A Ride-Along with Spokane County Sheriff's Office | Crime
I spent my Thursday evening with Deputy Marc Melville as we patrolled north Spokane County from the city limits to all of unincorporated Spokane County. A quiet evening, but we took two subjects to jail and responded to a cold residential burglary that was considered a “low priority”, but we were able to pull possible evidence for analysis.
During the six and a half hour ride-along, we responded to 4 incidents including one residential burglary, one suspicious vehicle, one theft and one traffic stop. Deputies arrested two people during the ride-along. We made one trip to Spokane County Jail.
Below is a timeline of events as they happened. We were tweeting the incidents last night as well. To read the tweets as they happened, read our Storify for “Tweet-Cap: A Ride-Along with Spokane County Sheriff’s Office”. Includes photos, video and way more.
6:43 p.m. - Arrival at the Public Safety Building, the center for both the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Night shifts for the Sheriff’s deputies start at 7 p.m. There was a brief roll call that only happens about two times a week. During the shift, there were ten deputies patrolling the entire county.
7:40 p.m. - Patrol begins.
7:49 p.m. - Residential burglaries have been very high in the county so deputies are responding to a lot of them lately especially in rural parts of the county. We had a “cold” burglary call near Newman Lake that we started to respond to.
The burglary happened some time earlier, but the thieves were no longer there when the homeowner arrived. That bumps down the call to low priority which means it could take awhile for the deputy to arrive based on the level of calls that evening.
Dep. Melville says an average day consists of burglaries because they’ve been “ridiculously common” lately. Stolen guns are becoming an even more common problem.
7:53 p.m. - While en route to burglary, we were turned around to a nearby theft that may have been in progress. Complainant said thieves were stealing PVC piping from a construction site along Francis near Freya. When we arrived to the scene, we did not find anything. The call back number for the complainant was bad so we couldn’t follow up with more information.
8:03 p.m. - We continue our venture out toward Newman Lake to the residential burglary. We arrived to the scene in the 17000 block of E Scribner Road. The complainant says he left for work around 5:45 a.m. and returned around 3:25 p.m. He found the door wide open, his SUV in the driveway and his pets (a cat and a dog) hiding in the garage.
The victim reports about $10,000 of property was stolen. The thieves broke into the gun safe and stole about eight to ten guns. They missed the one under the home owner's pillow. They stole televisions, but left the one from the 1990s. Included in theft report: laptops, electric keyboard equipment and air compressor generators.
The thieves left their hand cart so Dep. Melville took that back to the Property Facility for forensic fingerprints and evidence.
10:00 p.m. - We arrived to the new Property Facility in the city limits used by both the Police and the Sheriff's Office. The warehouse is enclosed with vehicles that were involved with serious or fatal accidents. We saw the Fed Ex truck involved with the South Hill wrong-way crash in November.
Dep. Melville writes out paperwork for the evidence he's submitting. He has to place it in a fenced cage that property staff will grab in the morning by unlocking the other side.
I couldn't go into the back part of the property facility, but from beyond the caged area, I could see an array of items. It's where they store evidence and recovered property. This facility, Dep. Melville says, is way better than the other one because it's bigger and there's a bathroom that's available to graveyard officers and deputies. The previous building lacked this amenity.
10:38 p.m. - Dep. Melville wraps up paperwork at the property facility and continues his patrol. There’s no calls to respond to so he sets out on a path to patrol in search of crime.
10:41 p.m. - We stop by dispatch, the “Combined Communications Center” which covers calls from police, county and fire. The 911 call center is also located there. If you listen to a scanner, some of the dispatch voices you hear are working out of this building in east Spokane. They coordinate all the calls to law enforcement and keep track of where everyone is. Another deputy described these works as octopuses with their multitasking arms going everywhere all at once.
Dep. Melville says it’s these people that help keep them safe while on the job. They can coordinate backup if needed and run background checks while a deputy is responding to a call.
11:19 p.m. - Dep. Melville removed a dead cat from the middle of the road near Florida and Dalke. It hadn’t been dead long. It had just caught a mouse.
11:28 p.m. - We drive along north Regal near Wilding Ave. where we spot a suspicious vehicle with four occupants inside, parked outside a closed park after dark. Dep. Melville exits the vehicle to shine a flashlight inside the SUV.
Dep. Melville says there’s been a huge rash of vehicle prowling in that area lately. North of the incident location, there used to be a drug house. According to Dep. Melville: "A car with four people in it with it not running. Could be a drug deal or dropping of stolen items."
After running the occupants’ names and birth dates, it turns out two of the subjects, a man and a woman, had a warrant for their arrest. While en route to the jail, the woman says her warrant was from a theft she committed at a Safeway. She bought bread and butter, but didn’t have enough money for string cheese. So she stole it.
12:00 a.m. - We arrived to Spokane County Jail to drop off our two subjects. They were booked in without incident. While we were there, Dep. Melville gave me a tour of the booking room holding cells which was empty that evening, but apparently gets quite full on a Friday night.
In a bin, there’s a pile of shower sandals. These shoes do not make you say, "omg. shoes."
We were also shown a makeshift weapon found in an inmate’s cell. It was torn up bits of cloth wrapped up around a towel and moistened to form quite the battering weapon. Kind of like a bat with a strap to swing it around and around. It was confiscated.
12:24 a.m. - We leave the jail and begin to patrol once again.
12:29 a.m. - While driving northbound on Monroe and still in the city limits, we stop a driver for expired tabs. The vehicle belonged to the driver’s father. We let the driver go and remind him to update the tabs.
For those that care, there was a block of cheese sitting in his passenger seat.
1:25 a.m. - End ride-along