Police stopping more drivers but that doesn’t always mean a ticket

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By Doug Petrowski

The Mountlake Terrace Police Department touted figures at the Aug. 2 City Council work/study session that they say show the success of the department in traffic safety and education, productivity and quality of its arrest-of-crime-suspects record.

Chief Greg Wilson and Assistant Chief Pete Caw presented to the council the 2012 Second Quarter Police Department Update containing statistics on police calls for service, traffic stops, traffic tickets written, court filings, revenue collected, crimes reported, code and parking enforcement and animal control calls.

Chief Wilson pointed to the department’s number of traffic stops made by officers during the first six months of 2012.

“It’s the highest number of traffic stops we have done in the last six years,” Wilson said. “We’ve made 4,284 traffic stops, but we’ve only issued 2,394 infractions, so there’s a lot of education (to encourage a) change of behavior just by having a talk with drivers. Not everyone who gets stopped gets a ticket.

Assistant Chief Caw shared statistics that showed the number of court filings of arrested suspects in Mountlake Terrace during the first half of 2012. There were 2,136 filings in January through June, a pace that — if continued– would top the 3,995 that were filed in all of 2011, the highest yearly total ever for the Mountlake Terrace Police Department.

“Filings are a very good measure of productivity,” Caw said. He explained that prosecutors will file court charges not only when there is probable cause, but when there is a high possibility of having the case proved in court and obtaining a conviction.

As for the record pace of filings, Caw said, “We’re very confident we will exceed last year’s numbers.”

Mayor Pro Tem Laura Sonmore praised the figures in the report, stating, “I know these are just charts and one can just kind of blindside them, but it really is a positive reflection on the service our citizens get.”

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