Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part story based on an interview with Shoreline Police Chief Shawn Ledford.
Ledford, who started in Shoreline June 1, has been with the King County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years and brings with him experience as the Police Chief for the City of Newcastle where he focused on improving community policing efforts and citizen engagement. Ledford has said he is committed to building strong working relationships between the police and the community.
“It is my practice that we should treat the public, or those we serve, in the same way we would expect our family or our friends to be treated,” stated Ledford. “The relationship with our citizens is paramount to the success of our organization. We need to keep them included in the process and keep them informed.”
The city of Shoreline has had three homicides so far this year.
"Yes, we have seen an increase in violent crimes in that respect because on average we have one homicide a year in Shoreline," Ledford said.
In all three incidents, the people involved knew each other, he said.
•On May 3, Aaron Smith, . Starrish then took the couple's 7- and 3-year-old daughters, which triggered an Amber Alert. Starrish is in custody awaiting trial.
•On May 16, Joseph D. Cooley, fatally shot Shorecrest senior Tiana Montgomery and wounded Shorewood senior Darrold Edwards in Shoreline. Both victims were acquaintances and Cooley shot them after an argument. Cooley is in jail pending trial for murder and attempted murder.
•On Sept. 27, police received a call about a disturbance at a residence in the 1600 block of 145th St. in Shoreline. Shots were fired before they arrived. Two people, the woman and a man involved in the incident were detained and then released pending further investigation.
"It's still at the prosecutor's office and they're going to have to make the decision whether to charge the person or if they deem it being self-defense," Leford said.
Meanwhile, a spate of armed robberies including one outside a Shoreline casino in which a woman was sexaully assaulted, has resulted in the arrest of two men. A warrant is out for the arrest of a third suspect in the case and detectives are trying to develop enough probable cause to get a warrant on a fourth suspect.
in Shoreline and the greater Seattle area. A stolen gun was used in the casino robbery, Ledford said. Santos-Valdez is in jail on a first-degree murder charge for an alleged killing in Tukwila.
"We have a core group of robbery suspects that committed a high number of violent robberies in the city and neighboring jurisdictions," Ledford said. "What we focus our efforts on are high-impact offenders. The small percentage of criminals who commit a high percentage of the crime."
Shoreline detectives and officers share information and work with other police departments creating lists of suspects.
Further, at least four high profile, serious rapes and sexual assaults have occurred in the last 12 months, and several times Asian women have been the victims.
•On March 10, a Shoreline woman reported that she parked her car in her driveway in the 100 block of 165th Place and opened her garage door when Charles Linnell Bluford, 38, approached her holding a gun and told her to be quiet or he would kill her, according to charging papers. The man took her wedding ring and her purse, which included her T-Mobile cell phone, and
•Danford Grant, a partner in a Seattle law firm is facing accusations of rape and burglary in an Aug. 19 incident at a Shoreline woman's home. He is accused of forcing his way and raping the woman whom he first met at a massage business in Seattle.
•On Sunday, Sept. 16 about 4:05 a.m. a suspect described as a Hispanic-looking man, about 30 years old, 5-feet, 6-inches tall, and 160 pounds entered a victim's home in the North City area through an unlocked door and raped her. The suspect spoke to the victim in broken Vietnamese, which is the victim's native language.
"We do need to do a better job with the diverse population in the community," Ledford said.
The police are using their property seizure funds to fund community outreach.
The good example of that happened last spring, Ledford said. Last spring, community service officer Dahlia Corona worked to create a Mexican folk dance group with a group of Hispanic girls at Shorewood High School.
"It's easy to say we'll check the box on community outreach," he said. "We have to find things that actually work. That's something we definitely need to expand on."
"I was very impressed with Dahlia and how much effort and commitment she put in," he said. "It was easy to get approval for the funding because it was one of those gray areas and the results were, wow, this is really worthwhile."