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West Seattle Herald
Seattle+, Washington
January 10, 2011     West Seattle Herald
An open letter to Chief Diaz
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January 10, 2011

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An open letter to Chief Diaz | West Seattle Herald / White Center News Skip to Main Content Area Tuesday, September 20, 2016 | Clear sky, 55.4 °F search Letters Sign in Subscribe Contact Us Front Page News Features Sports Opinion Police Blotter West Seattle neighbors putting up a fight to protect ponderosa pine By Lindsay Peyton The ponderosa pine located in the middle of ... Controversial homeless shelter angers White Center residents at meeting By Lindsay Peyton A proposed temporary emergency overnight ... Westside-O-Rama West Seattle Entertainment Guide Admiral Theater 2343 California Ave. S.W. 938-3456 Movie ... Foster dominates Evergreen 48-0 By Tim Clinton SPORTS EDITOR Blessing Leiato and Isaiah Ferrer ... Police Blotter Week of 1-10-11 Last weekend at a grocery store in the Westwood Village on s.w. ... Opinion An open letter to Chief Diaz West Seattle once had a hospital at the Junction Cutting classes at the newly built Highline High What it means to 'Shop Local"? The thanks go to you this Thanksgiving We owe a debt of gratitude for those who protect and serve In Your Dreams Our election recommendations for Nov. 2, 2010 McGinn deserves support for his opposition to the tunnel cost overruns West Seattle Chamber of Commerce: The Deep Bore Tunnel must be built Commuting by bicycle from West Seattle; I told you so Jackie Lewis' Highline schools story twists and turns Cruising on the River Hospital Hangover The 'Road Diet' is no failure; It works Misadventures at Humpback Lake My father's Chair Where are our priorities? Do we really need a water taxi? New Treatments and New Taxes Make Now the Time to Quit Tobacco Troubling Seattle Rain The Power of the Idea Don’t Forget to Remember Big Steps Get better King County Government by offering your voice Mother-Wise An open letter to Chief Diaz And the response from the S.W. Precinct Captain 01/10/2011 Open Letter to Chief Diaz At about 10:15 a.m. on November 30th I was traveling Westbound on the West Seattle bridge and noticed a car on the Eastbound side stopped precariously in the merging triangle. The car had its emergency lights flashing and because the merging triangle was unusually narrow, the car was startling the triangle lines while partially blocking the right lane of the bridge and the merging lane from Avalon Way. I saw that the car was occupied, but given that there was no safe place for me to stop, I continued on my way. I had time to go to the junction Safeway for some groceries, buy lunch and drop off the produce at our Genesee home, when my wife called and asked if I had time to meet her for lunch in Tukwila. On my way Eastbound across the bridge more than an hour later, I was shocked to see the same car, still occupied, parked in the same precarious position with traffic bowing around it. Even though there was absolutely no shoulder to speak of, I made the decision to stop. The occupant of the disabled car was an elderly grandpa - he had to have been over 80 years old, somewhat disabled in the way that he walked, a bit panicked and confused. His car got a flat tire just as he entered the bridge. He tried to drive slowly on the flat, but the tire had disintegrated to the point where his bear rim just spun inside rubber tread and he was unable to drive the car any farther. He told me that he did not have a cell phone and had been sitting in this condition for over an hour hoping that a police car would stop to help him, but they all just passed him by. Imagine yourself in this situation. Your car is broken down, there is no shoulder - your best bet to get out of the way of traffic is to enter the merging triangle, but it is too narrow. The rain is pouring hardest that it has in recent months. There is no space to walk away from traffic to safety and being elderly you are not able to walk very far anyway. You sit in your car, hoping that people can see you and just wait for anyone to help you out. But the people whose motto is, “To Protect and Serve” are just passing you by as if you were not there! I helped the man maneuver the car to the “bus only” merging lane where he was much safer and no longer blocking the main traffic and at his request dialed a tow truck company - this was at 11:45 a.m. Shortly thereafter no fewer than 3 fire department trucks arrived with lights blazing at the scene - someone passing by must have thought that we had an accident and dialed 911. Explaining the situation to the firemen, I left the grandpa in their care. What frustrated me beyond belief is that this man spent over an hour in danger of either being plowed into, or causing accident to vehicles that had to swerve around him. There can be no doubt whatsoever that during this time he was passed by multiple Seattle PD and other police units and not a single one bothered stopping in the pouring rain to render assistance! This is outrageous! I have at one time counted nine units of SPD writing tickets on that same stretch of roadway; they zig-zag the bridge all the time. Could it be that between the ticket quotas placed on the officers and the heavy rain, none of them wanted to get out of their cruiser to see if someone needed help? Why is it that SPD does not have “assist quotas” as the police do in other parts of the country? Tigran Varosyan West Seattle In response to the Open Letter: The Seattle Police Department and Southwest Precinct received a copy of the complainant’s letter several weeks ago. As a matter of practice, the Southwest Precinct immediately looked into the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue of concern. If we, (Seattle Police had erred, we would take complete responsibility/ownership and take steps to correct the problem). The Seattle Police Traffic Section regularly conducts traffic enforcement on the West Seattle Freeway due to complaints of excessive speed as well as to decrease the number of traffic collisions on this major roadway. The Southwest Precinct patrol officers do access the roadway in response to 911 calls for assistance for collisions or for disabled vehicles.. On this particular date and time, the Seattle Police Traffic Section (separate from the Southwest Precinct) was not deployed in this area nor were there any calls to assist a stranded motorist. We have no information or facts to support that officers had driven by without lending assistance. Seattle Police did not receive a 911 call to respond to the disabled motorist. We are sorry that the stranded gentleman had to wait an hour for assistance given he had no access to a telephone or that passerby’s may have assumed he was getting assistance. We encourage our motorists to call 911 if they believe that police may be needed to assist in any matter. Sincerely, Captain Steven Paulsen Seattle Police Southwest Precinct We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed. View the discussion thread. Please send us your news tips, photos or ideas of how we can better cover your neighborhood. Email us at or TEXT news tips to 206-459-6717 Receive updates on news and events in the West Seattle neighborhood via Twitter! Web development by Freelock Computing © 2016 Robinson Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved. 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