Service before self | City Corner

By Al Compaan, Police Chief, City of Edmonds | Jul 16, 2015

That’s a pretty lofty statement. It’s the motto of your Edmonds Police Department, part of our mission statement: We place service before self, with an unwavering and unbiased commitment to public safety, improving the quality of life for our community.

This statement, and our core values of service, integrity, respect and stewardship truly represent who we are as an organization and who we are as the professional men and women on our team - serving the city of Edmonds and over 40,000 residents.

We work each day to provide the best quality law enforcement service, at the same time working to maintain the public’s trust and confidence in us. These are keys to our success and cannot ever be taken for granted.

We endeavor to earn this trust and confidence each day, with each contact we have, and by each action we take. One does not have to look far to see the difficult time some communities across our country have experienced when community-law enforcement relations are at odds.

Over the years, much of our work has been accomplished without fanfare or media attention. In some ways, this leads to the perception that Edmonds is exempt from crime and many of the challenges facing other Puget Sound communities.

There may be some truth to that, as Edmonds does maintain a lower crime rate than many other localities. Our residents care about our community. Our residents are good about getting to know their neighbors. And our residents are not bashful about phoning 911 if something appears out of place.

These are all productive aspects of maintaining quality of life and utilizing the community-law enforcement partnership we enjoy here in Edmonds.

A look at the activity for 2014 will provide a reminder that we all must remain vigilant, and that our partnership is essential. Last year, our officers responded to 22,758 dispatched calls for service, covering the gamut from barking dogs, shoplifts and vandalism to burglaries, robberies, vehicle thefts and violent assaults.

We made 5,219 traffic stops, issued 3,542 citations, and arrested 81 people for driving under the influence. We arrested 1,318 adults and 117 juveniles for various crimes, investigated 651 traffic collisions, and issued 1,064 parking infractions. We wrote 5,140 police reports, 1,003 field interview reports, plus we investigated 180 domestic violence related incidents.

There were 12 robberies reported to us, 283 residential and commercial burglaries, 179 assaults, 115 vehicle thefts, and 782 other thefts. Of those, we solved 17 percent of the robberies, 13 percent of the burglaries, 85 percent of the assaults, 23 percent of the vehicle thefts, and 36 percent of the other thefts.

This year, the Police Department budget is $8,960,406. Looking at it another way, this is an investment of $221 for each of our 40,490 residents. We provide 24/7 policing services from our team of 63 professional, highly qualified and dedicated employees – 53 police officers and 10 support staff – who work diligently to firmly and fairly enforce the law, who patrol our neighborhoods and conduct detailed follow-up investigations, and who provide the high level of customer service that our residents have come to expect.

For next year, one of our goals is to reinstitute our Street Crimes Unit, consisting of a sergeant and two police officers. This unit was cut several years ago in the midst of recession.

Bringing it back on-line will enhance our ability as a law enforcement agency to be proactive with our enforcement initiatives, particularly with street level crime that quickly impacts quality of life and the community’s feeling of safety and security – vehicle prowling, vandalism, organized shoplifting, prostitution and street level drugs.

It will also further enhance our ability to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in surrounding communities to tie criminal activity in Edmonds with criminals who have no respect for jurisdictional lines, let alone respect for victims and their personal safety and property.

We know that in order for us to do an effective job, we must continually earn the community’s trust and must actively engage our residents. Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility – law enforcement and the community working together – staying watchful, being proactive with crime prevention by locking home and vehicle doors, keeping valuables out of sight, knowing one’s neighbors, and not sharing personal or financial information with those you do not know.

Most of all, do not hesitate to call 911. If something appears suspicious or out of place, it probably is. Please call 911 – we’re here for you.

We thank you for being a community partner with us. Stay vigilant. Stay safe, and enjoy the quality of life in this community of ours – Edmonds!


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