What Have You Always Wanted to Know About the Washington State Patrol?

When it comes to our highways and interstates, sometimes the rules of the road can be hard to understand. Patch wants to know, what have you always wanted to ask a Washington State Patrol officer?

It’s not every day you run into a Washington State Patrol officer and, when you do… it may not be under the best circumstances.

Patch has a meeting with WSP public information officer Guy Gill next week and he’s agreed to answer your questions about his department.

How much over the speed limit do you have to go before a trooper will pull you over on the highway?

Is it true they camp out at certain points on I-5 just to be “speed traps?”

Why do THEY get to speed?

These are just a few of my questions. I know you have more!

Leave questions in the comment section below and stay tuned for answers in an upcoming Patch article.

April Chan October 10, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Thanks, Geoff! Makes sense now with that context.
Bob McCoy October 10, 2012 at 01:40 AM
First, an anecdote: I was renewing my driver's license some years ago, and after passing the test, asked the officer behind the counter, "What is the precise rule on U-turns at (unsigned) intersections?" He replied, "That's up to the arresting officer." My questions: I-90 and I-405 have carpool lanes on the left, and the lanes are marked carpool during specified hours. The RCWs specifically state that the carpool lane is not the 'left' lane for purposes of the RCWs. 1) I-90 is posted in areas that trucks over 10,000 pounds, or vehicles with trailers, use right 2 lanes. Does that mean that the carpool lane is out of reach for those two categories of vehicles? 2) Once the carpool lane is open to all traffic (outside of carpool hours) does it become the de facto passing lane? The laws are clear that a carpool lane is not a passing lane, but once it is no longer a carpool lane, should vehicles with multiple occupants move right to keep the passing lane clear? (Courtesy doesn't seem important, here.) Finally, wouldn't it make more sense for flaggers in construction zones, or posted SLOW signs, to indicate the appropriate speed, rather than 'SLOW'? I typically have cars on my rear bumper because my slow is apparently slower than theirs, and once had a flagger give me a "slow down" sign, even though I was at about 18 MPH in a 45 zone. I understand situational awareness, but think we should be given a hint as to what is considered appropriate.
Dale Knapinski October 10, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Our roads would be safer if the cops that are stationed on road projects would actually provide traffic enforcement instead of sitting in their vehicles doing nothing. Please explain why officers are paid to sit in cars at construction projects when all it does is add to the cost of road work.
dexterjibs October 10, 2012 at 05:56 AM
I want to know why the shower heads at the WSP Academy are 8 feet tall? Do they have a height requirement and only hire people that at 6 feet 4 inches tall? And, I want a 25 year veteran to answer the question that is so burning- At what point in this country's history did people become so reliant upon government that they want law enforcement to take their prescribed medications off of their hands? And, are the American public such pansies that they cannot survive on their own without some government official rubbing their heads and telling the citizen they are so worthwhile?
dexterjibs October 10, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Kirkland Tony, after reading all the comments, and taking into consideration that I am am a conservative that is not a big fan of government, I conclude that you are incredibly ingnorant. The bottomline with you is simple-you do not want to be held accountable for anything that you do. Please stop the non sense.
dexterjibs October 10, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Leisa, the best advice I can give you is simple- do not speed and review the Revised Code of Washington, Title 46 (RCW 46). And, do not listen to idiots like Kirkland TOny. I will guarantee that you will get a ticket if you have a pee poor attitude and follow the advice of Kirkland Tony. As far as the protective dog; coming from a dog lover, you probably won't be fined for having a protective dog, but the dog could possibly be shot and killed. So, leave the dog at home. Unless, you choose to obey the rules of the road.
dexterjibs October 10, 2012 at 06:10 AM
TRoopers and other police officers do use radar after dark. DOn't know where you got that from.
dexterjibs October 10, 2012 at 06:12 AM
I think it means that the bridge you are about to cross MAY have bicyclists on it. Hecks bells I am a friggin genius. Are people in this society really that stupid? No wonder we vote idiots like Obama into the Presidency. I really fear for this country.
Jason F. October 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Hey Kirkland Tony, actually I never mentioned speeding in the post you commented on. I simply said reckless or negligent drivers that commit offenses everywhere around you or me. I would definitely consider trucks spewing rocks to be a problem. An unsecured load is a HUGE fine, so not sure why you feel that is not a good revenue generator.
Jason F. October 10, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Jason F. October 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
"Joshua, the WSP are not the police" Quite the opposite Kirkland Tony. WSP are the broadest jurisdiction law enforcement agency in Washington. They are very much police. http://law.onecle.com/washington/state-government-executive/ch43.43.html Unfortunately this conversation just took a turn for the worse. The Washington State Patrol are definitely police...to disagree with is to be rather uneducated or unable to see the red and blue lights clearly enough...
Kirkland Tony October 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Joshua, not to escalate your naive flamewar, but you really should look before you leap. Washington is run by progressive leftists who consider the RCW at most a guideline and more generally an inconvenience. Instead, look at what the agency says and does publically. The WSP has a mission statement. As with most mission statements, it puts the primary goal first and feel good platitudes later. For the WSP, Goal 1 - Make Washington roadways and ferries safe for the efficient transit of people and goods. Note the focus on "transportation." Not "law enforcement". Law enforcement is accorded equivalency in a later goal with, and I am not kidding, "fire protection" (and only one goal ahead of "Leverage technology.") Surely you won't now claim that the WSP is a statewide fire fighting force?! But just in case you do, consider the last goal: Goal 5 - Provide strong leadership and resources to foster a safe, ethical, innovative, knowledgeable, and diverse workforce. Really? This makes the top 5 of the mission statement? And presumably your claim is that the WSP is really a social engineering mechanism, formed for the purpose of redressing the ethnic/income imbalance? All the RCW says about it is that there can't be quotas. Oh yeah, and the RCW says they must be paid at least $3600/YEAR. (Three thousand six hundred dollars.) Your data is not only incorrect, but woefully out of date.
Local Guy October 10, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I have moved alongside, or ahead of, and flashed my cell phone flashlight SOS. Worked twice already...
Local Guy October 10, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Twice recently when traveling in same direction, I have moved alongside and/or ahead of, and flashed repeatedly my cell phone flashlight. Didn't get half way through morse code SOS before lights came on...
Pauline October 10, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Second that.
Pauline October 10, 2012 at 11:27 PM
If there are TWO lanes to turn right, can you turn right on a red light from either of them? Meaning, if you're in the "inside" right turn lane, can you turn right on a red light (assuming it's clear of traffic, of course!) into the "inside" lane of the street you're turning on? An example would be 2nd St coming in to Rainier Ave, just west of Renton High School.
Bob McCoy October 12, 2012 at 05:45 PM
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.100 Legislative intent -- 1986 c 93: "It is the intent of the legislature, in this 1985 [1986] amendment of RCW 46.61.100, that the left-hand lane on any state highway with two or more lanes in the same direction be used primarily as a passing lane." [1986 c 93 § 1.] As the bumper sticker said, "What would Jesus do? Jesus would keep right, except to pass." Steven, the correct method is the California method, the only requirement is to yield to oncoming traffic. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.185
Bob McCoy October 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
As noted, the WSP is the major law-enforcement agency in the state. Additionally, you may be surprised to learn that the Washington State Dept of Fish & Wildlife Police (game wardens) have general law-enforcement jurisdiction throughout the state, and can stop a driver for traffic infractions, and frequently help in investigations and arrests of more serious crimes. In spite of assertions, recently a WDFW officer pulled over a truck for spilling its load (gravel), and received a thank-you from the WSP. The WSP cannot follow every truck with a spillable load waiting for the opportunity to stop the driver. Not only do they not have enough cruisers on the road, most of the officers on duty are following Kirkland Tony in an agency directed vendetta.
Thinair October 24, 2012 at 02:22 PM
to dexterjibs, its a retard that starts the pattern of insults. i dont want to insult so ill say youre not a retard of course but why go out of you way to insult someone because you are ANGERED (clearly) by someones view point? Kirkland Tony has a point and its valid. he even provides reason and some backing and additionally has even mentioned his experience at times that i can very easily relate to. i believe we live in a time when people listen to thise who share more than those who express obvious disgruntle attitudes towards others because they dont care or listen to others. which side do you belong to? maybe you are the one you should be upset at and not kirkland tony. im just sayin thats all!
Ron Olson October 24, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Don't you just love it? Kirkland Tony, Greg Johnston, and Thinair, all have nearly identical writing styles, wording, use of punctuation, and they seem to support each other in some very unique ways. Sounds like they are triplets....or something ; > )
Greg Johnston (Editor) October 24, 2012 at 03:52 PM
What are you talking about Ron Olson? If you're suggesting we're one person using three handles, you are 300 percent wrong.
Lauren Padgett (Editor) October 24, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Just wanted to post an update on this article - we've had a lot of interest in our Q&A and when the answers will publish. I've interviewed Guy Gill and plan to publish the Q&A this week!
dexterjibs October 25, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Holy crap! Reviewing my comments, I think I had too much tequila. Geez i was a jackball leaving these comments. My apologies to everyone. Thanks for the heads up, thinair. Time to go to AA.
Ron Olson October 25, 2012 at 11:08 PM
One more comment about people using multiple "Handles or names" on the Patch. Somebody forwarded an email to me recently. It included an exchange on the Patch. One commenter accidentally gave away their idenity, and the fact that they were posting under at least one other name. It was pretty funny. I was going to forward the Email or post it, but the Patch allows people to be anonymous so that they can post things without having to answer for what they say. I'm OK with that, but we know who is behind some of the comments made here...so you're not really as anonymous as you may think.
Greg Johnston (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM
OK Ron Olson, I'm not sure who you are talking about, but since you used my name in one such post I'll tell you again. I have posted only under the name you see above. Kirkland Tony is someotherbody, not me, and I have no clue who is posting as Thinair. Any other post by you that seems to suggest I have posted using some other handle will be deleted because it is simply not true.
Jeanne Gustafson October 26, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Ron, if you have specific concerns about users abusing the platform, please email your Local Editor with the screen names you have concerns about. Greg Johnston is one of your Local Washington Editors, and certainly not commenting under an assumed name.
Jeanne Gustafson October 26, 2012 at 02:26 AM
And Kirkland Tony, I'm sorry, I didn't notice your comment before, but I think it's a good one. Thanks for adding it.
sreed November 05, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I agree with Kirkland Tony, the KPD is purely revenue, they are not issuing 30.00 tickets, the average ticket is 195.00 on up, I was pulled over on Oct 20, 11:00pm on Juanita drive in front of spuds, I actually pulled over to let him go around me because he must have been going after someone else, I knew I was going the speed limit, he said I was going 42 in a 25 totally false! He must have been dyslexic.I am contesting this ticket because I know I am right...yeah I know good luck..right? check the kirkland courier under traffic violations and see how many peaple they pull over in a 6 day stretch...the KPD is making alot of money!!
Ron Olson November 05, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Not sure if KPD is making a lot of money or not. Look at the list of people currently in jail in Kirkland. There are a lot of people incarcerated for driving without a license, with a suspended license, or as an "Habitual offender" related to driving offenses. Those people typically do not pay their fines but continue to drive and drive and drive. Kirkland has to support them in jail. Many of those offenders did nothing else illegal, but Kirkland cops run license plates and pull people over if there is a suspended driver associated with a vehicle. Don't ever drive a vehicle in Kirkland if the previous owner had a suspended license, or you may get pulled over 5 or 6 times for nothing. If you visit a 7-11 in Kirkland, keep an eye out for cops running plates in the parking lot...makes you wonder if the police are violating our rights of privacy or the right to to move about freely.
Bryan January 20, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Kirkland Tony has obviously had some bad experiences with the Police. While I can't say that I agree with him on all points I do understand where he is coming from. I believe that any casual observer, if they are being honest, would have to admit that the way we run traffic enforcement leaves an incredible opportunity for abuse. Think about for a minute. The officer who writes the ticket works for and is paid a salary from the legal entity that profits financially for any ticket the officer writes. And should you decide to go to court, the Judge generally works for this same legal entity as well. This is ridiculous. In that manner it's all corrupt. And just to prove it. There has been talk in the past about removing the financial incentive from ticket writing as it is perceived as a conflict of interest. The cities fight it with everything they have. Follow the money they always say. So yes, absolutely the revenue matters.


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