Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KPLU since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KPLU, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KPLU: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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King County Government
5:04 am
Tue November 16, 2010

King County passes lean budget

Dawn Walker and her daughter, Jesse, tell the King County Council they've benefited from county social service programs. The Council approved a budget that slashes some services and cuts 300 county positions.
King County Television

The King County Council has voted for a lean 2011 budget that slashes 300 positions, many in law enforcement. Even some council members acknowledge it could hurt public safety.

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Winter Weather
3:16 pm
Tue November 9, 2010

Seattle Lays Out Snow Removal Plans

A rider waits for a Metro bus on 4th Avenue last week. Metro buses were unable to navigate through the snowstorms of 2008, a situation which played a role in voters rejecting a third term for Mayor Greg Nickels.
Gary Davis/KPLU photo.

 Seattle says it can handle the snow this time around.  In 2008, the city was paralyzed by a series of storms.  Buses didn’t run, sidewalks were caked with ice and streets weren’t passable for more than a week.

Reports after the fact showed the city was unprepared. Snow routes weren’t plowed.  There was a communication breakdown between Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro Transit officials.

The city’s poor response to the snow storm is often credited with the defeat of former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

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Law & Justice
5:27 am
Tue November 9, 2010

Child Prostitutes Rescued in Seattle

In a recent FBI prostitution sting in California, children are taken into custody. The latest nationwide operation netted more child prostitutes and pimps here than in any other region.
FBI photo.

Does Seattle have more child prostitutes than other cities? During a three-day crackdown, the FBI picked up more young prostitutes in this area than anyplace else. But, there could be another reason for the high number.

The latest FBI sweep, called Operation Cross Country V, resulted in the arrest of 99 pimps. Agents also rescued 69 teenage prostitutes. Twenty-three of them were from our area, in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

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Washington State History
3:20 am
Mon November 8, 2010

Woman's right to vote in Washington turns 100

This is one of the historical documents on display at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Celebrations of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in Washington take place in Olympia today.
WS History Museum

Today marks the 100th anniversary of a woman's right to vote in Washington State.  A day-long series of events is planned for  Olympia. The Washington State Historical Socety and the Women’s History Consortium have teamed up with  Secretary of State Sam Reed and the Interagency Committee for State Employed Women (ICSEW) on a full day of commemorative moments at the Temple of Justice (home of the State Supreme Court), the Capitol Building and Legislative buildings.

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Election 2010
2:17 pm
Mon November 1, 2010

Washington Voters Love Initiatives

A state worker counts initiative signatures in Olympia. A new poll for KPLU shows just how much state voters value the initiative process.
AP photo.

You've heard the complaints about ballot initiatives. Is it right that a corporation with a lot of money can get one on the ballot? And are we, the voters, really qualified to be deciding complicated things like tax policy? But, the KCTS 9 - KPLU - Washington Poll shows that voters in Washington are generally happy with the initiative process.

Here's the question that was put to voters:   Overall, do you think that statewide initiative elections are a good thing for the state, a bad thing or don't make much difference?

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Law & Justice
4:59 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

King County Jail Suicides Up

The King County Jail in downtown Seattle.
Flickr photo by Manuel W.

Three inmates have committed suicide in the King County jail in the past few weeks. The latest was a 33 year old man who died at Harborview Medical Center. The robbery suspect was found hanging in his cell on September 20.

The King County Correctional Facility has been cited in the past for failing to prevent suicide.

Back in 2007, the United States Department of Justice investigated the King County jail and issued a blistering report saying safety and health conditions were so substandard that they amounted to a violation of inmates civil rights.

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