Opinion

Federal Way police deserve more credit and praise | Guest column

I don’t ordinarily respond to what I perceive as unsubstantiated missives, or as in this particular case, a series of unguided missiles launched by unincorporated King County resident Jerry Galland (Aug. 2) against various aspects of the city’s code enforcement provisions.

But there is one aspect of this one I found hard to ignore.

What really caught my eye was his obviously uninformed attack on the police department, accusing them of redirecting their attention to “revenue-producing activities,” whatever that means operationally, at the expense of protecting and serving the general public.

And to make his point, he completely misrepresented, of all things, a very effective community-centered online reporting program that was specifically designed to accomplish just the opposite of his assertion. From all indications, since its implementation in 2006, it has worked very effectively at freeing up officers for more critical responses, while noting lesser incidents for general response.

It also appears that he would like the general public to believe that King County has a policy of personal response and Federal Way does not. Federal Way’s policy is personal response; the citizen has an option based on his or her personal assessment. The citizen always, without question, has direct access to the police.

I question his judgment, if not his motive, particularly after “ironically,” as he tells it, having an incident that “warranted police attention” and having received, as far as I can tell, such a professional response himself, still found it necessary to continue his diatribe. Of course, if one is looking for something wrong, reality aside, one will find it.

However, any citizen that is interested in the effectiveness of the program can call the Federal Way Police Department and find that over the past two years (2007 to June 2008), it has fielded a total of 2,334 reports. Thus far, it has proved to be effective, and particularly so for citizens who need reports for insurance and other issues of verification. What’s more, a recent media release from the City of Kent, which has recently implemented a similar system, reports that the citizens’ response is overwhelmingly positive.

The Federal Way Police Department, as young as it is, has an outstanding and well-deserved record of service to this community. A few shining examples of its dedication to “serving and protecting” this community are the quick response and resolution of the recent murder of one of our senior citizens, a random shooting at the Transit Center, the recent alleged murder of an infant, and the list goes on.

We have an outstanding, no-nonsense police chief, Brian Wilson, who has been with this department since its inception. He is as accessible to the community as anyone I have ever come in contact with in the many cities, large and small, in which I have had the opportunity to live and serve.

I would recommend to any citizen — in fact, I would request that you call and make your own inquiry and judgment as to the effectiveness of this citizen reporting option.

Better yet, on Aug. 25, Federal Way Mayor Jack Dovey is having another one of his very informative town hall meetings, and the police chief is normally there to field questions.

Don’t just take my word for it. Make it a date to be there and hear it firsthand, especially those of you in unincorporated areas served by Federal Way.

You won’t regret it.

Bob McKenzie is a Federal Way resident. Send comments to editor@fedwaymirror.com.

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