Letters to the Editor

Federal Way police chief's collision | Federal Way letters, April 2

Police chief has some explaining

Maybe Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson should get an award for his actions at the scene of the collision.

It seems that every media outlet has tripped over themselves attempting to thank Chief Wilson for “being honest?” Should we have accepted something less? He was wrong, at fault, guilty, and maybe not as honest as you are trying to make him out to be.

How about doing a little reporting and investigating, instead of accepting everything said, at face value. Was it an accident, absolutely?

So many officers before him told the truth at their accidents and failed to receive the high praise the media has given Wilson. As a matter of fact, their accidents likely cost their families more than $500 in grocery money that month if they received the usual suspension that goes along with the accident.

An investigative reporter might have asked a few simple questions, like these:

• This accident happened on March 18. The report was completed on that day. Why did it take eight days for a press release to be generated? More importantly, why the release at all? It’s a minor accident, one of many happening all day and night long?

• Why does the accident report, and Wilson’s statement, fail to report that he was using the Internet phone when the collision occurred? The traffic officer reports that “Wilson took his eyes off the road (looking down) when moving forward.” He quotes Wilson as saying D-1 (Wilson) said he looked down for a second, and his vehicle collided with V-2 (other car).

That’s not the same story that was reported eight days later in the press release. Without that release, the true cause of the collision would never have been reported.

Now the really big question: Why? Press releases are generally sent out the day of the “newsworthy” event. Either Wilson omitted the truth from the traffic officer taking the report, or the traffic officer failed to include the true cause of the accident in his report.

Either way, the cat was let out of the bag, thus we receive your “super hero” press release in today’s paper. By the way, I personally challenge Chief Wilson’s honesty that he only took his foot off the brake. Our intersections in Federal Way are monitored by video cameras. I encourage any interested citizen to watch this video closely. (As well as look at the reports offered with the press release.)

After the car in front of Wilson moves forward about 20 feet, Wilson accelerates just enough for the front of his vehicle to rise up from the inertia. That does not happen at idle speed in a modern Chevy Impala. I tested this theory. So Chief Wilson must have simply forgot to tell the traffic officer that after he took his foot off the brake, he pushed the accelerator just a little bit.

Regardless, the law does exempt officers from the infraction if this happens during the performance of their duty. I’m not sure if reading the “headline” news is official enough, but I doubt any officers want to challenge the law. But for the record, there were two separate infractions here:

1. Speed too fast for conditions, and

2. Using an electronic device while driving (secondary offense).

There may be an integrity violation mixed up in this case as well. Looking at all of the memos and reports, nothing about using the Internet while driving is mentioned as the cause of the collision? Not even in the accident review board’s report.

Robert J. Piel, Federal Way

Chief owes me an explanation

My name is Julie Vance and I have been a resident of Federal Way for over 45 years.

During this time, I have had a completely clean driving record. My clean driving record can also include my 35 years working as a letter carrier for both the Auburn and Federal Way post offices.

On March 19, 2009, my clean record was tarnished when I was pulled over by a Federal Way police officer for exceeding the speed limit. The officer wrote me up a ticket without a warning, a reprimand or any chance of explanation whatsoever. My fine was $154 or plead my case before a judge. My choices where having it go on my record or pay $175 and go to classes to keep it off my record. Pretty hard on a senior citizen with a fixed income who makes every attempt to be a law-abiding citizen and active in her local community.

A couple of days later, I read an article in the Federal Way Mirror that Police Chief Brian Wilson, on March 18, was stopped at a red light whilst checking his BlackBerry. Chief Wilson took his foot off his brake, still looking at his BlackBerry, assuming that traffic had begun to move and ended up rear-ending the person in front of him. Wilson admitted he had violated the exemption for law enforcement officers to use such devices while driving. He received nothing more than a verbal reprimand.

I would like the Federal Way Police Department to explain to me why Chief Wilson, who is supposed to be held to a higher standard and example because of his position, merely receives a verbal reprimand while I, a law-abiding, responsible citizen of this community for over 45 years having a spotless record, am discriminated against? Does the Federal Way Police Department have a policy where their own employees can break the law without repercussion while a senior citizen with a clean record is discriminated against?

I would like the Federal Way Police Department to explain this to me. Chief Wilson was in an accident and got nothing more than what you call “a reprimand.” Surely, my offense was much less, yet you discriminate. I am owed an explanation.

Julie L. Vance, Federal Way

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