Council celebrates new Federal Way police officers

Community Center pool re-opens; concerns voiced about Steel Lake’s water quality.

The Federal Way City Council meeting began with the introduction and swearing in of five new police officers and a new jail transport officer.

The new officers recently graduated from the Police Academy and are in various stages of their field training.

Mayor Jim Ferrell congratulated the officers and thanked them for their willingness to serve. Chief Andy Hwang shared an update of police staffing needs, saying that they have a budget for 150 officers and need to hire about a dozen more.

Chief Hwang shared that the Federal Way Police Department has “a dozen or so in the field training program, ten or so plus in the police training academy, and several more waiting to go to the academy.”

New officers include:

• Officer Laine McCann, former delivery and installation specialist, baseball coach, sales associate and security personnel.

• Officer Catrina Fletcher, began with the city as a part-time graffiti technician and volunteer in the police department, earned EMS technician certification from Pierce College.

• Officer William Mann, bachelor of science in Homeland Security from the University of Albany and an AA from Kingsborough Community College, former infantry officer in the U.S. Army, Community Service Volunteer for Boy Scouts of America.

• Officer Alejandra Jacobo, former sales representative for T-Mobile and recent graduate with a criminal justice degree from Pierce College.

• Officer Trevor Fun, currently serves as a member of the Army National Guard, bachelor of science in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin Superior, former Lawton Correctional Facility Segregation Sergeant and a Minnesota Counter Drug Unit Crime Analyst.

• Officer Amber Matlock, the new jail transport officer, bachelor of science in political science from California State University, former detention lieutenant for the Geo group (part of the Federal Detention Center), assistant girls soccer coach for Foss High School, head coach for JV girls basketball at Edison High School.

New officers are sworn in by Mayor Ferrell. Photo provided by the city of Federal Way.

Community Center

The Federal Way Community Center reopened this past weekend after its annual week-long closure and to celebrate recent renovations including the leisure pool. For the opening weekend, the Community Center had approximately 600 swimmers Saturday and 400 swimmers on Sunday, according to Parks Director John Hutton.

The event featured games, prizes, and of course, swimming.

“People really count on that pool for their overall health and well being and having it offline for a long time was hard on them, so we’re thrilled to have it back for them and for our community’s health,” Hutton said of the lazy river and the leisure pool in general.

The center has a variety of membership options including day passes and a variety of subsidies and programs to make the cost more accessible if needed.

Steel Lake

Several public commenters shared both their disappointment in the current state of Steel Lake, citing an algae bloom and a lack of the aquatic wildlife they used to see there. They shared fond memories of enjoying the lake growing up, but said the water is currently so toxic, they don’t feel comfortable bringing their dogs to the water.

Water Quality Specialist Dan Sternkopf explained how the lake is managed and taken care of, and the mayor said they would make sure to have an update for everyone at the next city council meeting. He said he wants to get out on the lake himself and asked if the city owned a boat.

New Jail Transport Officer Matlock is sworn in by Mayor Ferrell. Photo provided by the city of Federal Way.

Also on Tuesday

The Mayor shared updates about actions taken in response to issues around the Day Center.

• Several public commenters spoke about their concerns around homelessness in Federal Way. George Hutton requested a consortium on homelessness where business owners, nonprofits, city leadership and all other concerned parties could come together to discuss how best to work on the issue in a collaborative way within Federal Way.

• Staff members of Waste Management gave some updates for their annual report. Diversion of waste from the landfill via recycling and composting processes was at similar rates to 2021: Residential – 52.6% diverted, Multi-Family – 12.2% diverted, Commercial – 11.7% diverted. They also shared a review of their community outreach programs throughout the paste year.

• The mayor read a proclamation that designates Sept. 17-23, 2023, as “Constitution Week.” The intent of this week is to “ask our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the Framers of the Constitution had in 1787 and reflect on our heritage of freedom,” and was advocated for by the local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

• The Arts Commission honored the artists who participated in this year’s Arts Alive event. The art can be viewed at the Performing Arts Center until January and can even be voted on until then. The box office is open between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for art viewings.

• Diversity Commission member Trenise Rogers shared a statement requesting that the City Council include a statement of inclusion before public comment to remind commenters to be civil. She specifically referenced a June council meeting where she said that members of the LGBTQIA community were disparaged by commentors and as a protected and marginalized group that this shouldn’t be permitted.

• Another public commentor, Alexander Nelson, encouraged the city council to follow the example of some major cities to buy and then forgive medical debt in order to relieve the burden on community members who are suffering because of it.

• Public commentor Melissa Hamilton advocated for the law around pursuit to be expanded to include suspects of “smash and grab” robberies involving the use of a vehicle to gain entry. Mayor Ferrell responded to this comment by sharing statistics around vehicle theft before and after recent pursuit laws were passed. He agreed with her sentiment and so did Police Chief Hwang, who clarified that the change needs to come at a state level

• Council Member Linda Kochmar shared that a new position has been filled for the first time as of 3 weeks ago to help domestic violence survivors file orders of protection.

• The city approved Council Bill #861/Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE) Application Deadline by a vote of 5 -1.