Brian Coddington

Emphasizing Engagement and Enforcement

Brian Coddington, Director, Communications and Marketing, 509.625.6740

Friday, September 22, 2023 at 9:26 a.m.

Emphasizing Engagement and Enforcement

An enforcement emphasis around the area of Second Avenue and Division Street is returning some early positive results. Proactive police outreach nearly tripled over the past two weeks and calls to police have declined in the gateway area.

Mayor Nadine Woodward, Police Chief Craig Meidl, and downtown Captain Steve Wohl announced the emphasis last week. A few highlights from the quarter-mile radius:

  • Officers initiated contact with individuals 279 times in and around the gateway area between September 6 and 19, compared to 101 times during the previous two weeks.
  • Calls to police declined from 305 to 284 in that area during that period.
  • Last week, crime reported in all of downtown dropped more than 23%. Only 3 incidents of violent crime were reported downtown.
  • Property crime remains down nearly 16% and total crime remains down more than 11% since the beginning of the year when the department doubled the number of officers downtown.
  • The enforcement emphasis is part of an intentional plan to put new and restored guardrails alongside services to keep public spaces safe and healthy. Those include, with a lot of help from all of you:
    • Updating the City’s camping ordinance
    • Working to enact a local drug use ordinance and a statewide drug possession law
    • Adding more emergency night-by-night space for those who need a safe place to stay
    • Changing the police staffing model to put more officers on patrol in neighborhoods
    • Doubling the number of officers on patrol downtown
    • Prohibiting gathering in parks overnight
    • Establishing a Violent Crimes Task Force to address the most prolific and dangerous offenders
    • Expanding the days and hours of the Homeless Outreach Team to offer assistance and cleanup 7 days a week

“Resetting expectations takes consistent and ongoing effort by our officers to send the clear message that we have zero tolerance for lawless behavior,” Woodward said. “Our officers are committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe for everyone and we are encouraged by our early progress.”

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