2014 was a busy year for the Snoqualmie Police Department, as Chief Steve McCulley’s officers began providing police services within the city limits of his home town, neighboring North Bend.
In a recent North Bend Police Services Survey, nearly 95% of respondents felt the Snoqualmie Police Department was responsive to the community’s needs and about 85% felt the police services were either excellent (46.5%) or good (41%). Roughly 73% of respondents said generally they felt safe (54%) or very safe (18.5%) in North Bend.
When asked about their crime level perceptions, 52% of respondents thought crime had decreased over the past year, 38% thought it had stayed the same and just 10% thought it had increased.
How is SPD Doing in North Bend?
This week the Snoqualmie Police Department released a report for its first 9 months on the job in North Bend – since taking over the King County Sheriff’s Department police service contract in March 2014.
One statistic candidly points to how busy officers were last year. From March 8th – December 31st, SPD received 5,139 calls for service from North Bend’s population (city limits) of roughly 6,500. In Snoqualmie, officers responded to 6,217 calls for the full year from Snoqualmie’s almost doubled population of 12,500. In nearby Issaquah, which has about 33,5000 residents, their officers received 13,935 calls in 2014.
More Police Coverage for 2015
The City of North Bend voters approved a sales tax increase initiative in November 2014, which will provide an eighth officer in 2015 to assist with the high call volume. The move will increase North Bend to 1.80 police officers for every 1,000 residents, with the national average being 1.07 officers per 1,000.
In 2014, seven police officers worked the city limits and provided single officer coverage 18 hours per day. In 2015, having an assigned eighth officer will provide two-officer coverage, 16 hours per day.
Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley acknowledged some of the department’s challenges in North Bend, including managing the high call volume coupled by the large number of physical arrests and criminal activity; dealing with the criminal transient activity and transient camps; the April building explosion on East North Bend Way and the felony stabbing and sexual assault that occurred the first weekend officers began patrolling North Bend.
2014 NORTH BEND PATROL STATS, 3/8/14-12/31/14
The City of North Bend also spent about $30,000 on a Patrol Emphasis Fund, part of which was to address citizen concerns over the local transient population and related crime. That overtime funded 201 patrol hours, 170 for transient camp patrol hours and resulted in 75 criminal transient camps being cleaned up.
According the to year-end police report, numerous successes were achieved in North Bend, including:
- Over 75 criminal transient camps were cleaned up, which led to a “dramatic reduction in the criminal transient population as well as general criminal activity.”
- 400 suspects were physically arrested aided by “rapid, efficient and effective response to a very high volume of police/emergency calls for service.”
- No citizen complaints during the first year of high police activity and an “overwhelming positive reaction and support from North Bend residents to our professional and proactive police presence.”
- Coordinated response with North Bend Public Works & Eastside Fire & Rescue during flooding and explosion events.
- Apprehended robbery suspect responsible for two major thefts at the Outlet Mall
- Implemented a Twitter notification system
For 2015, Chief McCulley, has set some big goals for his department in North Bend, including:
- Continue efficient and enhanced police coverage
- Reduce crime by 20%
- Continue enforcement of transient camps
- Get North Bend on the 10 Safest Cities in Washington list
- Increase women’s self-defense courses
- Enhance security of the Outlet Mall and other North Bend businesses
- Launch a North Bend bicycle safety rodeo for kids
- Host a National Night Out event
- Increase engagement with local senior center
Both the Police Services Survey and the Year-end Police Stats Report will be published on the Snoqualmie Police Department website soon.