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University Place Police Department April 21, 2017

University Place Police responded to what was reported as a burglary in-progress. A neighbor reported seeing two subjects enter a vacant home. The neighbor thought the house was vacant but did not know the house had been paid for in cash two months prior. Officers detained a subject pending their investigation and also found a large-scale marijuana grow. A narcotics team from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at the residence and found 660 mature marijuana plants, as well as an elaborate lighting and ventilation system. The entire residence was modified to support the operation, including water delivery and a modified power source. An assortment of chemicals and nutrients were being used to nurture the plants in all stages of growth and fungicides were being used to combat infestation. There was also a fungicide present, which has been banned for use on marijuana in both Washington and Colorado. The suspect was booked into the Pierce County Jail for the unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance. The residence was seized by the team for being an illegal production site.
Just after midnight, a University Place Police Officer was recently waiting for a red light at 35th Street and Bridgeport Way. The officer was on routine patrol driving his marked police car and wearing his full uniform. Just prior to impact, he saw headlights approaching him from behind and was unable to attempt any evasive actions. The vehicle slammed into his rear bumper. The officer exited his patrol vehicle and heard the suspect’s vehicle revving her engine. The officer approached the vehicle and saw the female driver trying to manipulate the gear shift of her car. She did not respond the officer. He opened her car door and ordered her to stop. He saw that her vehicle was in reverse and he reached in and shut her car off. She looked at him and said “I’m only a block from home.” She kept repeating this to the officer who noted her speech was slurred and she smelled strongly of liquor. A Washington State Patrol Trooper processed the woman for drunken driving. Her blood alcohol content was .206, two and a half times over the legal limit. This was the second time in the last year that an on-duty University Place Police Officer had been rear ended by a drunken driver.


Four West Pierce Fire & Rescue personnel were recognized and received accolades by Chief Jim Sharp at as Board of Fire Commissioners meeting for their heroic actions, all while off-duty.

First, Captain Garret Smith received a merit award for his assistance to a Tacoma police officer who was struggling with a man. Smith recognized this as he was driving by, stopped and assisted the office and another off-duty police officer to restrain the man. Another merit award was given to firefighter Troy Heidal who was attending Firefighter/Paramedic the birthday party of Rob Mayzak’s daughters. During the party, one of Mayzak’s family members suddenly fell to the ground from her chair. Mayzak and Heidal quickly recognized the woman was in cardiac arrest and jumped into action until Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One arrived and transported her. At the meeting, Mayzak stood in front of the board and described the day’s events to the crowd and thanked Heidal for his help. Finally, Captain Mark Tinsley and Firefighter Jonathan Tinsley were recognized for their actions while out with their families one afternoon in Thurston County. The Tinsleys were sitting in a parking lot near a gas station when they noticed a man acting strangely walking nearby. The man then approached a woman who was pumping gas, punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground. The woman’s husband ran to help her, where the man punched him in the face, also knocking him down. At this point, Jonathan ran to the gas station and tackled the man, where he kept him subdued until police arrived. Police asked Jonathan to keep the man down until additional officers were able to assist. Mark called 9-1-1 as the situation unfolded and kept Jonathan’s children safe, who were with them at the time of the incident. This award marks Jonathan’s third Valor award and Mark received a letter of commendation for heroic actions.