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July 30, 2014 at 5:59 PM

SPD officer under investigation after writing 80 percent of pot tickets

Update at 6:28 p.m.: Department sources identified the officer as Randy Jokela, who has been on the force since 1990 and currently works as a bike officer in the West Precinct, which includes downtown Seattle and Queen Anne.

Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, did not name the officer, but said he met with him on Wednesday.

“The involved officer is by far the hardest working officer on this department I have known in my 20 years. Whether it was working in the Rainier Valley in a patrol car, or since he’s been downtown on bikes, nobody can hold a fiddle to his work ethic. However, I cannot defend the comments that he allegedly made on the backs of the tickets.”

Jokela was named co-officer of the year for the West Precinct in 2005.

Original post: Seattle police are investigating the conduct of an officer who has written about 80 percent of all tickets for using marijuana in public this year.

The officer, who has not been identified, allegedly wrote 66 of 83 tickets between January and June, often adding a note requesting the attention of City Attorney Pete Holmes, a vocal supporter of Washington state’s legalization of marijuana, Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a statement posted on the department’s website.

Some of the tickets were addressed to “Petey Holmes.”

Marijuana tickets are filed directly in Seattle Municipal Court, not by Holmes’ office. If a ticket is contested, an infractions attorney from Holmes’ office becomes involved.

O’Toole said the matter came to her attention as part of the department’s recent release of its first semi-annual report on marijuana enforcement.

In one case, the officer purportedly used a coin toss to decide which of two people he had stopped would receive a ticket. In another, he allegedly referred to the voter-approved legalization as “silly.”

The matter has been referred to the Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability, which conducts internal investigations.

The officer has been reassigned to duties other than patrol while the investigation is conducted.

“Please know that officers who perform professional and constitutional police service and enforcement will always have my full support,” O’Toole’s statement said.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: City Attorney Pete Holmes, marijuana laws, Seattle Police Department

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