AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH was the collective response, from those gathered at the Tacoma Country & Golf Club on Friday, August 17, as President Dave Reames rang the bell to open the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Lakewood.

Assisting President Reames on board this week were:

  • Michael McGovern - Paul Harris Desk
  • Bill Young - Sgt-At-Arms
  • Ben Sclair - Bulletin
  • Bob Zawilski - Photographer
  • Jim Sharp - Pledge of Allegiance
  • Rodd Ladd - Invocation

Hearing how entertaining, informative and downright fun Lakewood Rotary meetings are, we enjoyed the presence of three visiting Rotarians (announced by Bill Young). They were:

  • Bob Firman, Assistant Governor
  • Bert Stibbe, Sumner
  • Charles Upshaw, Clover Park Rotary

Guests, like visiting Rotarians, were plentiful. Starting on the Port side of the room, Chris Kimball introduced his wife, Vicky, and sons, Donny and David. Donny and David will be attending Northwest University, "next year... well, this fall... er, next week," proclaimed the elder Kimball. Fae Crabill attended alongside husband Tom, who will be soon celebrating 50 years of marriage. Donna Phillips introduced a trio of Pierce College students: Gohar Mehsud from Islamabad, Pakistan; Burak Bekircan from Istanbul, Turkey; and Anish from Dehli, India. The three will be attending Pierce College this school year are part of a program that has brought students from 10 different countries to our little corner of the world.

Bob Lohrdahl (Cub Reporter) channeled Eddie Jankowski to bring us the News from Lambeau Field, home of the Packers from Green Bay. TJ Lange, on the blind side of the line, just got a contract extension. First game was a good test of the Packers. The team feels good about the line and defense. News from Lambeau Field. Packers play the Seahawks on September 24.

Gayle Selden wasn't able to announce the Fellowship Regatta but it is still on and set for Thursday, August 23. For those attending, there is a $15 per person fee. If you are on Dave Reames boat, he'll depart the Tacoma Yacht Club B Dock Slip at 12 pm. John Korsmo's boat will depart Delin Dock (by Johnny's on Foss Waterway) at 12 pm. Tom Sadler will depart the Tacoma Yacht Club at 1:30 pm and Mark Blanchard will set sail from the guest dock at the Tacoma Yacht Club at 12 pm.

Mick Johnson invited the Kimball family to the front of the room for a Paul Harris Award presentation. Donny and David each received Paul Harris Awards following Chris's contribution to The Rotary Foundation. "Wear your pins with pride," noted Foundation chair Mick Johnson. As a result of his contribution, Chris was awarded a new Paul Harris pin with three sapphires noting his 4th Paul Harris Award. Thank you for your generosity Chris. Good luck at school Donny and David.

Don Daniels was awarded a 100% attendance pin by President Reames. Don makes liberal use of make-ups at other clubs as well as online, not to mention attendance at non-weekly meeting gathering to achieve a perfect record. Congratulations Don.

Malnutrition is a growing issue in Pierce County. After hearing Barbara Meyers, from the Pierce County Health Department speak on the issue at a recent Rotary meeting, Assistant Governor Bob Firman (left) is going to the 15 Pierce County Rotary clubs to gauge interest in funding a program of some sort. With very little detail as yet, there seemed to be a wide agreement that given the proper program, Lakewood Rotary would be interested in participated. Details, we hope, to come.

Greg Rediske, with great effort and toil, produced a new member roster. If you missed picking one up at Friday's meeting, I'm sure they will be available at future meetings as well.

President Reames noted we have 111 members and 59% attended a Rotary meeting of some sort in July.

The Swing Reunion Orchestra played at the home of Deb and Ben Sclair (not to be confused with Lakewold Gardens) last Monday. 64 tickets sold were sold at $10 a pop. In fact, Bob sold a 65th ticket at Friday's meeting. The event will add $115 to the bottom line and much fellowship was enjoyed.

Sunshine (Jan Luze) - Carl Fynboe has received a transfusion and is doing pretty well.

Jim Sharp announced that West Pierce Fire & Rescue will Fill the Truck in support of Caring on August 22. The truck will be at Safeway in Town Centre and they are seeking food and toiletry items. If you can't make it to Safeway, donations will also be accepted at the Fire Stations.

SPEAKER - Police Chief Bret Farrar

Bret Farrar had 20 years of law enforcement when appointed Lakewood's chief, as noted by Andrew Neiditz. Bret worked in Lakewood before the city was incorporated and was a charter member of the Lakewood Police Department.

Confidently striding to the podium, Chief Farrar proclaimed, "The temperatures up, crime is down... thank you." It would seem LPD is riding Lakewood Rotary's coattails. Farrar updated the group on a few statistics and notes of interest before opening the floor to questions:

  • 2012 marks the 8th year of LPDs existence
  • 3rd annual Fallen Officer Food Drive will kick off soon. Last year they gathered $40,000 and 40,000 pounds of food in one week. They hope to gather $50,000 and 50,000 pounds this year
  • The nation's second problem gambling court is getting started in Lakewood. Those will a gambling problem often have other issues as well. It is funded in part by a $55,000 grant as well as $125,000 from the Puyallup Tribe.
  • LPD is putting cameras in patrol cars. It is very expensive but one car has been done and a the City Council will see a demonstration at an upcoming council meeting.

Audience participation time:

Q: How many calls did LPD respond to in 2011?

A: 55,000

Q: How many of those 55,000 calls resulted in an arrest?

A: 3,000. And from those arrest, 104 uses of force (by the arresting officer) were used. The 104 uses of force elicited 3 complaints... all of which were unfounded after further investigation.

Before entering law enforcement, Farrar working in the family business. While in high school, the family owned a janitorial business. He and his brother cleaned a lot of toilets through the years. The company morphed in traffic paint and grew from nothing to a multi-million dollar a year concern. At 30, Farrar decided to pursue law enforcement.

Farrar noted, his is "the best job in the world." However, he did add that "what we see is ugly." To share his pride in his officers, Farrar read an email from a prosecutor thanking LPD for helping to achieve guilty verdicts in the case of the drug dealer murdered in Springbrook a year or so ago. Even the victims family repeatedly thanked the prosecutor (and LPD) for bring the murderers to justice.

Pursuits will forever be an issue for an police force. In 2010, LPD participated in 32 traffic pursuits. The number dropped to 17 in 2011. However, at a recent area car show, Rotarian Chris Kimball was pulled over and awarded "The car we'd most like to pursue award" by LPD. "Once my guys saw Chris's Pantera drive by, it was unanimous."

Chief Farrar then asked for question. What follows is the best this scribe could do:

Q: Bob Lordahl asked about rules of engagement for using weapons. 

A: Weapons are pulled when officers thinks he, or citizens, life is in danger. We have lots of verbal techniques, and other tools to overcome resistence. The firearm is always the last resort. We spend a lot of time and money on firearms training. The more confident an officer is regarding his/her sidearm, the less likely they are to use it.

Q: Walt Richardson wondered about cameras on officers? 

A: We don't really want to have mic's on us. Not a big proponent of wiring officers. Car video turns on when sirens come on.

Q: Judy Hosea asked about gun control and open carry. 

A: Every day people walking into Starbucks with a weapon on their hip aren't the problem. The old axiom rings true to the chief, "If you outlaw guns, the only people who will have guns will be the outlaws."

Q: John Walstrum... Tasers? 

A: We have very few. They are very effective in certain situations. When first came out, they were like the new toy.

Q: Paul Wulfestieg asked about officers responding to a call with excessive speed without any lights or sirens. What is the guidance on using lights? 

A: Depends on what the purpose is. A bank robbery with the suspect still in the bank would be a bad time to use sirens. He could head us from miles. Mostly though, the public gets really confused when lights come on behind them. Its easier to proceed at a high rate of speed without lights.

Q: Don Daniels wondered about the rash of active shooters? 

A: Since our officers were ambushed in 2009, we've increased training. We need to be proficient, but can't let it take over our lives. When officers feel comfortable and confident, they will be a better cop, and that's why he's adamant about not cutting training. Hope we never need it though.

Q: Jay Mayer inquired about Lakewood Gang activity. 

A: We have a great gang unit. We have gang members in the community, but they know to not conduct their business in Lakewood. We will be sending five officers going to Dale Carnegie training. Policing is a human relations job mostly. The better we are at interacting with citizens, the better we are at our job.

Q: Gordy Quick wondered about the impact of parents teaching their kids to be scared of the police. Is there a magic formula to teach respect?

A: Best thing we can do is be in the public and talk to people. I've been in a store buying lunch when a person in front of me tells their "snotty kid" that if they don't calm down, the police officer behind them will take them to jail. What do we say to that? To be honest, the kids aren't the problem most of the time, its the parents. We'll go shoot hoops with kids for example. Just hang out with them. Show them we are real people. Its also good for the officers, because it gives them a few moments of interacting with real people, not scum. 

Q: A question about 30-40 round clips. What's the opinion?. 

A: Don't see a need for these high volume clips. Let's sprinkle in some common sense. If someone is hell bent on creating havoc... they will.

Sidebar: Was with family in British Columbia a while back. He had to take his daughter to the emergency room. The doctor asked Bret where he was from and what he did. The doctor responded with a sniggering about all the gun violence. But Farrar noted 22 stabbing victims in his three hours in the emergency room.

Q: Steve Mazoff asked for a comment on stop and frisk. 

A: As long as used to make sure there aren't weapons... it's fine. We, LPD, should be able to assure there aren't weapons we may have to deal with in a given situation.

Q: Mike McGowan asked about the business community, which spends a lot on security.

A: LPD has a lot of business connections and often accesses the closed circuit video. In fact, we have a program where a business operator can call if they have a shoplifter in custody to inquire about warrants.

Q: Chris Kimball wondered whether the media is fair when reporting? 

A: Fair when the whole story is told. This is a dirty business. A certain amount of fear is healthy. The movie industry doesn't help us. He does reach out to the media on good stuff, but they often aren't interested.

Q: Rick Selden asked about JBLM relationship. Who has jurisdiction? 

A: On base JBLM has jurisdiction, off base, LPD does. Good relationship. We're training Community Oriented Policing so army cops can take to Afghanistan to train their police force.

Q: Cindy Thompson asked for an opinion on the local Native Americans wanting their own police and court system. 

A: Fine with me. They should be able to arrest, try and jail. They have to be willing to absorb the associated cost. The problem occurs when they pay little into off sovereign land infrastructure but call for help when trouble breaks out.

Q: Your scribe wondered about police cars on the sidewalk in front of Clover Park High School. Is that a good message to send?

A: The location is coordinated between SRO and principal. Then noted, "We haven't had any shootings at CP." Followed by much laughter. OK Chief, point taken.

Q: An opinion of the legalization of dope? 

A: We'll be right back in the same boat. Costco will sell huge bails for $65, Bob on the corner for $50 but not pay taxes. Then the state will be after us to go after Bob for tax evasion.

Q: Cindy Thompson wondered about... 3 strikes. Is it working? 

A: For those locked up, it is a huge deterant. Nobody thinks they will be caught. But is undecided about mandatory sentencing. Discretion is a good thing.

Q: Fae Crabill asked about the City's crime rate? 

A: When first established, Lakewood experienced 12-15 homicides per year. Lately, it is 1-2 per year with 2011 as homicide free. 

President Reames then closed the meeting with a ring of the bell... but wasn't finished. The drawing for a chance to win $882 was then conducted. With just three white and one red chip, the winning ticket holder had pretty good odds. As luck would have it, Fae Crabill held the winning ticket and pulled... WHITE. Next week, two white... one red.