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High court won’t review Delling case, Idaho’s lack of insanity defense stands

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from convicted Idaho multiple murderer John Delling, challenging the lack of an insanity defense in Idaho. Idaho is one of four states that doesn't permit defendants to claim they're not guilty by reason of insanity. Three justices dissented; Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor wanted to hear the case. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press.

Zoo break-in suspect’s dad defends son, says not ‘malicious monkey murderer’

The father of a 22-year-old man accused of killing a monkey after breaking into an Idaho zoo said he believes the tragedy was a drunken prank that got out of hand and “turned into a horrible situation,” the Idaho Statesman newspaper reports. Michael J. Watkins was arrested Monday and faces at least two felonies: burglary, for allegedly breaking into Zoo Boise; and grand theft, for allegedly taking the monkey and beating it so severely that it later died. His first court appearance is set for Wednesday. Watkins' father, Jerry Watkins, defended his son to the newspaper, saying he is “not a malicious monkey murderer;” click below for a full report from the AP and the Statesman.

Suspect in monkey killing charged with two felonies

Michael Watkins, 22, of Weiser, has been charged with two felonies, burglary and grand theft, in connection with the death of a Patas monkey at the Boise Zoo early Saturday morning. He was arrested this afternoon in Washington County, where he is currently in custody; click below for the full Boise Police Department news release.

“I know the community demands and deserves answers to the many questions that surround this senseless crime,” Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson said at a news conference this evening. “This case is long on emotions and short on facts, for the time being.” More information will come out during the court process to come, he said. “We obviously have more information than we are able to provide tonight. Our detectives have done an outstanding job.”

The arrest was made around 2 p.m. today, Masterson said, following up on a citizen tip received last night, and the suspect's seeking treatment at a local hospital where “the story did not seem to mesh with the injuries.”

Masterson said the second person sighted outside the zoo has been identified and contacted, but not charged. The suspect who was arrested had injuries to his upper torso, the chief said. A gray baseball cap that was recovered inside the zoo “was found to be the hat that the individual, the suspect that we arrested, had worn that evening,” Masterson said. He added, “These may not be the only two charges that this individual faces.”
  

Arrest made in monkey killing at Boise Zoo

Police have arrested one person in connection with the death of a monkey at Zoo Boise, the AP reports. Police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said no other information was immediately available, but officers and a representative from Zoo Boise were expected to hold a press conference Monday evening. The Patas monkey was found dead of blunt force trauma to the head and neck early Saturday morning, shortly after a zoo security guard frightened away two male intruders. The death left zoo workers shocked and devastated, zoo director Steve Burns said, and prompted an organization called Crime Stoppers to offer an award of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest of the culprits. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

Slaying of monkey at Boise Zoo leaves zoo fans stunned; reward offered

Sad news surfaced over the weekend in Boise, with the news that intruders at the Boise Zoo had killed a beloved Patas monkey. The future of the monkey's cagemate, shown here, is uncertain, as the social primates don't like to be housed alone; the Boise zoo may get another, or may have to find a new home for the remaining monkey. The AP reports that police are following leads in the search for the two intruders, and that it's not yet clear whether the zoo break-in early Saturday morning was a prank that turned violent or something done with more sinister intent.

The monkey was found outside its exhibit, near the perimeter fence of the zoo, shortly after a security guard scared off two intruders; it had a head injury, and died shortly after. The zoo was closed for most of the day Saturday as police searched for evidence. You can read KTVB-TV's full report here, including a clue - police found a gray ballcap that may have been left by one of the intruders; and the Idaho Statesman's full report here; this AP photo of the remaining Patas monkey is by the Statesman's Katherine Jones. A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

UPDATE: Late this afternoon, Boise Police announced that they've made an arrest; they scheduled a press conference for 7 p.m. to release more information.

BPD plans crackdown on underage drinking around Sat.’s BSU football game

The Boise Police are planning to crack down on underage drinking around this Saturday's BSU home football game against Colorado State, including both underage consumption and adults who provide alcohol to people under age 21. In addition, the police will be patrolling for open-container violations on public streets and sidewalks, in city parks and within 250 feet of the river; parking violations; driving under the influence; and littering. “Officers want citizens to celebrate responsibly,” the BPD announced in a news release; you can read it here. “For public safety, Boise Police will be checking for illegal alcohol use in the campus area. Increases in people on neighborhood streets, parks and parking lots in the Broadway area on game days has resulted in increased complaints and concerns about illegal alcohol use and related problems like disorderly conduct, underage drinking, drunk driving, assaults, urinating in public, loud parties and littering.”
  

Man reportedly assaults Spokane Valley paramedic

A reportedly intoxicated man assaulted a Spokane Valley Fire paramedic on Monday evening while crews treated a woman for a seizure.

While the Station 1 paramedic in full uniform and his partner treated the patient, 51-year-old William J. Nachtwey became hostile toward the paramedic and grabbed him by the shirt collar demanding they leave the trailer in the 9500 block of east 4th Avenue.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office say the paramedic pushed Nachtwey over a coffee table. When he got up, he confronted them with a boxing stance.

The paramedic and his partner left the trailer while Spokane County sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene. According to a news release, before Nachtwey was arrested for 3rd degree assault, he tripped over a garbage can outside the trailer.

The firefighter was not injured during the confrontation. The woman was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for further treatment.

Nachtwey was not injured when he fell over the coffee table or garbage can.

Attorney blasts McGill probe

Were detectives just doing their job or did they go too far?

A Spokane attorney has accused detectives of misrepresenting facts surrounding a homicide investigation in order to obtain permission to search the belongings of the victim's daughter.

Recently unsealed court documents show Spokane police detectives seeking search warrants told a judge the daughter, Billie McKinney, 25, was an uncooperative witness who hindered the investigation into the May stabbing death of her mother, Sharlotte McGill.

She has since been cleared of any involvement.

Jeffry Finer, who is representing McKinney, released a statement Wednesday stating he would seek an explanation of the alleged misstatements from authorities, but did not specify what those misstatements were.

Authorities were looking into a possible connection between McKinney and 20-year-old Steven Lewis, who matches the physical description given by McGill just before she died. Lewis was dating the mother of troubled teenager Avondre Graham, 17, who now faces charges for McGill's murder and two separate assaults.

Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said detectives have a duty to look at anyone close to the investigation.

The story surrounding the recently released documents is sparking a lively discussion in the comment section.

Read more here.

Stick-figure threat lands federal charge against inmate on verge of release

A woman who was about to be released from an Idaho prison is now in federal custody, for allegedly sending a threatening letter saying her prison sentence was coming to an end and the recipient should be prepared for his final moments, the AP reports. The letter included a drawing depicting a battered stick figure and such threating phrases as “No tears,” “No hiding” and “No more you.” Linda Joyce Lakes now faces a federal charge of mailing threatening communications, a felony; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

Wrong number: Man seeking drug buy mistakenly texts narcotics detective

A Lewiston man apparently trying to get the most bang for his drug-purchasing buck mistakenly sent a text message to a narcotics detective while he searched for people to join him in a methamphetamine buy, the Associated Press reports; as a result, Aaron D. Templeton was arrested this week and charged with conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine. A police detective received a text Wednesday morning asking if he knew anyone looking for drugs, and after determining it wasn't his co-workers playing a joke, arranged to meet the man named Aaron the same day to deliver $150 that would be pooled with money from other buyers to enable a bulk purchase of meth, officials said. Click below for the full report from the AP and the Lewiston Tribune.

Boise Police tase naked man after business break-ins

In odd crime news over the weekend, the Boise Police responded to a report of a burglary in progress at 3 a.m. Saturday, to find 27-year-old Boisean Anthony J. Marsh there, naked except for his shoes, standing next to a broken glass door in front of a business on South Shoshone Street, bleeding from cuts. The suspect was behaving erratically and wouldn't respond to officers' commands, and instead attempted to jump through the broken window. “At one point, officers were forced to deploy a taser to take the suspect into custody to avoid further injury,” the BPD reports. Replacement of the safety glass door was estimated to cost more than $1,000; the suspect was also determined to have broken into a nearby laundromat. He was booked on charges of malicious injury to property and resisting and obstructing an officer. No word on where his clothes were; perhaps being washed at the laundromat?

Auto theft solved when thief in stolen car cruises by cop taking the theft report

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) ― Officers in northern Idaho didn't have much trouble resolving a stolen vehicle case after the missing car drove by while police were taking a report from the owner. The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/NN5beq ) Dianne E. Blazer of Lewiston noticed her 2003 Nissan Sentra had been stolen overnight and was talking with police at 9:30 a.m. Thursday when an officer noticed the car driving down the street. The officer ran after the vehicle and ordered the driver to stop. Chon E. Tackett of Coeur d'Alene told police he didn't remember how he got the vehicle and was trying to find a friend's house. Tackett, who is 30, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and driving under the influence.

Schemer tries to profit from lost cell phone, ends up in jail on extortion charge

Here's an odd one from today's Boise Police crime report: A 27-year-old Boise man is facing extortion charges after he found a woman's lost phone over the weekend, then allegedly contacted her demanding payment or he'd sell it. The victim had lost her phone downtown on Saturday night; suspect Joshua G. Escoto allegedly contacted her last night about 11:30. The Boise Police reported, “After a detailed investigation, the suspect was arrested when the victim arranged to meet him to make the exchange.” In addition to theft by extortion, a felony, Escoto was booked into the Ada County Jail on an additional charge of carrying a concealed weapon without a license.

Alleged robber is 4-foot-8, 85 pounds

A suspect has been arrested in a June 6 armed home-invasion robbery in northeast Spokane.

Brettly E. Sanderson, who turned 16 last week, was charged as an adult with seven counts of first-degree robbery, but the charges were refiled in juvenile court when prosecutors realized he was 15 at the time of the crime.

The victims at the home in the 2900 block of North Hogan Street say they recognized Sanderson when he and two other men, one of whom had a sawed-off shotgun, forced their way into the apartment demanding drugs and money, according to court documents.

One of the victims was struck in the head with the butt of the shotgun, police say. Seven people were in the apartment at the time; stolen items included a 1997 Honda Civic, $50, two laptops, a PlayStation 3 and stereo speakers. Police found the Civic stripped of its tires and wheels near West Gordon Avenue and West Glass Avenue later that night.

Sanderson is 4-foot-8 and weighs 85 pounds, according to court documents.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla filed charges against Sanderson on Monday. Spokane police searched his home in the 2600 block of East Sinto Avenue about 3 a.m. Thursday. The SWAT team was presence, but the occupants responded to a knock and no force was used to enter the home.

Bevy of drugs found in felon’s truck

A longtime Spokane felon who fought with police in a Browne's Addition grocery store parking lot last week had about three ounces of heroin in his vehicle, police said today.

Stephen Patrick Link, 46, pleaded not guilty today in Spokane County Superior Court to possession of methamphetamine, attempt to elude a police vehicle and two counts of third-degree assault for the May 21 incident with Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa and Officer Ron Van Tassel at Rosauers, 1800 W. 2nd Ave.

Police are requesting prosecutors charge Link with six additional drug felonies after a search of his Ford Ranger on Friday revealed the heroin, valued at $2,400, marijuana packaged for sale and four prescription drugs packaged for sale, as well as a scale and baggies.

Police also found two syringes loaded with suspected heroin.  Those drugs were found in addition to methamphetamine, more than $7,000 and 35 suspected stolen gift cards that were found on the ground next to Link the night of his arrest.

Police began pursuing Link after a homeowner in the 4800 block of North Oak Street reported a man sitting in a truck in front of his home smoking drugs. Vigesaa attempted to stop Link near North Ash Street and West Grace Avenue, but he fled and crossed the Maple Street Bridge into downtown.

Police used a PIT maneuver to stop the truck, and Link exited the vehicle and fought with Vigesaa, who said he nearly lost consciousness and didn't know what hit him after he was attacked by Link, according to court documents. Vigesaa was treated at a hospital for cut eye and a broken blood vessel. (Police released a photo of the injury today)

Link also kicked and punched Van Tassel and broke his watch, police say Backup officers arrived and Link was shocked with a Taser and taken to the ground before being handcuffed. (View a photo from the scene here.) He was taken to a hospital before being booked into jail.

Link is well known to drug detectives “who have worked previous cases involving him,” according to a news release by police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

Vigesaa and Van Tassel have returned to work, DeRuwe said.

“This situation illustrates not only the dangers of police work, but how officers work together to effectively apprehend and remove a criminal suspect from the streets of Spokane.”

Link remains in the Spokane County Jail.

13-time felon accused of gun burglary

A burglary suspect accused of stealing a truck and gun from a northwest Spokane home is a repeat offender with a 19-year history of property crimes, police say.

 Grant Douglas Brough, 35, was one of two men who ran from a traffic stop near East Sanson Avenue and North Mayfair Street late Tuesday, according to Spokane police. Police dog Leonidas tracked Brough to a garage in the 100 block of East Everett Avenue.

Read the rest of my story here.

Suspect’s body found; questions remain

The body of Dustin Gilman is placed in the medical examiner’s van after it was discovered on property along the Little Spokane River on Monday. (Colin Mulvany/SRphoto)

A tracked cell phone signal led police Monday to the body of the suspected killer they’d been hunting ever since a mother and her two children were found dead Friday in their North Spokane home.

A police dog found 22-year-old Dustin William Gilman’s body in on a forested hillside near the Wandermere area, just north of Spokane city limits, about 10 a.m.

Gilman’s father and others had speculated earlier that he’d shot himself after fleeing the murder scene but Spokane police did not disclose how the suspect died or whether firearms were found near the body.

Gilman is the only suspect in the murders of Tracy Ann Ader, 32, and her sons, 8-year-old Kadin, and 10-year-old Damien, who were found dead in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 13: Killing suspect remains at large

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

Killer still sought in triple homicide

A 2007 Nissan Pathfinder is towed Sunday after being taken from the Aders’ home and left parked near Monroe Street and Wellesley Avenue. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

UPDATE: Gilman's body has been found. Read more here and look for updates.

Police continue to search for a man suspected of killing two young boys and their mother Friday in Spokane.

Dustin William Gilman, 22, (pictured) is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him or has information on where he may be should call 911.

Gilman has been wanted since Friday, when the bodies of Tracy Ader, 32, and her 8- and 10-year-old boys were found in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. Police believe he may be heavily armed with weapons stolen from the home, including a bullet-proof vest.

Police believe Gilman murdered the three while Ader's husband, Nick Ader, was in the hospital. 

Gilman has been staying with the Aders for the last few months. Tracy Ader's mother and stepfather said he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them at their Spokane Valley and was great with the boys.

Ader and her sons are pictured left in a photo provided by her family.

Ader worked at Pitney Bowes, a business service company, with Kimberly Rae Schmidt, 34, who was found shot to death in her north Spokane home on New Year’s Day. No one has been arrested in that case, but sheriff’s detectives say they have a person of interest.

“Tracy was having a hard time dealing with that because (Schmidt) was a direct coworker of hers,” said Steve Ponsness, Ader's stepfather.

Ponsnesskept a gun at his side Saturday as police searched for Gilman, who is believed to have stolen Ader's 2007 Nissan Pathfinder.

A citizen spotted the Pathfinder near West Wellesley Avenue and North Monroe Street Sunday and notified police, who are searching it for evidence.

Gilman is a convicted felon who was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2009 after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree trafficking in stolen property. He has an extensive juvenile criminal history, including convictions in Kootenai County in 2005 for stolen property and car theft. Court records show he was arrested for assault when he was 10.

See a picture story about the case here.

Man charged after spray-painting ‘I’m not a terrorist’ on fed courthouse

A 42-year-old homeless man has been charged with a federal crime of willful injury to government property, after he allegedly spray-painted “FU 1867 I'm not a terrorist” on windows on four different sides of the James A. McClure Federal Building and Courthouse in Boise on Jan. 2. Charles Arthur Stark, 42, was charged with a Class A misdemeanor and could face up to a year in prison, $100,000 in fines and restitution for the damage; his actions were captured on video and posted on YouTube. You can read the U.S. Attorney's full announcement here.

Spokane Falls Family Clinic Pharmacy robbed at gunpoint

Good morning, Netizens…

 

Egods, some malfunctioning member of society robbed my favorite clinic pharmacy at gunpoint yesterday. Spokane Falls Family Clinic's pharmacy is in the basement of the building at 120 West Mission. Despite the fact that police arrived within minutes of the robbery, the robber(s) got away, perhaps in a Volvo ostensibly with a white trunk.

 

They didn't get any Oxycontin, though. There is a big sign over the counter that states the clinic no longer stocks the drug, a favorite of street merchants everywhere. However the chances are fair the culprits probably did not or could not read the sign.

 

For nearly a decade I have been purchasing all my prescriptions from Spokane Falls. They are cheaper by far over the “big box stores” and their personnel are truly caring and friendly. For the last few years, I have been playing a light-hearted game with them I call “The Word of the Day” each time I drop by to fill a prescription. The game goes thus: I give them a word, typically one of the most misspelled words, and if they spell it correctly, they win a free latte of their choice. Just so my record is safe, in over ten years I have paid for five coffee drinks.

 

Obviously the robbers weren't into playing “The Word of the Day”. They were more interested in getting high. Maybe if the police get lucky and capture these dangerous fools, they will have lots of disposable time to improve their personal vocabularies.

 

Dave

Reward targets suspects in hotel murder

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of six men charged for their alleged roles in a fatal shooting involving two aspiring rappers at a Spokane hotel.

Pictured above, top to bottom, left to right, are Jermaine S. Bedford, 22; Kalen J. Bedford, 21; Rashad F. Toussiant, 25; Roderick D. Shanks, 21; Stafone N. “Stix” Fuentes, 27; and Tyrone J. Carell, 23.

All are wanted for second-degree assault except Fuentes, who is charged with first-degree assault.

The charges stem from a Nov. 27 fight at the Quality Inn, 110 E. Third Ave., that led to the shooting death of Jose J. “Junior” Solis, 21, of Moses Lake. 

Aaron A. Maxwell, 23, Anthony L. Fuentes, 29, and Michael J. Charles, 34; already have been arrested. John A. “Lil Danger” Castro, 27, (pictured) was arrested just after the homicide and remains in jail on a second-degree murder charge. Castro faces life in prison if convicted under the state's three-strikes law because of his criminal history.

Police believe Castro shot Solis to death in a wild fight that began when the Spokane group tried to attend a party at the hotel hosted by the Moses Lake group, who were in town for a rap concert at Ichiban Sushi Lounge at which Solis performed.

The Spokane men were kicked out, and Jermaine Bedford insulted a female friend of the Moses Lake men, Jazman Quarles, and challenged her boyfriend to a fight, police say. A wild fight ensued, and Quarles and a friend hid in a room and called their friends to help her boyfriend, who was being assaulted in the hallway. They arrived, including Solis, and the fight continued, ending in the gunshot that killed Solis. Witnesses identified the gunman as Castro.

Hotel surveillance video does not show the shooting but does show the participants running to and from the confrontation, according to court documents prepared by Spokane police major crimes Detective Kip Hollenbeck.

Police believe the Moses Lake men only acted in self defense during the fight.

Fuentes, 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, last gave an address in the 300 block of West Shannon Avenue. His criminal history includes convictions for first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and escape. He was jailed briefly last summer after news of his uncle’s murder outside a rap concert in Montana in June revealed to his probation officer that he’d left the state without permission.

Jermaine Bedford, 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds, last gave an address in the 300 block of East Queen Avenue. His criminal history includes convictions for second-degree assault and riot.

Kalen Bedford, 6-foot-4 and 160 pounds, last gave an address in the 1300 block of West Qualchan Drive. His criminal history includes a conviction for delivery of a controlled substance.

Carell, 5-foot-8 and 130 pounds, last gave an address in the 200 block of East Wedgewood Avenue. His criminal history includes conviction for second-degree assault. He was arrested in November after police investigating a 2007 homicide saw marijuana in his apartment.

Shanks, 6-foot-2 and 155 pounds, last gave an address in the 200 block of South Wall Street. His criminal history includes convictions for second-degree assault and second-degree robbery.

Toussiant, 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, last gave an address in the 3000 block of North Lacey Street. His criminal history includes convictions for second-degree assault, malicious harassment and bail jumping. A conviction for intimidating a public servant was dismissed upon appeal.

Anyone with information on the current location of any of the six men is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit tips online.

‘Aggravated battery with a frying pan’

It's not even a full moon, but the Boise Police is reporting, among its usual list of overnight incidents, a case of “aggravated battery with a frying pan.” According to the police report, Daniel J. Lovely, 24, was arrested early this morning after police responded to a report of a fight between roommates, in which the victim told them the suspect “used a cast iron frying pan to strike him more than once in the head, breaking the handle of the frying pan.” The victim was taken to the hospital with a head laceration. Lovely was booked into jail, and “the frying pan was recovered from the home.”

Today’s highlights

“I like to see them all go down,” Spokane Valley Police Lt. Matt Lyons said, concerning the Spokane Valley crime rate. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

I have to say I sure could get used to this nice, sunny weather. But before we start our day it's time to check out the highlights from today's Valley Voice. The 2010 crime rates are in for Spokane Valley and the numbers show that violent crimes are down while property crimes are up. The city is following the same trends as Spokane County and other cities in the county. The Spokane Valley Police Department is also facing a growing population and increased calls for service with the same number of officers it had in 2003.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a recent West Valley School District meeting that was all about the budget. People are being asked to let the district know what programs can be cut and which should be saved. Some of the things on the chopping block are the golf program, C squad sports teams and intramural sports. Another public meeting is scheduled for Monday.

The Newman Lake Fire District is moving closer to building a new Station 1 at land the district owns at Starr and Moffat roads. The old Station 1 is too small and doesn't meet current regulations. A public meeting was held this week to get input and more meetings are planned. The commissioners must decided whether to ask voters for a construction bond.

Spokane Valley City Council woman Brenda Grassel recently sent a letter to Spokane Home Builders Association members asking for input on the city's permitting process, but she did it a little differently than usual. The letter invited people to send in their comments to SHBA executive officer Joel White so he could forward them as anonymous.

Coming Thursday

It has been a fairly quiet day today at Valley Voice headquarters, but we'll have a bunch of stuff for you in the paper tomorrow. I headed out to Newman Lake this week for a special meeting to get public input on a planned new fire station. The Newman Lake Fire District commissioners are considering asking voters for a small construction bond to replace the aging, too-small Station 1.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a special West Valley School District meeting this week. The district is trying to get input from the public on which programs it can cut and which it should save. I checked in with the Spokane Valley Police Department on the most recent crime numbers recently. Some types of crimes are up; some are down.

So check in tomorrow and check out the stories I've mentioned as well as a few more.

Violence prevention summit Tuesday

Mayor Mary Verner, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich are hosting a community conversation on how to prevent violence tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. in the city council chambers, lower level at City Hall. The meeting will be moderated by Steve Becker, Eastern Washington representative for Governor Chris Gregoire's office. The audience may ask questions and share opinions on crime and violence related issues.
The event is co-sponsored by a long list of community organizations and expected to draw business and community leaders from all over town - this blog is going.

Summary…

The meeting is wrapping up and Mayor Verner summarized it this way: “Rest assured that we recognize and value this little corner of the city. What I’m hearing is for you to report, report, report and then have faith that we are listening. It’s not CSI, it’s honest to goodness police work so it’s going to take a little while. Be patient. And report it again if it happens again.”

The Spokane Police Department’s Aim Report - which shows what the police department is aiming at - are available from the police department’s website www.spokanepolice.org

Business owners aim to protect reputation

Several business owners are upset with how and when media refer to Hillyard. One person said that when something good happens in Hillyard, the area is referred to as “Northeast Hillyard” - but when something bad happens, like the recent shooting at the Special K Bar (on Garland and Market) it’s referred to as “Hillyard” - an argument could be made that the Special K is not in Hillyard.

Part of the business owners’ frustration is that they say they have worked hard on changing Hillyard’s reputation and as long as crime continues to be a problem, they say, it is really hard to keep the good PR going.

Suggestions toward solving the problem

Major Stevens explains that SPD has a ‘repeat offender program’ and for the people who end up on that list “It’s kind’a like being on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. We notice that these people pop up and pop up and pop up - and we make an effort to catch those people.” You want to catch them, you don’t want to move them to another spot (this is repeated by several SPD officers).

Someone suggests a citizens police academy similar to one in King County. The Spokane citizens police academy was eliminated due to budget cuts about two years ago. The academy in Spokane was more informational, where the one in King County gives citizens an opportunity to ride along with officers and be more hands on.

Neighborhood “patrols”

One business owner talks about confronting two intruders on his property, cutting up steel and trying to steal his “stuff” out of a yard. This happened last night. He says he “kicked the guy’s” behind, because he ended up in a wrestling match with the intruders. He says he has a right to bear arms and confront people on his property, but he is tired of getting ripped off. (This business owner did eventually call 911 and file a report).

SPD response: a burglary in progress is “nirvana” for cops because they want to come and help people - so call in and report it to 911 on the spot. It’s important to call in and let police come out and do their job. If a burglar gets run off someone’s property, the burglar is likely to go somewhere else and break in again.

Mayor Verner: what I’m hearing is that people don’t report incidents because they don’t think anything is going to happen? (correct, business owners say) Verner explains that she gets “Aim Reports” from the SPD that show what the police department is focusing on. “We need a feedback loop, we need to find a way to get that information back to the community, so people don’t think their reports go into a black hole.”

Crime prevention measures

They are labor intensive, someone has to watch them all the time. The business owners in Hillyard have purchased ISP addresses so their camera feeds can be viewed at the COPS shop.

SPD needs license plate numbers, times and dates. Descriptions of the people who show up frequently, but be careful while you are doing it so you don’t get into a confrontation with drug dealers or other criminals.
Report incidents even if you don’t think police is going to come out - it helps the police department build a pattern of activity, if there is one. Some of this information may be useful in court.

COPS suggests Business Watch - a plan like Block Watch, just for businesses. This effort has been very successful in the International District on East Sprague.

Note: These are essentially my notes, the way I take them at any meeting I cover - experimenting with live blogging.