News / Events
2014 News Archive
Dec 26 - Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office Award Recipients
The Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office is pleased to announce the 2014 Deputy of the Year, the 2014 Corrections Officer of the Year, and four Life-Saving Awards earned in 2014.
Congratulations go to:
- 2014 Deputy of the Year Richard Schram,
- 2014 Corrections Officer of the Year Kevan Gifford, and
- 2014 Life-Saving Award Recipients Sgt. Bob Clendaniel, Deputy Luke Watson, Deputy Richard Schram, & Deputy James Greco.
Their dedication to our community and commitment to duty is in keeping with the highest standards of devoted public service and the Vision, Mission, and Core Values of the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office.
Dec 23 - Citizen's Academy
The Walla Walla Police Department is pleased to announce its next Law Enforcement Citizens Academy, which will begin February 3, 2015. Participants will spend about 3 hours in a class room once a week for approximately 11 weeks. This is a FREE course. Please see Press Release for addtional information about the class and a link to register on-line.
Dec 12 - Death Investigation
Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to a rport of a potential self-inflicted gunshot wound on Coppei Avenue in Waitsburg at 23:51 on 12/11/2014. Upon arriving on scene they found the deceased body of Sonny J. Morrow. No indications of foul play have been discovered at this point in the ongoing investigation.
Kindly refer questions to Sheriff John Turner at (509) 524-5400.
Dec 5 - Local Man Killed During Early Morning Shooting
Walla Walla Police are investigating the shooting death of Salvador Angel Gonzalez-Urincho, 25, of Walla Walla. The shooting occurred just before 3:00 a.m. this morning at an apartment in the 200 block of N. 5th Avenue. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Dec 1 - WWPD Raises Over $2,400 for American Cancer Society
Employees of the Walla Walla Police Department have raised $2,456, with a few last minute donations coming in this week, as part of "No Shave November". All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.
More than a dozen PD employees took part in this event. Following are the "before" and "after" photos:
Nov 14 - Slick Roads Create Hazardous Driving Conditions
Walla Walla Officers responded to 21 collisions in the City during a 5-hour period beginning shortly after 1:00 p.m. yesterday. None of the collisions involved serious injuries. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Nov 3 - "Battle of the Badge" Seeking Non-Profits for Game Proceeds
The 3rd annual “Battle of the Badge” charity baseball game will be held at Borleske Stadium the evening of May 30, 2015.
This year’s game, which was held on May 31st and won by the Fire Team, raised $25,000 for local non-profit service organizations. The winning team receives 60% of the game proceeds for their charity, while the losing team receives 40%. The teams have each won the coveted trophy once. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Nov 3 - Crime Prevention Coordinator Wins Award
Vicki Ruley, Crime Prevention Coordinator for the Walla Walla Police Department, was awarded the Crime Prevention Practitioner of the Year award by the Washington State Crime Prevention Association, during a special ceremony at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Oct 31 - No Shave November
Members of the Walla Walla Police Department and Dispatch are taking a break from shaving to help fight cancer for the next month during “No Shave November”. The idea was formed in 2009 that rather than spending money on shaving or hair removal for one month, people could donate that money to help fight cancer. Nearly 1.5 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year.
The Police Department’s goal is to raise $1,000. To donate to their team, or start your own, you can sign up and/or donate here: http://bit.ly/ZOMva9 . WWPD challenges other regional law enforcement agencies to meet or beat our goal.
Oct 16 - Sheriff Turner receives Gubernatorial Appointment
The Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office is pleased to share the gubernatorial appointment of Sheriff John Turner as a Criminal Justice Training Commission member. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Oct 16 - One Suspect Arrested after Wednesday Night Robbery
Dylan Cayne Arland, 23, was arrested early this morning following an armed robbery at a residence in the 400 block of Harrison Street.
Arland and another suspect (whose name isn't being released at this time) entered the residence at about 11:20 p.m. and pointed a handgun at the head of one of the residents. The men demanded Marijuana and tobacco. They fled in a dark colored pickup without any shots being fired. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Oct 2 - Robbery Servicios Latinos
Detectives are investigating the armed robbery of Servicios Latinos, 925 W. Main Street, Wednesday at 7:50 p.m. Two masked Hispanic males came into the store, one of which was armed with a handgun, and demanded money. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Oct 1 - Sharp Increase in Vehicle Thefts
The police department has taken reports on 12 motor vehicle thefts during the month of September, including four reported within seven hours on September 30th. There were five vehicle thefts reported during September, 2013. Please see Press Release for additional information. To avoid being a victim, also see Stop Vehicle Prowling tips from the WWPD.
Sept 22 - Boat Collision
On September 21, 2014, at approximately 5:13 AM, the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a boating collision on the Snake River, about a half mile east of the Ice Harbor Dam. The responding deputies were further advised that a barge had collided into a small pleasure craft. Walla Walla Deputies Richard Schram and Jim Greco launched the Sheriff’s vessel and hurried to the scene. Upon arrival, the deputies pulled Robert McCollum, 64, of Kennewick, from the 68 degree water. The two other passengers, both juveniles, were able to swim to shore. Please see Press Release for additional information and photo.
Updated 09/22/14 at 4:00 pm - The Sheriff's Office would like to acknowledge and thank College Place Fire Department Volunteer Firefighter/EMT Rick Guse for his assistance in this water rescue. Mr. Guse identified himself to deputies as an EMT and volunteered to help. Mr. Guse was on the WWSO boat with Deputies Greco and Schram and assisted in the rescue of Mr. McCollum. His willingness to help is appreciated.
Sept 22 - Custody Jail Death
Press Release from Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office - We are saddened to advise that a 32 year old female passed away while in custody at the Walla Walla County Corrections facility late Sunday night September 21, 2014. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Sept 5 - Crime Free Rental Housing - Property Management Training Seminar
The Walla Walla Police Department will be holding a FREE seminar for all landlords, property managers, and tenants who wish to learn more about the Crime Free Rental Housing program. Training dates are October 14, 16, 21 and 23. Please see Press Release and Agenda as well as our Programs page for additional information.
Aug 25 - Pickpockets Reported in Downtown Area
Walla Walla Police Department has issued a safety alert regarding recent reports of pickpockets in the downtown area. Please see Press Release for tips on how to portect yourself.
Aug 18 - Investigation Continues into Friday's Shooting Death
Detectives are continuing their investigation into the shooting death of 20-year-old Ramiro Lopez Jr. The Walla Walla resident died Friday morning from a single gunshot wound to the head. The shooting took place at a residence in the 300 block of West Chestnut Street. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jul 21- Home Targeted in Sunday Evening Shooting
Walla Walla police are investigating a Sunday evening drive-by shooting in the 1000 block of West Alder. There are no known injuries from the shooting, but one home was struck by several bullets.
Police are actively investigating leads and interviewing witnesses. There are no other details at this time.
Jul 1- 4th of July Traffic Plan
The Independence Day fireworks display will be held once again at Walla Walla Community College, in the field between the Dietrich Dome and Tausick Way. Last year’s display brought thousands of spectators to the site, causing traffic to back up for over one hour at the conclusion of the show. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jul 1- Wescom Pink Stork Award
On 6-30-2014, WESCOM Emergency Services Dispatcher KRIS KERR was inducted into the order of the PINK STORK for his efforts in helping to deliver a bouncing baby girl via telephone on June 17 at approximately 3:30AM. The pin was presented by WESCOM Public Safety Communications Manager Steven R. Ruley.
While Kris handled the Emergency Medical Instructions, his partner MICHELLE LONG immediately dispatched the Walla Walla Fire Department ambulance. This is the only “on-phone” baby delivery in the past several years, and we are very happy that Kris, with the assistance of Michelle, was there to handle the arrival of this precious new life into our community.
Jun 30 - WWPD and Crime Watch Seeking Vendors for National Night Out
Walla Walla Area Crime Watch is looking for vendors to participate in this years National Night Out Against Crime to be held at Pioneer Park on Tuesday, August 5th. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 30 - Police Station Bond Funds Returned to Citizens
The City of Walla Walla Finance Department has announced that $480,000 will be returned to city of Walla Walla property tax payers in 2015 in the form of a partial property tax holiday. This results from excess funds from the $11,595,000 Walla Walla Police Station Bond issue approved by voters in 2009. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 27 - Arrest Made in Banner Bank Robbery
The Banner Bank branch at 600 S 9th Avenue was the scene of an afternoon robbery today at 2:51 p.m. Paul A. Schneider, 60, was taken into custody less than 20 minutes later. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 23 - DUI Emphasis Patrols Over July 4th Weekend
The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many Americans. Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties and fireworks. For many people, the celebration includes alcohol, but the holiday can quickly go from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 13 - Police to Step Up Enforcement of Traffic Laws
Walla Walla Police Officers have been directed by the City Manager and City Council to take a “zero tolerance” approach in enforcing traffic laws after several serious collisions in recent months involving pedestrians and bicyclists being struck by vehicles. The enforcement campaign will continue through the summer and will include violations committed by pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as the motoring public. Please see Press Release for addiotional information. Also, please see bicycle laws article below.
Jun 9 - Chase Explosion
A large explosion in the basement of a rental property at 517 Chase Avenue seriously injured two men this afternoon at 3:28 p.m. It is believed the explosion was the result of a process to extract Hash oil from Marijuana. The process involves the use of butane, which is extremely flammable. An on-duty police officer was within 200 feet at the time of the explosion and was able to pull one of the men from the rubble. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 5 -Interrupted Burglary Leads to Arrest
An in-progress residential burglary in the 400 block of N. 5th Avenue was resolved quickly with the arrest of the suspect, Jesus Sosa Pavon, 19, 800 Clay St.
The caller reported the burglary to 9-1-1 at 10:26 this morning. The first officer arriving in the area observed the suspect, later identified as Pavon, jump into the victim’s 2000, Ford Expedition, and speed away. Pavon, who is believed to have stolen the vehicle earlier in the day, drove a short distance before abandoning the vehicle on Oak Street and fleeing on foot. Officers and County Deputies quickly set up a perimeter around a several block area and brought in a WWSO K-9 to search. At 10:40, Pavon was taken into custody without incident by a PD Officer in the 700 block of N 7th.
Pavon was interviewed and later lodged at the County Jail on Residential Burglary and Motor Vehicle Theft charges. Pavon had just been released from jail yesterday after being arrested previously for possessing a stolen vehicle from California.
Jun 4 - Police Investigating Evening Gunfire
Detectives are investigating a report of several shots being fired last night in the area of 1st Avenue and Chestnut Street. Several calls came in to 9-1-1 around 7:40 p.m., reporting 4-5 shots heard in the area and subjects running from the scene. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 1 - Rival Gang Fight Leads to Serious Injury
Four suspects are in custody this afternoon following a gang fight at the Walla Walla Farmers Co-op Cenex convenience store at 706 W. Rose. WWPD Officers responded to the call at 7:54 this morning. It started when a known gang member was waiting to pump gas while his friends were inside the store. He was confronted by 4 rival gang members and a fight ensued. As the incident continued his friends came out to assist. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jun 5 - Update: Detectives have recovered a sawed-off shotgun and handgun from vehicles involved in the gang fight in the Cenex parking lot Sunday morning. One firearm was found in each of the vehicles driven by the rival gang members. The vehicles were impounded after they were attempting to leave the area after the fight. Please see Press Release for additional information.
May 30 - Bicycle Laws
The Walla Walla Police Department wants to remind motorists to be watchful of bicyclists as riding weather improves and to remind bicyclists of their responsibilities when it comes to obeying the “rules of the road”. Please see Press Release for additional information.
May 26 - Home Hit by Gunfire in Sunday Morning Shooting
WWPD Press Release: Walla Walla Detectives are investigating an early morning report of shots fired in the 200 block of Eagan Ave. The call came in to 9-1-1 at 12:22 a.m. on Sunday. Investigating officers and detectives recovered shell casings and bullet fragments from at least 2 different weapons. One home is believed to have been targeted and was struck several times. There were no injuries reported.
Detectives working the case have little information and no motive for the shooting or suspect descriptions at this time. They request anyone with information to call Dispatch at 527-1960, or during regular business hours, 527-4434.
May 24 - Fatal Traffic Accident
The Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office is extremely saddened to notify you of this report.
Deputies from the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a possible traffic collision in the area of 3900 Mill Creek Road on Sunday May 25, 2014 at approximately 3:00 am. Please see Press Release for additional information.
May 23 - Second Annual Battle of the Badge
Pre-game ticket sales for the 2nd annual “Battle of the Badge” charity baseball game have outpaced last year’s sales with over 1,900 tickets sold to date. Seating capacity at Borleske Stadium is 2,374. Last year’s game raised $24,000 for local charities in front of a sold-out crowd. This year’s game is on Saturday, May 31st, at 7:05 p.m. Please see Press Release for additional information.
May 3 - Graffiti Abatement
Our graffiti abatement team was out today with assistance from The Jubilee Leadership Academy. These kids worked hard and were well behaved. If you have a job that needs to be done and need assistance, please contact Jorge G. Ybarra at The Jubilee Ranch (509) 749-2103, www.jlacademy.org or on Facebook Work is provided at no charge but they gladly accept donations.
Apr 18 - Second Annual Battle of The Badge
Local law enforcement and firefighters will be competing for bragging rights during the 2nd annual “Battle of the Badge” charity baseball game on Saturday, May 31st, 7:05 p.m. at Borleske Stadium. Last year’s game raised $24,000 for local charities in front of a near sell-out crowd, with Law Enforcement stomping out Fire 9-5! Please see Press Release for additional information.
Apr18 - WWPD Updates Mission Statement and Patrol Vehicles
The department is updating its Mission Statement as well as replacing its fleet of Patrol vehicles. During 2013, two employee committees worked on selecting and outfitting new patrol vehicles and updating the department’s mission statement.
The police department’s fleet of patrol vehicles is being replaced over the next several weeks after nearly 4 years of use. The Ford Crown Victorias, each with well over 100,000 miles, are being replaced with Ford Police SUVs. The department sets money aside each year in a vehicle replacement fund to ensure funds are available when the cars need to be replaced. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Apr 15 - SWAT Team Receives New Armored Vehicle
The Walla Walla Police Department has received a new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Armored Vehicle from the Department of Defense. The vehicle will be used by the Emergency Services Unit SWAT Team during training exercises and high risk operations.
The MRAP gives the Team a level of protection previously unavailable, providing full armor to enhance the safety of members as they are delivered directly to the scene of volatile situations involving potentially armed suspects. It will also allow for the safe evacuation of citizens from a scene in the event of an active shooter incident.
The cost of the MRAP to the City was $6,900, to cover the cost of transporting the vehicle to Walla Walla from Texas. The sales price to the US Army was $733,000. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Mar 25 - WWPD Receives Grant
The Walla Walla Police Department has received nearly $5,000 from the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, to promote community awareness of crime victims’ rights and services during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Please see Press Release for additional information. Also see Whitman College Press Release regarding the Walla Walla Valley Violence Prevention Conference on Thursday.
Mar 20 - Chief for a Day Nominations
Walla Walla Area Crime Watch is accepting nominations for this years Chief for a Day program. This is an opporunity to celebrate the lives of children living in our community who have a disability and/or chronic illness. nominations from family, teachers, neighbors and friends are welcome. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Mar 20 - Increased Parking Signage
From the WWPD - The City’s Public Works Department has increased signage inside the downtown 2-hour parking zone to eliminate any confusion about the area covered by the ordinance. Placement of street-level signs has greatly improved the recognition of these locations with parking restrictions. Parking Enforcement Officer Amy Harris stated “With these new signs in place, anywhere you park within the 2-hour zone, there is a sign clearly visible.” Please see map of 2 hour parking areas which includes a penalty schedule.
Mar 20 - Police Officer Applicant Testing
The City of Walla Walla will no longer conduct the testing to establish initial rankings for applicants who wish to become Police Officers for the City. An agreement has been signed with Public Safety Testing to conduct the written and physical ability portions of the testing process. For additional information about upcoming testing for Entry Level and Lateral Police Officers please see Press Release.
Mar 18 - Retired Sheriff J. Michael Humphreys
The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office is very sad to inform you that Honorably Retired Sheriff J. Michael Humphreys passed away on Monday March 17, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mike Humphreys started his law enforcement career in 1973 as a Reserve Police Officer with the Spokane Police Department, graduating from the first reserve academy held for that agency. In 1976 he became a Deputy Sheriff with the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office. Mike worked his way up through the ranks working Patrol, as Detective including undercover narcotics investigations, as a Sergeant, and as a Captain. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Mar 5 - Letter of Commendation to SAR's Team
On February 25, 2014, at approximately 1700 hours, members of the Walla Walla Police Department requested the assistance of the Sheriff's Office, regarding a runaway female. The female, who purportedly suffered from mental and emotional issues, had run away from her group home at 15 West Morton Street. What made the situation more dire was the fact that the outside temperature was roughly 25 degrees and she had left the group home wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Exposure to the elements with such scant clothing, put her at a greater risk of hypothermia. The Police Department had tried desperately to find her; however, she was nowhere to be found. After hours of searching, the Police Department requested the assistance of the Walla Walla County Search and Rescue team. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Feb 19 - Early Morning SWAT Raid
SWAT Team members from the City/County Emergency Services Unit forced entry into a rental property early this morning to serve a search warrant related to drug activity. The warrant was served at about 6:45 this morning at 1032 Valencia and resulted in the arrests of three subjects. Plese see the Press Release for additional information.
Feb 20 - Gang Call-In
When: Tuesday, March 25th
What time: 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Where: St. Patrick's Church Blanchet Hall
Dessert will be provided.
We all have the freedom in this country to choose the path we want our lives to take. Anyone choosing the life of a gang member severely limits their life options.
On Tuesday March 25th our local law enforcement leaders are extending an invitation to gang-affected youth and their families to join them in a safe open conversation about the positive life options available to them. Local service providers and organizations will be on hand to present information about the services they provide and how they can help you attain the best life possible.
In order to keep this a positive, non-threatening event, we are welcoming any and all Florencia 13 members, associates and their families to join us at this particular event. Let us help you start on your path to a better life. Please see the flyer. (Por favor, consulte el folleto.)
Feb 19 - Congratulations Deputy Romine
We extend a deep and heartfelt thank you to Deputy Jim Romine for his dedication and 37 years of service to the Walla Walla Community and wish him all of the very best in his retirement. (Please click on his name above to hear the message to him from dispatch.)
Feb 10 - Traffic Safety Task Force
Following is an email sent from Chief Scott Bieber to the Commissioners of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, regarding the pending decision to eliminate funding for Traffic Safety Task Force Managers (referred to as Target Zero Managers) in many rural areas of the State. Areas where over half of our traffic fatalities occur each year.
Chief Bieber's email is being shared with his permission:
Dear Washington State Traffic Safety Commission Members:
Please find attached a January 9, 2014 letter written to you and WTSC Director Grondel regarding the impending reorganization of the Target Zero Manager (TZM) program throughout Washington State. Rather than repeat what is outlined in the letter, I think you’ll see that the numbers in Walla Walla County speak to the success of the long-standing programs our Target Zero Manager has been promoting throughout the Walla Walla Valley.
I always worry when the buzz words of the day are being used to help justify the next great idea. LEAN and data driven strategies are great, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. One size does NOT fit all. Granted, some of the programs that work in Walla Walla may not work in more populated areas like the Puget Sound, which is why when applying data to decision making we must take a close look at the two essentials that validate any data: sample and method. Data alone doesn’t help us make the right decision.
I’m challenging the Traffic Safety Commission to take a closer look at each area of the state specifically in order to determine what will work best for those areas. In Walla Walla we are proud of the programs put on by our TZM and believe the results speak for themselves.
Thank you for your time.
Chief of Police
Walla Walla, WA
Jan 28 - Battle of the Badge Seeking Nominations
The 2nd annual “Battle of the Badge” charity baseball game will be held at Borleske Stadium the evening of May 31st. Last year’s game, won by the Law Enforcement team, raised over $24,000 for local non-profit service organizations. The winning team receives 60% of the game proceeds for their charity, while the losing team receives 40%. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jan 27 - Illegal Street Drugs Laced with Fentanyl
Walla Walla Police are warning intravenous drug users that the drug Fentanyl has been found during local police investigations of illegal drug sales. Drug Detectives from the City’s Special Teams Unit have confirmed through the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab that street drugs sold locally have contained this extremely potent pain killer. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jan 20 - WWSO Arrests Fugitives from Idaho
On January 20, 2014 at approximately 7:49 AM, a citizen reported that she had been perusing Facebook and read that two individuals had escaped from an Idaho penal institution. The citizen said she pulled into the Zip-Zone Market at 110 South 9th Street, Walla Walla, and observed two young men in a vehicle with Idaho license plates. The citizen decided to contact law enforcement and report her sighting. Dispatchers ran the license plate provided by the citizen and determined the vehicle was a reported stolen out of Idaho. Further inquiry revealed the stolen vehicle was related to the two Idaho escapees. Officers were immediately dispatched to the Zip-Zone Market; however, the vehicle had already left the area. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jan 16 - Death Investigation
On January 14, 2014, shortly after 11:30 AM, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the residence at 19391 East Highway 12, Waitsburg, regarding a possible overdose. When deputies arrived, they encountered two unresponsive individuals in one of the bedrooms, a male and a female. Paramedics were requested to the scene. Upon arrival, it was determined the female was deceased, but the male was still alive. The female was identified as Mariah Hofer, 20, of Waitsburg and the male was identified as Richard Perez, 26, of Walla Walla. Perez was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center for treatment. Perez is still receiving treatment at St. Mary’s. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jan 7 - Murder Suspect Arrested in Spokane
A Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office investigation has identified 17 year old Carlos Valdez as the primary murder suspect in the shooting death of Yesica Olivos, a 20 year old Hispanic female resident of Walla Walla. An arrest warrant for Valdez charging Murder in the First Degree was obtained by WWSO detectives from Walla Walla County Superior Court today, Tuesday January 7, 2014. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jan 4 - Death Investigation Deemed a Homicide
The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the homicide of Yesica Olivos, a 20 year old Hispanic female resident of Walla Walla. Please see Press Release for additional information.
Jan 3 - Dead Body Investigation Along County Road
The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the discovery of a body near the intersection of Mojonnier and Beet Roads. The body appears to be that of a female Hispanic, approximately 20 to 30 years of age. Please see Press Releasefor additional information.