During 2016 annual report, Mountlake Terrace police chief pledges to maintain public trust

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During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Greg Wilson was presented with a surprise “Patriotic Employer” award from the U.S. Department of Defense. The award recognizes Wilson and the department for supporting employees who also serve in the Reserve and National Guard. (Photos courtesy City of Mountlake Terrace)

With high-profile police incidents making the news across the U.S. in recent years, maintaining public trust is a key goal for the City of Mountlake Terrace Police Department, Police Chief Greg Wilson told the City Council Tuesday night during the department’s 2016 annual report.

“With the national public scrutiny and demand for police reform, I think it’s very important that we ensure fair and impartial policing,” Wilson said. Department leadership continues to review what Wilson described as “high-liability events” – use of force, pursuits, officer-involved collisions and injuries — to ensure that in those cases all police personnel are following proper procedures and policies, as well as state and federal law, he added.

The department is also committed to reviewing both internal and external complaints involving officers and police staff, Wilson explained, to ensure that the department is policing its own. “We’re a stickler to make sure people are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” he said.

Commander Mike Haynes introduces his family to the City Council. From left, they are son Austin, wife April and daughter Sydney.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Wilson introduced newly-promoted MTPD Commander Mike Haynes, who attended with his family to celebrate his new job.

Haynes then proceeded to deliver part of the annual report to the council, along with MTPD Asst. Chief Pete Caw.

Haynes shared charts from the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for the past four years that showed that calls for service in 2016 were down slightly from the 2015, and that the 2016 total of 11,337 represents an average of 31 calls per day.

In 2016, the city had 35 violent crimes and 547 property crimes for a total of 582 crimes, “which is a remarkably low crime rate for a city of our size,” Haynes said.

Larceny — basically petty theft — constitutes the majority of police cases at 48 percent. Those crimes are typically related to narcotics activities, as thieves steal items that can be sold to pay for their drug habit, Haynes said.

Asst. Chief Pete Caw then talked about the city’s efforts regarding code and parking enforcement. He noted that the police department’s goal is to consistently improve the image of the community and foster economic development by encouraging people to clean up their property.

Wilson added that the goal is not to write tickets but to change behavior by educating people to take care of their yards and improve overall aesthetics. “People want to come into area that is clean and taken care of,” Wilson said.

In other action, the council at its Tuesday meeting unanimously authorized City Manager Scott Hugill to sign a professional services agreement with ARC Architects for needs, space planning and cost estimating for a new Mountlake Terrace City Hall. The contract, for $53,972, will cover ARC’s work with the City Hall Advisory Committee to identify what needs to go into a city hall, the space required and the associated costs.

Hugill said that ARC has “vast experience designing public facilities as well as working with communities on design doing both the conceptual and final design.”

The scope of work will include extensive public meetings and outreach to make sure the community has more opportunities to weigh in on the project than occurred during the previous city hall design process.

The advisory committee is scheduled to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding the design in late May or early June, Hugill said, and it will be based on feedback from both the community and the council.

Finally, the council approval adoption of 1) Lodging Tax Advisory Committee 2017 funding recommendation for money to the following organization for tourism-related events: Cheeseburger Babies Foundation (3rd of July celebration), Friends of the Arts – Arts of the Terrace, Snohomish County Tourism Bureau and Tour de Terrace; and 2) Adoption of Commute Trip Reduction Plan Ordinance.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

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