Strategies to keep the Federal Way community safe

There has been much progress made over the past two years to address violent crime. Our work continues.

  • Friday, June 14, 2019 5:30am
  • Opinion
Andy Hwang

Andy Hwang

The mission of the Federal Way Police Department is for every member to consistently earn the public’s trust while enhancing the quality of life for residents, visitors and businesses within our city.

As a professional police organization and to maintain the public trust, I am taking this opportunity to reach out to the people of Federal Way to share some of the police department’s strategies and tactics to keeping our community safe. There has been much progress made over the past two years to address violent crime. Our work continues. In partnership with members of our community, who are the most important resource in keeping Federal Way safe and secure, our staff is relentless in fighting crime to protect our citizens.

When we experience a violent crime, such as a homicide, we prioritize and shift resources to identify and capture the offenders. Our Criminal Investigation Section gives the highest prioritization to cases involving gun violence. We have had great success over the years solving and holding murder suspects accountable for their actions.

Gang officers and Special Operations Unit officers are proactively working on problem houses and locations, including known violent criminals in our community. We have been quite successful in removing violent felons from our community.

We are a data-driven agency, using updated crime analysis data to direct uniform patrols and increase police visibility and effectiveness. Data analysis focuses us on specific locations and times to conduct gun and robbery emphases patrols.

In partnership with Department of Correction (DOC), we regularly conduct targeted warrant sweep operations to arrest violent offenders. A great partnership exists with DOC officers — some are stationed at the Federal Way Police Department. We had much success in the past year with these operations that are making a positive difference.

We actively work with other regional law enforcement agencies to arrest criminals engaged in violent activity, including drug and gun crimes, to reduce violence in our community and the region.

We’re partners with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The goal of data-driven prosecution is to identify prolific offenders and prosecute them more aggressively in an effort to reduce violent crime.

Criminals do not limit themselves to any particular community. Therefore, we collaborate with federal and state law enforcement agencies to identify ballistic connections between inter-jurisdictional gun crimes.

We engage in juvenile delinquency prevention programs. We collaborate with the Federal Way Youth Action Team, with the unified goal of reducing youth violence in our community.

We partner with the city’s code enforcement officers and city attorney’s office to address chronic known problem homes with drug and other criminal activity. We seek to abate homes involved in illegal drug trafficking and/or which criminal street gang members frequent.

We continue expanding the SafeCity program, adding cameras in an effort to gather evidence and identify offenders. That combines to reduce crime and increase community safety. With a $250,000 legislative grant, we enhanced our incident command room with a new wall of video monitoring equipment, expanding the number of surveillance cameras in our city to a total of 118. We use this technology to solve crimes in our community, with the most recent being the Twin Lakes neighborhood shooting involving a newspaper carrier.

Going into 2019, we had three police substations away from City Hall. This year we opened a new substation in the west side of the city, located at the Twin Lakes Plaza. We will soon open another substation on Pacific Highway near Federal Way High School. This is a great example of the business community providing crime-fighting support, providing workspace for uniformed officers assigned to those areas.

During the summer months a few of our officers will use bicycles and enduro motorcycles to patrol the downtown area, BPA Trail, and parks to enhance police visibility, deter crime and catch offenders.

As described above (in addition to some things I won’t describe openly), your police department has a strategic plan in place and we work tirelessly to keep you and your family safe. The dutiful members of the Federal Way Police Department don’t tolerate violent crime in our community. The Federal Way community is very fortunate to have incredible men and women within our police department who are honorable and committed to working tirelessly to serve and protect our residents.

As law enforcement leaders and professionals, we know that having the close relationship between the police department and the Federal Way community is absolutely essential to our success. The dedicated, highly trained police professionals who are responsible for helping our community thrive are fully aware of this requirement, and make a commitment that we will continuously seek ways to improve the safety of all those who call Federal Way home.

It is our pleasure to serve and protect you!

Andy J. Hwang is Chief of Police for the Federal Way Police Department.

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