How has staffing challenges affected public safety services in U.P.?

When the established a Police Department in 1996, the City had 25 officers.  That staffing model allowed to City’s Police Department to adopt a motto called “no call too small.” This is one of the components of community-oriented policing – having sufficient staffing to take time for officers to work with residents on issues in their neighborhood, not just “take the report and go.”

Today, with a staffing of 16 officers and a growing demand on public safety services, that motto has been severely impacted. UPPD officers still respond to all types of calls for service, but our response time may be delayed compared to year’s past. Also, we ask citizens to complete online reports for several types of crimes to avoid dispatching officers to help maximize their time. This is not the most effective way to address crime problems. While online reporting may be convenient for some citizens, it does not provide the most efficient way to document and review a criminal incident. Most citizens are not report writers and either don’t know what to include or how to write it accurately. Also, they may miss evidence or important details that can be helpful in an investigation. Online reports are still reviewed by a UPPD supervisor, but the process still doesn’t allow for the most effective response to a reported criminal incident.

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1. Why is the City discussing a ballot measure to increase funding for Public Safety?
2. How much do I currently pay for police services in University Place?
3. I pay thousands of dollars every year in property tax. Why does so little go to the City for public safety expenses?
4. Why isn’t the amount I pay in property taxes to the City enough?
5. Why can’t the City just fund Public Safety and then cover the other City functions with whatever is left?
6. Would a property tax increase tax apartment complexes equally?
7. Why can’t apartment complexes pay more for police services because they use more of the service?
8. How does our community’s police staffing compare to similarly sized cities?
9. Has the U.P. business community seen an increase in crime?
10. How many additional officers would be added under the plan that the City Council is considering?
11. Any other staffing additions proposed?
12. How much would this additional staffing cost?
13. How has staffing challenges affected public safety services in U.P.?
14. How would these additions improve public safety?