Northwest NEWS

August 31, 1998


Carnation needs a proactive police department

   In today's dangerous world, people everywhere are concerned for the safety of their families, homes, business and property. People want their own dedicated police departments with swift response times.
   Police departments, however, are costly. Officers need on-going training, require dependable vehicles, uniforms and specialized equipment. Departments need enough officers and staff to function.
   A well-organized police department can provide a whole array of police services to help police and citizens work together.
   Block watch programs, fingerprint services (required for everything today) vacation house checks, welfare checks, programs for teaching children safety, a DARE officer, unlocking cars so citizens can get safely on the road home and a variety of other services can make an enormous difference in community safety.
   For the past several years, the City of Carnation has struggled to finance the police department and eliminate the problems that have plagued the department. Presently, the city council and mayor are considering eliminating our own police department and contracting with King County.
   Yet, this really isn't an acceptable solution. Once our own department is dissolved, start-up expenses will prohibit ever changing our mind, and there is a vast difference between the reactive services King County is offering and a proactive department of our own which could include the services mentioned previously.
   And, regardless of which police department the city selects, money to pay for police services must come from somewhere. The city must create a method for financing whatever department it chooses to use. Going with King County doesn't mean we don't have to pay for it.
   The mayor has already stated he has decided to go with King County and has stated he doesn't want to be bothered with worrying about our own department.
   Yet this is a momentous decision that will affect Carnation, probably forever! I personally believe that we, the citizens of Carnation have the right to have a say in which police department we use. We, the citizens, are the ones paying for it.
   A chief needs a relationship with the city council, a police liaison who works between the police department and the city. To successfully function, the police department needs more than a couple officers.
   A successful department needs to interact with the city council and needs to be answerable to someone.
   I have been campaigning to keep our own police department. I cannot do this without your help. If you, as citizens of this city, want to keep our department, please contact me to see what you can do to help. This is going to happen very soon and if we are to be successful, we must act immediately.
   Stephen G. Osterday, Carnation