Community police had strong first year
by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--The city's contract with King County for police services has run its course for one full year now, tailoring the previously regional service to the community's needs as part of its "community policing" philosophy.
Four officers joined the force: Tiffany Atwood, Kent Baxter, Craig Barnes, and Mary Pat Illingworth. Each wears the distinctive Woodinville uniform, but each is a King County Police officer.
"We seemed to have a favorable response from the distinctive uniforms and patrol cars," said Sgt. Rich Krogh, Police Administrator for the city. "But there's still a little bit of confusion over whether we have our own police department."
Krogh says people still call City Hall with their non-emergency police calls, when they should be calling King County's number: 296-3311.
Krogh says the programs and implementation of the new police contract and model have gone smoothly, including business contacts, apartment watch programs, and student ride-alongs.
"The officers (Baxter and Atwood) have mentioned they've seen a huge difference in the relationships with the kids when they see them in town," Krogh said. "We're going to continue that into next year for sure."
Krogh said other changes expected in the new year include a field operations sergeant in Clint Olson, a Woodinville resident for 12 years. Olson will serve as an additional officer with a Woodinville-marked patrol car while Krogh will act as the administrative liaison.
Thefts and larceny
Krogh said the No. 1 concern for 1996 proved to be thefts and car prowls, problems they hope to get a handle on in 1997. He also said domestic violence is a big issue in the community, and he has begun work with Rhonda McKim and her violence prevention and intervention task force.
"We'll be trying to get the mess sorted out," he said. "We will be working not only within the criminal justice system, but also with the private sector."
Other programs planned include fraud and credit card forgery awareness for local businesses. A service they provide now--vacation house checks--is one that not many residents are familiar with.
"With a department this size and a community this size, we can offer services like the vacation house checks that other departments aren't able to do," Krogh said.
"I think it has been a good year," he continued, "a year of transition from the old ways to the new ways. The community policing philosophy takes time: It's a way of delivering services.
"We hope to continue to provide the city with high quality police services for a long time and continue to tailor the services to Woodinville."