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Published: Saturday, August 20, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

A cop defends sock-puppet public relations

Before May, we'd never heard of Bill Kroske, then veep at Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc.

Now we can't get away from him.

Kroske got in trouble at his former traffic-camera company job after The Herald discovered he was posting on our website as "W Howard." His online alter-ego claimed to live in various cities around Snohomish County and always expressed the utmost support for traffic cameras -- and the utmost contempt for any opponents.

It turned out Kroske was behind similar "sock puppet" campaigns at newspaper websites elsewhere in the state. Records also document how Kroske last year called Mukilteo's engineer an "idiot" for raising questions about safety benefits from cameras. Then he wrote Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine asking for help in hooking up with someone to file a lawsuit to stop an anti-camera initiative there sponsored by Tim Eyman. City officials say they ignored the request.

Never fear. Back in May, Kroske still had a friend in Lynnwood police Sgt. Wayne "Kawika" Davis, who runs that city's traffic unit.

On May 23, just days after Kroske was outed and punished -- and his dishonesty was condemned by ATS -- the sergeant sent Kroske a little note of support:

"I hope all is well. I heard the recent news and I think if we don't find innovative ways, and continue to be proactive in addressing the vocal minority then we (all) are not doing everything possible to get the message out to the public. What you are accused of doing has been going on since the beginning of the media. Politicians do it, as well as every special interest group throughout the world. I will bet my house that Tim Eimen (sic) also -- knowingly or unknowingly -- has people doing the exact same thing. Nothing in your messages were false or a lie. Had you used your name and title, your message would have never been read. The bottom line is we are all in this to 'save lives' through public safety efforts and campaigns."

Kroske responded with thanks, comparing himself to George Patton, challenging every negative Herald article. He said an ATS legal victory in Wenatchee would "really be a blow to Eyman and the Herald."

OK, we understand Kroske's George Patton reference. Patton was a driven general who in World War II made history for helping to stomp the Nazis into the mud. Patton also was infamous in his day for doing some really stupid things, including once suggesting that said Nazis were to Germany what Republicans and Democrats are to the U.S.

But us pressing an agenda with Eyman?

If you buy that, let's talk sometime about how red-light cameras are only about safety.

***
IF YOU MISSED IT, check out Friday's report Cops' jobs rely on traffic cams: Lynnwood police chief says department needs the cash.
Story tags » LynnwoodMukilteoCrime, Law & JusticePolicePoliticsTraffic SafetyHistory

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