Shane Krohn doesn’t have far to go if he wants to touch base with one of the first jobs he ever held as a teenager working assorted jobs for Swanson’s Grocery in Hoquiam.
He simply has to walk across the street from the Hoquiam Police department, where the homegrown cop is now the detective sergeant in charge of major investigations.
His chief, Jeff Myers, says Krohn, 44, is responsible for high-profile cases such as coordinating the recent homicide investigation into the stabbing death of off-duty corrections officer Jon Favro, as well as tracking the sex offenders who are registered as living in Hoquiam. He also spends countless hours off duty as a youth sports coach and as an active father.
“It is an interesting personal mix as (Krohn) may be interviewing a child victim in the morning and then spend the afternoon coaching a softball team playing a tournament at Gable Park,” Myers said.
Currently, Krohn is working a massive embezzlement case that involves phony billings, check laundering, possible tax evasion and a number of pending other charges.
The stabbing death of Favro and the subsequent arrest of suspect Teddy J. M. Bryan, 16, has led to second-degree murder charges, and Krohn has a file on the case neatly arranged in a wide binder on his desk. Bryan is accused of stabbing the 22-year-old Favro after an argument about Bryan’s girlfriend July 14 in Hoquiam. Bryan has pleaded not guilty.
“This homicide investigation went really well,” Krohn said. “On homicides, it’s not that you necessarily enjoy working them, but basically you work for the victims. You are working to solve this case and bring them some closure. It definitely drives you to do a good job.”
One of his first big homicide cases was the Bishop double homicide in May 2006. In that case, Krohn and investigators found that David Gannon of Aberdeen and his girlfriend, April Hensley, staged a home-invasion robbery and brutally beat to death 75-year-old Vernon Bishop and 80-year-old Maxine Bishop. Gannon and Hensley planned to rob the couple to get money for drugs.
Every month as part of Krohn’s duties, he drops by to check on a set number of the local sex offenders to make sure they still are living where they registered. If they are high-level, police send bulletins to media and throughout the community. He checks on the most potentially dangerous offenders — level 3 sex offenders — once every three months, and every six months for level 2 offenders. He has a list of about 10 that he verifies every month.
He estimates that every other month he finds a least one offender has moved without notification. That causes Krohn to file charges.
“This is our way of keeping track of them and making sure they are where they’re supposed to be,” he said.
Krohn acknowledges it was difficult at times to be a police officer in the town where he grew up, and where he first became interested in police work as a reserve officer before he joined the force after turning 21. Some still call him by his full first name, Peter or Pete, but he prefers to go by Shane.
“It was tough at first because you run into a lot of people that you knew growing up,” he said of his first years behind a badge. “But it’s not a big deal any more.”
Back when he first started on the police force after being a cadet, he made a lot of traffic stops and warrant arrests.
“I’ve progressed over the years to where I like a big case that you can work, and that’s primarily my job now as detective sergeant,” he said. “I don’t do too many misdemeanors.”
He steered clear of trouble as a kid, serving as the captain of the school safety patrol and being actively involved with 4-H for about 12 years.
“The biggest thing I got in trouble for was in elementary school on the playground at recess when a kid pushed me and I had it and I pushed him back. That’s the extent of the trouble I got into, and a lot of my friends referred to my family as the Cleavers,” Krohn recalled.
That’s a reference to the “Leave it to Beaver” Cleavers of the popular TV series of the late 1950s and early 1960s He grew up as the oldest of three brothers (his younger brothers are twins) with a love of sports and photography. He is a Hoquiam Grizzly, heart and soul.
“Obviously, living here and knowing a lot of people in the area, there are specific people who will come in and want to talk to just me because they have known me for so long,” Krohn said.
Several others in the department also were born and raised on the Harbor, and Krohn said that gives them a little extra motivation in doing their jobs.
“We definitely like to clean up the city and see positive things happen with the city,” Krohn said. “For us, this is not just a job.”
Before he became the chief detective for the department, Krohn also was a presence in schools from 1993-2003 as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer in Hoquiam. He was DARE Officer of the Year in 2000 and served as treasurer for the state DARE organization.
Krohn sees a major shift in the sort of drug-related crimes compared to a decade ago.
“We still see a lot of marijuana and meth labs,” he said. “Those kinds of things were in the beginning of my career, but we see a lot more heroin now. And trafficking in pills is still big.”
Even marijuana is treated differently, he notes, because there are those who do qualify to use medical marijuana legally, which makes marijuana crimes difficult to enforce.
The local drug trade also has led to an increase in metal theft and related burglaries.
“It’s just that quick fix, but they cause more damage than anything, and the replacement costs are huge to businesses that are suffering the loss,” he said.
The Bishop murder case in 2006 landed on his desk just after he started as a detective.
“That really got me into detective work and I found a niche as far as that’s what I really enjoyed doing,” he said.
After a few years, however, he was promoted to patrol sergeant, which took him back to the streets supervising the other officers on patrol. He’s been detective sergeant for the past year and a half.
“I always looked up to some of the older guys who were here,” Krohn said. Deputy Chief Don Wertanen is the only senior member on the force longer than Krohn. There are now 18 commissioned officers on the Hoquiam force, and Krohn said Myers is his fourth police chief.
“Since Chief Myers has taken over, he’s definitely been the best chief that I’ve worked for,” Krohn said. “He’s brought a lot of positive changes, not only for the department but for the quality of the city.”
Perhaps Krohn’s most sensitive investigative work has been sex-related cases involving teachers and students.
In March, ex-Hoquiam High School teacher Wesley A. Phillips, formerly the school’s head girls basketball coach, pleaded guilty to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes after an investigation revealed he sent sexually suggestive messages to two 12-year-old girls.
In 2007, head football coach Todd Hoiness was accused and later convicted of sexual misconduct for an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old female student. Hoiness was sentenced to five months in jail and forced to register as a sex offender. He lost his teaching certificate, too.
In May 2006, a special education teacher was forced to surrender his teaching certificate after he admitted viewing pornography on his classroom computer and was accused of “grooming behavior” with a male student. And in October 2008, a teacher and coach was accused and later fired over allegations he sent hundreds of sometimes inappropriate text messages to two students.
“I do find those cases as interesting because I’m just trying to solve those for the victims and get positive results,” he said, noting he’s also investigated several stalking cases.
In one, he caught a man who was a serial thief of women’s underwear by setting out a portable alarm, trip line and video surveillance near a laundry room where the crime appeared to be focused.
Another stalking case was solved when Krohn found an ear print on a window where a man had been listening for a woman he had been stalking for years.
“She had moved four or five different times, and she had reported him stalking her four or five times,” Krohn said. “He never dated the woman. He just had some weird fascination with her and would never leave her alone. We were able to put together a pretty good case.”
Myers said Krohn’s community involvement has been an instrumental asset as a detective.
“With the sex scandals at the high school, he knew the kids or they knew his wife or had her as a teacher,” Myers said. “There was a familiarity that broke down a lot of barriers.”
It doesn’t take too much detective work to discover that Krohn has a whimsical side to his tough police persona. There is evidence here and there in his office, such as the Darth Vader bobblehead or the notepad that has what appears to be a splotch of blood on every sheet of paper. His favorite online site is rebelscum.com, a site for Star Wars collectors.
He has a plaque that says: “Unemployment. It sucks when your job gets blowed up!” Or a pen with a chalk-outline tracer cap.
On the wall behind his desk is a series of photos showing him with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when the actors flew into the Harbor for a special promotional premier of “Mission Impossible 3” in 2008. Krohn says he enjoyed being the police escort to Cruise and was impressed by the star’s down-to-earth manner and time spent giving autographs to local fans.
The only thing that leaves Krohn star struck is anything to do with the “Star Wars” movies. The original movie came out when he was in fifth grade and he’s been collecting “Star Wars” figures, toys, posters, and anything else he can find ever since.
He has an entire room at home where he keeps his collection, and even that isn’t big enough. One of his prizes is a 6 feet by 4 feet Millennium Falcon that used to hang in a Toys R Us store.
“I basically have every figure from the late 1970s all the way up until today,” Krohn said.
The only character he doesn’t care for is Jar Jar Binks, who was introduced in “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and who largely was supposed to provide comic relief for younger audiences.
“I understand why he’s in there, because my kids loved Jar Jar, but I can’t stand him. He irritates me,” Krohn said.
His newest desire is to acquire an exclusive Bespin Freeze C hamber replica where in the middle there is a pop-up Jar Jar Binks figure frozen in carbonite. The replicas were only made available two weeks ago at the recently completed San Diego Comic-Con event.
“They sold them down in San Diego to the people who attended, so that is going to be my Holy Grail. That is what I’m working on,” he said with determined seriousness.
At the rate he’s going, he’ll either have to add on to his home or shed some of his collection, which is under lock and key.
“My nephew wants to come in here and rip stuff open,” Krohn confided. “I lock the door and tell him I have security cameras.”
Although he lives in Aberdeen, Krohn is always connected one way or another to Hoquiam. He proudly notes he has a Grizzly bathroom painted crimson and white with framed Daily World sports pages that featured Hoquiam’s 2004 state basketball championship.
Krohn shares his Hoquiam pride with reasoned enthusiasm, lauding local governmental leaders such as Mayor Jack Durney and city Administrator Brian Shay for setting a positive civic agenda.
“They are top-notch and we have a very supportive city council,” he said.
In the summer months, Krohn spends much of his off-duty hours at John Gable Park, coaching softball or helping out with the league or the facilities. He’s a constant fundraising force for Hoquiam Girls Fastpitch Association, which separated from Hoquiam Youth Baseball two years ago.
“We really did a lot of improvements and put $10,000 into John Gable Park,” Krohn said. “We built the scorer’s booth and put up the safety netting between the two fields.”
As a coach, his involvement in Hoquiam schools was an offshoot of his DARE involvement. He coached flag football, boys and girls basketball, and track, particularly long jump and high jump.
Recently, he finished the season as the coach of the Lady Longshore 12U fastpitch softball team and kept the book for the all-star team. He also coached his daughter’s soccer team for the past two years and was recently asked to coach Hoquiam Middle School girls soccer this year.
Krohn believes the DARE program had an impact on the youth of Hoquiam.
“There are always those kids who are going to do the wrong thing anyway, and a lot of it goes back to their home life and their parents,” he said. “But I have also seen past DARE students who have gone on to be police officers and who have gone on to do a lot of positive things.”
Krohn believes in reaching out to what he calls the “kids in the middle.” He took one boy to a science fair when he found out his mother couldn’t take the student. He put together skating and bowling parties, a trip to a Seattle Thunderbirds hockey game, and a dance for the DARE youth.
Krohn even went through specialized training to be certified as a school resources officer.
“If I have swayed one kid not to do bad things — and I know I have swayed a lot more than that — in my book that’s a success,” Krohn said.
What’s also encouraging, he said, is the quality of the officers he works with.
“Looking back at what we had when I started and what we have now, we have a young department,” Krohn said. “But we have a lot of top-notch guys, a lot of go-getters. It makes it so easy when you are the lead detective when everybody works together and the end result is that everything falls into line.”
Without having to leave his hometown, Krohn has experienced a rich and rewarding career in law enforcement. He’s currently working the embezzlement case that takes up about two feet in two stacks of paper on his desk. He has a new level 2 sex offender from Oregon moving to Hoquiam to warn the public about.
“It is something different every day. It ranges from sex offenses to million dollar embezzlements to homicides,” Krohn said. “That’s one great thing about a small department. You get to do a little bit of everything and no case is ever the same.
“I’m definitely proud to work in Hoquiam and be part of the city and of the city employees as a whole. I’m proud of the community, of the people who live here and those whom I have known for years and years.”