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Arlington police goals: Partner, cut crime 30%

Arlington Public Safety Director Bruce Stedman addresses the City Council Aug. 25 to report the police department
Arlington Public Safety Director Bruce Stedman addresses the City Council Aug. 25 to report the police department's progress since June 3.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — What progress has the Arlington Police Department made since the study that revealed deficiencies in its operations?

Public Safety Director Bruce Stedman addressed the City Council Aug. 25 to report the department's progress since June 3 in five areas; communications, accountability, professional development, succession planning and strategic planning.

"Most of the time, we've been addressing these areas one-on-one with our employees and volunteers," Stedman said. "We've got a lot of great officers and records personnel. I'm very happy with them as individuals."

Stedman has instituted an intra-departmental newsletter that lets personnel know every week what the new developments are on fronts such as setting up shop in the Smokey Point substation.

While the "All-In" campaign has connected police to community members, giving each side points of contact with the other, Stedman also touted the police's improved interactions with other city departments, and even outside agencies such as the banks that own vacant homes.

"We've been able to work with code enforcement to trespass people from those homes," Stedman said. "Last week, we tracked down one homeowner who'd lost his house to the bank, but his name was still on the title, so they agreed to sign a trespass order."

As both Arlington's fire chief and a former college-level instructor, Stedman has been loaning out his own texts, and securing other resources, to give the officers of today the tools to become the leaders of tomorrow

Stedman recited the police department's new mission statement — to partner with the community to provide "exceptional law enforcement services to improve the quality of life in Arlington" — and listed its three-year goals for 2014-17:

  • Hire, train and retain quality staff to meet the community's needs.
  • Reduce drug-related crime by 30 percent.
  • Build and maintain strong community relationships, participation and trust.
  • Develop a cohesive department.

When council member Jesica Stickles asked how that 30 percent reduction would be measured, Stedman admitted that the police were still hashing out those metrics.

"To a certain degree, it's about quality of life," Stedman said.

Stedman agreed with council member Marilyn Oertle's assertion that the criminal issues facing Arlington "don't stop at our city limits," which is why he's been exploring cooperative efforts with other police chiefs.

"Are other cities using residential trespasses the same way we are?" Mayor Barbara Tolbert asked.

"They've been calling us about it," Stedman said.

For the full list of points on which the police has made progress, log onto http://arlingtonwa.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=8812.

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