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Five men died after confrontations with Spokane law enforcement in 2013, according to Spokesman-Review records. Investigations into the shooting by a multiagency task force ended in no recommendations for charges against any of the law officers. The five fatal shootings is up from one reported fatality during incidences with local law enforcement in 2012, according to Spokesman-Review reports.
Blue icon: Spokane Police Department was the responding agency.
Green icon: Spokane County Sheriff's Office was the responding agency.
Public safety reporters Kip Hill, Kaitlin Gillespie and others contributed to the creation of this map. Click on a map icon for more information on a specific event, and visit the Google spreadsheet it's based upon to change views of the information to your preferences. As a companion to this database, the Spokesman-Review is also publishing a list of all homicides we covered beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
According to Spokesman-Review reporting, local law enforcement investigated 23 deaths as homicides in and near Spokane County in 2013. Public safety reporters Kip Hill, Kaitlin Gillespie and others kept track of each of the cases, and we're making our records available to you below.
Blue icon: Case has been resolved, either through legal procedures or the death of a suspect.
Yellow icon: A suspect (or suspect) is (are) in custody, and the case is moving through the legal process.
Red icon: No suspects have been apprehended to date.
Click on the icon to learn more about the case, and visit the Google spreadsheet for specific case details and customize the map to your preferences. As a companion to this piece, the Spokesman-Review is also publishing a list and map of the homicides involving law enforcement officers in 2013.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is hoping the public can shed some light on a man they say stole a flashlight from a Spokane Valley Walmart over the weekend.
The man was captured on surveillance video entering the store at 5025 E. Sprague Ave. around 4 p.m. Sunday. He is a white male, wearing jeans, a grey collarless shirt and a dark zip-up sweatshirt with a light beard and short cropped hair.
According to an undercover officer in the store, the man left the location without paying for a flashlight he was carrying. When confronted in the parking lot, the man brandished a knife and fled to a nearby vehicle.
Police ran the vehicle's plates, which were written down by the store officer. The car was reported stolen. It has been recovered by authorities, but police have no leads on a suspect.
If you have information about the incident, the Sheriff's Office is asking that you contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or online at crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org. A cash reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in this case.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is hosting an eight-week citizen's academy designed to provide an overview of what law enforcement officers do and some of the issues they face.
The program is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 with sessions each Monday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and sheriff's organizers are actively trying to get the word out.
Those interested in attending should contact Deputy Travis Pendell at (509) 477-6044 or by email at TPendell@spokanesheriff.org.
A recent string of scam calls promises Spokane County residents that a clean criminal record is just a phone call away.
Over the past several months, citizens have received calls from scammers claiming to be from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office saying there’s a warrant out for their arrest and that whoever they’re living with may be charged for harboring a wanted person, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. The caller says that if they pay a fee their record will be cleared.
When the scammers call, caller identification will display the sheriff’s office administration number. The Federal Communications Commission has released a guide to this scam method, known as “spoofing.”
The Sheriff’s Office never tells people they can pay their way out of a warrant, Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.
“We either go find them, or when we contact them and find out they have (a warrant),” Chamberlin said, “that’s when we take them to jail.”
Victims or anyone with information about the scam are asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Leslie Brockman, a crime analyst with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, says she and her coworkers have been pulled into a political spat by members of a political action committee critical of Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Knezovich appeared on several area television newscasts blasting as politically motivated efforts of Integrity First, a group made up of former sheriff's department employees, to obtain public records related to residential burglaries occurring in rural Spokane County during the first half of 2012.
Brockman said Thursday the requests imply that crime analysts somehow cooked the books, a charge she called “insulting.”
“They're insulting the whole department,” Brockman said.
To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.
A Spokane County Deputy was honored nationally for helping safely guide deputies on two high speed chases last year.
Tactical Flight Officer Jeff Thurman was named the Tactical Flight Officer of the Year award at the last week’s Airborne Law Enforcement Association conference in Orlando, according to a news release.
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.
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.
Don't panic if you see a lot of flashing lights at Spokane Valley Mall late Saturday and early Sunday — multiple law enforcement and fire agencies are staging an “active shooter exercise” there.
Spokane County Sheriffs, Spokane Police, Spokane Valley Police, Spokane Valley Fire, local hospitals, the local ambulance service provider, the FBI and the Washington State Patrol all will be involved, the sheriff's office said in a news release.
The full-scale exercise will help those agencies evaluate their response plans. Staging will begin at 11 p.m.; the exercise will begin at 2 a.m.
It's not open for public viewing, the sheriff's office notes.
Air One, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter unit, shot this video Saturday of biplanes flying in the missing man formation as they passed over the Torchlight parade in downtown Spokane in honor of the three Fairchild airmen killed in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month. Here's the video:
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies believe a man working on his paintball gun triggered lock downs at nine Spokane Valley schools Thursday morning.
A woman told deputies she saw a man carrying a gun and shooting it into the ground near 28th Avenue and Blake Street around 10:45 a.m., according to a Sheriff’s Office news release, but authorties could not locate a suspect.
Several Central Valley School District schools were briefly locked down during the extensive search, the release said.
Later that day, a man called deputies to say he was in the area taking a CO2 cartridge off his paintball gun – an action that creates a loud popping noise. He realized the woman likely heard this sound.
No shots were fired, deputies determined.
Spokane County Sheriff's Office shared surveillance stills of a man suspected of robbing a Spokane Valley head shop. | Photo: Spokane County Sheriff's Office
Spokane County Sheriff's Office needs help identifiying a man suspected of stealing a pack of Captain Kratom Thai powder from a Spokane Valley Puffin Glass store on April 11, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
The suspect asked to see the product, described as an organic pain reliever by an Puffin Glass employee, but he ran out of the store with the tablets around 7:15 p.m. and didn't pay for them, an employee told authorities.
The employee chased the suspect out of the 12023 E. Sprague store, but the suspect pulled out a knife and threatened him.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. To report a tip, call 1 (800) 222-TIPS or go online to www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives found several firearms inside a South Hill home where a man shot and killed himself Sunday.
Detectives seized five assault rifles and four hand guns from the 4500 block of East Sumac Drive where 62-year-old Warren C. Schrempp, Jr. was growing marijuana at a foreclosed home, according to recently filed court documents.
Detectives cataloged three of the weapons as loaded including an AK-47-style rifle, a Glock and Makarov pistol. They also found four adult marijuana plants and 10 starter plants. Schrempp had authorization to grow medical marijuana, court documents show.
Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office called Schrempp’s death a suicide. A real estate agent called police after a locksmith smelled marijuana at the property and saw a car in the garage, they told authorities.
Sheriff’s detectives found a sliding door open and announced their presence, but they heard a muffled gunshot and called a SWAT team, previous reports said.
A confidential informant led Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives to a married couple dealing meth out of a Spokane apartment, according to criminal complaint filed in United States District Court Tuesday.
Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Mark W. Bush (pictured left) and Crystal K. Peterson on the morning of April 4 after serving a search warrant to their apartment at 1717 E. Mallon Avenue.
Court documents describe the informant as a felon with several convictions including theft, burglary, and lying to authorities. The informant was compensated financially for the information leading to the arrest of Bush and Peterson, documents show.
The informant bought meth from Bush three times during the investigation, they told detectives, but Peterson was only present during a deal on one occasion.
Investigators seized 11 ounces of meth from the home during the search including four small bags inside a box of Nilla Wafers. Additional bags of meth were found in the bedroom in a black bag, a dresser drawer and in the kitchen freezer.
Investigators also found a purse under a mattress in the master bedroom with a cell phone and a spiral notebook with a variety of names and phone numbers.
Although the Drug Enforcement Administration was not present at the time of the search warrant last week, a special agent is filing the complaint against Bush and Peterson after Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich pushed for federal charges to give him a longer prison sentence if convicted.
Knezovich compared Bush’s criminal record to convict Eddie Ray Hall who was sentenced to a 16 years in a federal prison last year. Bush is in custody at Spokane County Jail for his 39th arrest in Washington state.
Pursuing federal charges against a repeat offender is a common tactic, Knezovich said, because it can give them a longer prison sentence and keep them off the streets.
Knezovich described this drug ring as localized and the meth was most likely not produced in Spokane.
Related content: Sheriff exasperated with repeat offender
A man wanted by authorities was discovered hiding out at a South Hill apartment complex on Monday night.
Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies were looking for Raymond S. Wheatley, 44, a felony warrant for violating his court order, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. A deputy learned he was hiding at 2800 E. 27th Avenue and filed an arrest warrant to get him, the news release said.
Authorities also called in the SWAT Team to help serve the arrest warrant around 10 p.m. because of Wheatley’s 22 years of violent history against law enforcement. Deputies arrested Wheatley in 2007 after he grabbed a Spokane Valley police officer’s Taser and tried to use it against him, prior reports said.
The SWAT Team made their presence known and Wheatley reportedly came out on his own. Deputies took him into custody without incident, the release added.
Wheatley was booked into Spokane County Jail for his felony charges of violating a court order.
A Spokane Valley young couple with a license to wed are instead in Spokane County Jail on charges of residential burglary and trafficking of stolen property.
Vyacheslav Znovets, 21, and his girlfriend Marina Florianovich, 25, were arrested by Spokane Valley detectives after they allegedly sold a stolen wedding ring to a north Spokane jewelry store, according to court documents.
The couple has been responsible for several burglaries, detectives said, and they typically use Florianovich’s black BMW to travel during the day and steal jewelry from Spokane Valley homes. They knock to see if anyone is home and then break in through the rear window or door, documents said.
They were named in a series of Spokane Valley burglaries last year, reports said.
Detectives believe the wedding ring was stolen from a home in the 4100 block of south Terra Verde Drive on the 26th. The homeowner left for the afternoon and returned to find his front door kicked in.
Earlier that day two witnesses said they saw a man acting suspiciously near a BMW with the same license plate as Florianovich’s near 21st Avenue and Timberlane Street. A home was burglarized along the 2100 block of S. Timberlane was also targeted, detectives believed.
When Znovets was arrested he showed detectives which homes he broke into and showed them the house along Terra Verde Drive and along Timberlane. Another home was also pointed out in the same neighborhood by Znovets, detectives said.
The couple was booked into Spokane County Jail on Wednesday and appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Thursday.
Despite the suspect’s relationship, Judge James Triplet ordered they have no contact with each other.
Florianovich’s charge was reduced to trafficking because court documents do not show probable cause of her being at the scene of the burglaries, Triplet said.
Znovets continues to have the residential burglary charge.
A marriage license with Spokane County only lasts for 63 days and they have about two weeks remaining on their license, according to court records.
Facebook: Spokane Valley Police detectives have posted pictures of recovered jewelry from the couple. If something is yours, go claim it.
A felon arrested on outstanding warrants threatened a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy during his ride to jail and told him “the knife’s coming out” next time, according to court documents.
Deputy Nathan Bohanek found William L. Moore loading items onto a trailer behind a business after a caller told 911 they saw suspicious activity near the 1500 block of South Pines Road.
The caller said they saw sparks and hear grinding noises and thought someone was stealing something, documents said.
Bohanek arrested him for two outstanding misdemeanor warrants for third-degree driving with a suspended license and second-degree criminal trespassing.
Moore began screaming at Bohanek and calling him names during the drive to Spokane County Jail, documents said.
He told Bohanek, “You want to ruin my life? You’re going to have to kill me next time,” documents said.
Moore also said, “Next time we meet, mother f-, the knife’s coming out!”
The deputy interpreted Moore’s words to be a threat against his safety, documents said.
Moore was booked into Spokane County jail and appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon. Judge James Triplet placed a $10,000 bond on his charges of intimidating a public servant.
Moore was described by investigators as “confrontational” after he was arrested by deputies in 2010 during a traffic stop after they found more than 70 feet of aluminum and copper wire in his car, reports said. They also found gloves, flashlights, saws and tools in his vehicle.
He told police to “shoot him”, according to 2010 search warrant on his car.
Deputies arrested him during another incident in 2001, reports said, after he hid his alleged meth stash in a gas station bathroom.
Several Spokane Police officers and Sheriff’s deputies have been awarded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for protecting the community from a bomb planted by Kevin W. Harpham during the MLK Unity March in 2011.
(Pictured from left to right in front row: Lt. Matt Lyons, Cpl. Mark Fox and Sgt. Jason Hartman. Lt. Eric Olsen was absent from the award ceremony due to training, according to police spokeswoman Monique Cotton. Photo courtesy: SPD)
The bomb did not detonate because Harpham’s remote triggering device could not get close enough to the device. The bomb was laced with rat poison and placed on the northeast corner of Main Avenue and Washington Street, reports said.
Spokane Police Sgt. Jason Hartman and Lt. Eric Olsen were awarded Thursday afternoon for moving the march route, an act that’s believed to have saved several lives.
Court documents show three contract workers discovered the bomb as Harpham walked in the march. Police changed the route before he could walk in range of the device - losing his opportunity to detonate the bomb.
Cpl. Mark Fox and Lt. Matt Lyons with the Spokane County Sheriff’s were also awarded by the FBI for their work with the bomb squad disarming Harpham’s device.
Harpham was arrested in March near his rural home near Addy. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison in Dec. 2011.
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.
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.
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.
A Spokane Valley pursuit ended Wednesday night when a man crashed an allegedly stolen car into a tree near Valleyway Avenue and Walnut Road.
The driver, identified as Justin D. Martin, 29, was originally sought by a Washington State Patrol trooper who spotted Martin’s vehicle around 10:41 p.m. with a broken headlight at the Argonne Road exit along Interstate 90.
The trooper chased him all the way to Alki Avenue and Bowdish Road where he called off the chase, but a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy found him to continue the chase.
Martin swerved the vehicle head on into a deputy’s patrol car, but the deputy avoided the collision. Martin continued his flight from authorities by speeding about 50 mph, according to Spokane County Sheriff’s spokesman Craig Chamberlin, through a residential neighborhood along Valleyway Avenue.
Martin reportedly crashed the car at Walnut Road into two large trees. Spokane Valley Fire Department had to extricate him from the vehicle. Medics transported himto a local hospital with serious injuries, a broken leg and arm, Chamberlin said. He remains detained and investigators are waiting on blood results for possible THC intoxication.
Martin faces charges of attempted first degree assault for attempting to ram a police car, eluding deputies and possession of a stolen vehicle.
The vehicle allegedly belonged to Martin’s mother. She was purchasing the vehicle from a family friend, but was not the registered owner.
A fight outside a Chattaroy bar led to a man being stabbed multiple times and was found unconscious and bleeding on the ground by responding Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies. The victim, now identified as Orlan Knuth, is in satisfactory condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to staff.
Deputies arrested two suspects who left the scene, but came back. Brian D. Reinhart, 25, faces first degree assault charges as does Dwayne W. Hackley, 42, and appeared in court Thursday afternoon.
Reinhart allegedly stabbed Knuth in the torso and thigh with a Gerber knife after an altercation in the parking lot of Prime Tyme, located at 4211 E. Westwood, according to a court affidavit. Reinhart claimed he stabbed the victim in self defense, documents said.
Knuth allegedly spun a chain in his hand and a knife in the other, according to court documents. Detectives picked up several items from the crime scene as evidence including a knife, chain, hat and cell phone.
Reinhart was transported to the hospital for a single stab wound to his arm before his interview at the Public Safety Building along with Hackley.
Judge Annette Plese placed Reinhart’s bond at $10,000, but according to staff at Spokane County Jail, he bonded out Thursday night. Hackley remains in custody with a $30,000 bond.
A man tried to hide from police after an argument with possible gunfire erupted at a north Spokane County home Tuesday afternoon, but a Spokane County Sheriff’s K-9 dog found him hiding in a hole under a tree.
Anthony Young, 38, had four active felony warrants out of Stevens County, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release, and reportedly ran into the woods before deputies could arrive to the home at the 37000 block of North Newport Highway, a woman told police.
Jet, the K-9 dog, followed tracks in the snow for one mile from the property and found Young hiding, the news release said. Jet could smell him through a pile of snow, sticks and pine needles Young used to hide himself with.
The other parties of the argument had left the property as well. Deputies saw them driving away earlier and stopped the car with two men inside.
Deputies were advised that the passengers were involved with the argument and they checked the vehicle and found a .22 caliber revolver with the serial number ground off inside a backpack.
The driver, identified as William Talbert, 24, told deputies the gun belonged to someone else and he was arrested for felony firearm possession, altering the serial number and driving with a revoked license.
Young was arrested for the felony warrants which included burglary, taking a motor vehicle without permission, theft and possession of stolen property.
Deputies were unable to confirm if a shooting took place.
Police attempted to pull over a reckless driver near Park and Trent late Tuesday night, but lost it after the driver ignored a stop light at the Havana Street and Mission Avenue intersection, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release.
A car with a similar description was found reportedly on fire in a homeowner’s driveway near 200 N. Bessie, said the news release. Deputies confirmed it was the same car and fire crews responded to put out the fully engulfed car.
The fire was declared not arson, according to Spokane Valley Fire investigators, but it may have started somewhere in the engine compartment, they told police.
Police don’t know at this time who the driver was or if the vehicle was stolen. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A felon wanted on multiple Idaho warrants hid in the trunk of a car during a traffic stop hoping to hide from police last week.
Sheriff’s deputies say they saw 27-year-old Justin R. Brown get into a car as a passenger just after midnight on Friday and knew North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force was looking for Brown in the area of Third Avenue and Freya Street, said a news release.
A multi-agency response brought officers from Spokane Police along to pull over the vehicle near Sprague Avenue and Havana Street.
But Brown was missing from the vehicle when they looked inside and it was determined he had crawled into the trunk of the modern Chevy Impala through the back seat prior to the stop. Police believe Brown was holding the trunk closed because the trunk switch did not work.
Brown eventually got out of the trunk after several audible orders were given by police including the warning that they’d use a Spokane Police K-9 unit to get him out.
Deputies took Brown into custody on felony fugitive charges and he was extradited to Kootenai County Jail where he faces multiple offenses with over $160,000 in bail.
Police say the victim of a recent burglary eyed a suspicious man prowling around a neighbor’s home in Spokane Valley last week.
Spokane County sheriff’s deputies searched the 11200 block of east Aloha Court on Friday afternoon for the alleged suspect but were unable to find him until another neighbor saw the suspect in his backyard, said a news release.
Deputy Walker ran to the home’s backyard and saw the suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Michael G. Mendez, jump a fence.
More deputies responded to the neighborhood and Mendez was located within minutes.
The news release said Mendez had been hiding in the home next door while deputies checked out the original location of the prowling call.
Witnesses told police Mendez hid property under the deck of a home as he ran to hide from police. Deputies recovered that property and believe it is stolen goods.
Mendez was booked into Spokane County Jail for felony residential burglary, three misdemeanor charges for criminal trespass and obstruction of an officer.
He’s to be arraigned next week with a $75,000 bail on his charges.
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.
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.