All of us want safe neighborhoods, streets, and parks. For our economy to prosper, people have to feel safe. I have spent my career working on the issues of homelessness, addiction, and public safety. I have continued to focus on these critical issues as a Councilmember, through my leadership on the Safe Streets Initiative. The initiative is making positive progress, but we must do more. I will take these efforts to the next level and make our streets cleaner and safer, while ensuring that the vulnerable in our community are given the opportunity to succeed. As part of this, I will expand the Everett Police Department’s (EPD) community-oriented policing efforts, which build trust and rapport between communities and police. Here are my priorities for improving public safety:
Intensify efforts to reduce opioid addiction
Snohomish County has only 16 subsidized detox beds. Increased treatment options and treatment capacity are critical for getting people with addictions back on to a stable path. As a Councilmember, I have been an advocate in Olympia for more treatment resources, which is a growing problem. As Mayor, I will ensure that Everett benefits from additional State resources for this. At the same time, we have to intensify efforts to reduce the supply of opioids to our community. Drug dealers, career criminals, and known drug houses must be identified, arrested, and prosecuted.
Ensure that the Everett Police Department (EPD) is fully staffed and trained
Everett’s Police Department must be fully staffed. Attrition is a major issue as many of our officers are reaching retirement age. While the department has done an excellent job of recruiting new cadets, we are losing many years of invaluable policing experience. I helped to pass legislation in Everett that will enable us to hire more experienced officers to ensure that we keep our standards high and increase public safety. I have also supported expanded training of Everett police officers in de-escalation tactics and in recognizing and eliminating bias.
Increase coordination between first responders and service providers
We need increased coordination and partnerships between first responders, social support agencies, courts, and nonprofits. Getting everyone to work together better and learn from each other will spur innovation, decrease crime, and reduce costs. Our police and fire departments represent more than half of the City of Everett’s budget. By supporting first responders appropriately, we can reduce the amount of time they spend addressing quality of life issues so they can focus on addressing crime and public safety.
Expand the department’s community-oriented policing efforts
Community-oriented policing focuses on building relationships of trust and cooperation with local communities. I strongly support community-oriented policing and, as Mayor, will work with the department to expand these efforts. Everett’s community-oriented policing efforts work directly with young people to reduce the chances that they will become involved in gangs and crime. It enables officers to know and understand a community and the people who live there.
Better address gun violence
There are a number of important steps we can take to reduce gun violence in Everett. As Mayor, I will advocate for a law requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the Everett Police Departments within 24-48 hours. I will also push for the release of firearm trace data, so that the public can better understand how crime guns are entering our community. I will also work to improve enforcement of protection orders, particularly the required removal of firearms under these orders from individuals who may present a threat. Finally, in our communities most impacted by gun violence, I will intensify efforts to break the cycle of violence through expanded community policing efforts, education, and other interventions, particularly with young people.