secretary and worked my way up.” The unit may have been all men when she started but in recent years it has been all women. The unit does include one man right now.

Johnson said that a relatively simple crime scene can take several hours to proceess. A more complicated one can take anywhere from 12 hours to three days. “We were at Robert Yates' house for two weeks,” she said, referring to Spokane's serial killer.

Deputy Todd Miller talked about his work in the Spokane Valley traffic unit as the only DUI patrol officer. The unit includes two deputies on day shift and two deputies on night shift. He's a BAC instructor and a drug recognition expert. “Basically I drive around all the city of Spokane Valley and look for drunk drivers,” he said. His peak time for finding drunk drivers is between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Sgt. Dave Ellis spoke about Air 1, the Sheriff's Office helicopter that was donated to the department by the U.S. Army. The helicopter is able to fly about 300 hours per year for only $92,000 because all the pilots are volunteers and parts are purchased from the military at a discount, Ellis said. The crew includes a pilot and tactical flight officer at a minimum. The 10 volunteer pilots include three certified flight instructors, four military pilots, one MedStar pilot, one retired LAPD pilot and a Holleywood stunt pilot.

Saturday’s highlights

Kristie Gaffney and her younger children, twins Keaton, left, and Kyra, right, 12, stand in their living room Wednesday. Gaffney has turned her home into a not-too-scary haunted house with decorated walls, animated figures, statues and pictures. They live in Greenacres. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We've got another damp Monday morning here in the Northwest, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in for some Saturday Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Spokane Valley resident Kristie Gaffney, who has gone all out in decorating her home for Halloween. Most of it is modeled after the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

A lot of people probably don't know that there is a tiny Spokane County Sheriff's Office crime prevention office in the Spokane Valley Mall. I must say that my interview with the two deputies who work out of the office was the first time I've ever had someone get up and run out of the room in the middle of an interview. They were called on to stop a shoplifter from leaving the mall. Their job is mostly working with the community by offering classes and presentations on a wide variety of crime prevention topics.

Lisa also has a story on the University High School production of “Les Miserables.” The elaborate musical with a huge cast will take the stage starting Nov. 1. And about that stage - it now revolves. Construction was completed over the summer.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council spent a lot of time discussing what comprehensive plan amendments the city should consider this year. Amendments can only be considered once a year and the application deadline is Nov. 1.

K9 flushes out deputy

I am taking a six week Citizen's Academy class offered by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Anyone can sign up and we spend every Thursday evening learning a little bit about everything from gangs to sex crimes to property crimes. Last night we got a visit from K9 Brax and his handler, Deputy Steve Stipe. We were told to stand off to the side, keep quiet and be still while Brax searched a poorly lit portion of the former University City Mall for Deputy Travis Pendell. Pendell, who runs the Citizen's Academy most nights, volunteered to wear a bite sleeve and hide in the darkened room. Brax took off at a dead run and found Pendell quickly, his nails scrabbling on the concrete floor as he went in for the bite. It was interesting to watch the dog work.

Brax is Stipe's second dog and he's a patrol dog. Patrol dog handlers have to complete 700 hours of training before they can be certified and the dogs and handlers are required to do 16 hours of maintenance training every month. Stipe said he gives Brax a little bit of training every day. “I try to stump him,” Stipe said. “I try to keep him on his toes.”

Stipe said it was amazing how “85 pounds of fangs and fur” can turn the most argumentative and defiant suspect into a compliant one.

Still to come: sessions on Air 1, forensics and SWAT. This class is offered at least once a year. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about how the Sheriff's Office works and what it does.

Boating safety emphasis this weekend

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office will be on patrol on area lakes and rivers over the Labor Day weekend for an emphasis on boater safety. Boats will be inspected on the water and at ramps, so make sure you have all the required safety equipment (including life jackets). Patrols will be focused on Newman Lake, Liberty Lake and Long Lake. Deputies will also be checking for life jacket use on the Spokane River. Everyone be safe out there while having some fun in the sun.

Sex offender moves near Opportunity Elementary

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office sent out a notification yesterday that level 3 sex offender Joseph R. Wheeler, 34, has moved to the 1300 block of South Robie Road near Opportunity Elementary School. A level 3 offender is considered the most likely to reoffend. Wheeler was convicted of unlawful imprisonment in 2004. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details (and a photo) here.  

Newman Lake resident kills intruder

A 911 operator heard gunshots over an open line at about 1 a.m. Sunday when a Newman Lake homeowner reportedly shot an intruder, according to a Spokane County Sheriff's Office press release. Deputies found a the man lying at the top of a set of stairs inside the home, the release said. The man will be identified after an autopsy is completed today. An investigation is ongoing; click here for more details.

Shooting in Bella Vista neighborhood

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office arrested a man early Sunday morning after he allegedly fired a gunshot through a home's front window, according to a Sheriff's Office press release. Deputies responded to the 13700 bock of East 46th in the Bella Vista neighborhood at 3:26 a.m. Sunday. The man also allegedly pointed the gun at a man and fired several shots in the area, the press release said. Deputies arrested Jason Cunningham, 37, for drive-by shooting, first degree burglary, first degree assault and reckless engangerment. Click here for more details.

Today’s highlights

At the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, a 1915 Rauch and Lang electric car is part of the new exhibit in the Campbell House carriage house. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy last Thursday before Christmas. It's time to take a look at the highlights from today's Valley Voice. The small towns in southern Spokane County are looking at their law enforcement bills from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office with concern, particularly Rockford. Their bill jumped $10,000 in a year.

While the Campbell House next to the MAC isn't in the Valley, it's still a regional icon. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on a new visitor center in the carriage house. There are interactive exhibits in the horse stalls and touch screen displays so visitors can page through historical documents.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has an update on Chicken, the wayward hen she took in and cared for that now has a new home and chicken family.  Correspondent Cindy Hval has another touching Love Story, this one about a World War II B-17 pilot and his WAVES wife.  

Spokane area remembers 9/11

Spokane Valley Fire Department Capts. Pat Schaffer, right, and Tag Baugh hoist a 1,200-pound steel beam that was recovered from the World Trade Center into place at the department's new administration building Sunday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Yesterday SR photographer J. Bart Rayniak and I visited three local memorial events honoring those that died in the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago. The Spokane Valley Fire Department dedicated its new administration building and installed a 1,200 pound steel beam that was part of the twin towers. Nearly 260 firefighters from all over the Northwest climbed 110 flights of stairs, the same number of stairs in the Towers, in the downtown Bank of America building. They each carried the photo and biography of at least one of the New York firefighters who died that day. A memorial service held during the Spokane Interstate Fair was well attended and included firefighters and police. Click here for the story and here for a photo slideshow.

Woman trapped in flipped car

I hear on the scanner that a woman is trapped in her upside down car on a steep hillside on West Newman Lake Drive near Sutton Bay. A deputy said she is “responsive.” There's no word yet on why she crashed. Fire crews are on the way to free the woman.

10:25 a.m. update: Newman Lake Fire District units on the scene are asking for help from the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

10:35 a.m. update: The car is apparently 25 feet down a steep embankment from the road. That's going to make extrication tricky.

Update on Newman Lake bike vs. car accident

A bike helmet may have saved the life of a 6-year-old Newman Lake boy who was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Malvern Road and Morris Road on July 28. The boy was riding north on Malvern in the southbound lane while the truck towing a jet ski was going east on Morris. The boy apparently did not stop at the stop sign and a large natural berm at the intersection prevented the truck driver from seeing him until the last instant, said Detective Dave Thornburg of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office in a press release.

The driver of the truck was not speeding and alcohol does not appear to be a factor, Thornburg wrote. He simply didn't have enough time to stop. It was intially feared that the young boy was seriously injured and he was taken to the hospital by helicopter, but he is now home and recovering “nicely,” he wrote.

The boy was knocked to the ground and “tumbled many times against the ground and the undecarriage of the pickup. In this incident, it is very clear that wearing a bicycle helmet saved this boy's life,” Thornburg wrote.  

Is anyone in the mood for a little football?

I'm sure some people around here are pining for a some football after the protracted NFL lockout. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office “Regulators” will take on the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department “Enforcers” in the 2011 Charity Bowl at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at West Valley High School, 8301 E. Buckeye. It sounds like the Spokane County Sheriff's Office is getting some help from some Idaho law enforcement agencies as well.

There will be a half time event and a prize drawing. The cost is $5; kids 12 and under are free. Proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that supports injured service members. Tickets can be purchased at Empire Cycle at 7807 E. Sprague or Colorworks at 45 E. Weile in Spokane. This sounds like it would be fun to watch.

Sex offender moves to Spokane Valley

The Spokane Valley Sheriff's Office has announced that level three sex offender David R. Rickard, 50, has registered a new address in the 7300 block of East Seventh in Spokane Valley. A level three offender is considered to have the most potential to commit similar crimes in the future. Rickard was convicted of first degree burglary with a sexual motivation in Stevens County in 1995. He is not currently wanted by police and is not under Department of Corrections supervision.

Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details on Rickard's history here.

Sex offender notices are sent out when an offender moves or is released from prison. The Sheriff's Office maintains a web site where people can search to see if there is a registered sex offender living in their area.

Teen not missing in Spokane River after all

Last night the Spokane Valley Fire Department's swift water rescue team and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter spent hours scouring the Spokane River after a group of teens reported that a friend was missing after he fell in the river east of Harvard. The teen wasn't wearing a life vest and after hours of fruitless searching crews had to abandon the search when it got dark. But word has come this morning that the teen was safe at home the whole time. Click here for the report from this morning's paper and here for the update.

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Welcome to the Spokane Valley blog. Here we cover news, events and information from the greater Spokane Valley area, including Millwood, Otis Orchards, Liberty Lake, Newman Lake, Rockford and Fairfield.

Stop by often to find stories, information on events received too late to print in the Valley Voice and breaking news.

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