Highlights from the weekly report (November 3) from City of Lakewood Manager, Andrew Neiditz to the Mayor and Council Members:
- Make A Difference Day: The Youth Council organized and coordinated projects throughout the city in observance of the largest national day of helping others, Make a Difference Day. The day began with the Kick-Off event held in City Hall and attended by Mayor Thomas and Lakewood’s Promise executive director Eric Renz. Also in attendance were 65 soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, representatives from the Lakeview Neighborhood Association, Caring for Kids and the National Honor Society. The projects for our city were Bicycles from Heaven, Caring for Kids, and park beautification at Active Park and Fort Steilacoom Park. An additional 85 soldiers participated at the Fort Steilacoom Park site.
- Successful John Op: Lakewood Officers conducted a prostitution John operation on Friday October 27th during the afternoon and evening hours. Members of Special Operations, Community Policing, Patrol, Traffic, and Detectives all worked together to make it a success. They were supported by a command post and team from Pierce County DEM. There were 18 arrests total: 16 for soliciting prostitution and 2 felony UPCS-crack cocaine. The drug charges were on two working prostitutes in the area.
– Community Policing Training to the Military: October 24th was the first of several training days for non-commissioned officers of the 2d Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, part of our community connector unit. After an officer professional development session conducted by Chief Saunders and SGT Mike Noel for battalion officers on the correlation between our community policing operations and nation-building, the battalion commander asked for similar instruction for all his 300+ non-commissioned officers prior to departure for Iraq. They will also have an opportunity to ride along on patrol as the final phase of their training.
– Truck and Tractor Day: 100 children celebrated the season at Ft. Steilacoom Park on October 21st at the Parks & Recreation’s first annual Truck and Tractor Day event. Kids climbed up in a variety of big rigs including tractors, fire engines, a huge tow truck and bucket and garbage trucks. They also made a craft project, received a hard hat and took a hayride around Lake Waughop with their families. Several local businesses coordinated with Parks Maintenance staff to make this first-time event a success.
– Special Olympics Campaign: Our final dollar count for 2006 is $9,464.92 for Special Olympics, which is significantly higher than last year.
– Crime Stats: In the third quarter of 2006, overall crime is down 24% compared to the same period in 2005. Property crime is down 28%. Violent crime is up 13%. The majority of that increase is explained by increased gang violence, a situation common to most large cities in the State. Lakewood began an emphasis on gang crime in May and has been successful with nearly 90 gang arrests. Since the implementation of this emphasis violent crime has been on a down-trend, in September actually falling below 2005 levels. Through third quarter of 2006 vehicle accident rates have dropped 16%. In September they dropped to 58 total accidents, the lowest level we have experienced since forming the police department. We cautiously attribute this to our school zone enforcement program.
– Housing First Program: The City of Tacoma and the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) are attempting to house the homeless and reduce encampments in a program called Housing First. Six housing providers in Lakewood have recently agreed to accept these tenants in their units. The residents submit to a background check and agree to abstain from criminal activity in exchange for housing assistance. Since this program began there has been a six fold decrease in needed services (i.e. visits to hospital emergency rooms and mental health triage centers, etc). The cost of providing housing is minor compared to the cost of jail or hospital space. We are also connecting with MDC and each of the complexes that will be housing homeless to create police/community housing partnerships.
– Lakewood Firefighter Hero: On October 31st, Firefighter Jonathan Tinsley, who was off duty and in his personal vehicle driving on Steilacoom Blvd., observed a male who appeared to be attempting to hit a female on the side of the road across the street from the Lakewood Fire Station. Tinsley stopped his vehicle and approached on foot. The male suspect was still attempting to “hit” the female who was frantically attempting to get away. As Tinsley’s friend distracted the suspect, who was still attempting to assault the female, Firefighter Tinsley tackled the suspect. As he did so, a large butcher knife came free from the suspect’s hands. As the suspect violently attempted to free himself, possibly in an attempt to regain the knife, Tinsley used the force necessary to detain the suspect until Police arrived and took him into custody. It later became apparent that the suspect was still actively attempting to stab the victim with the butcher knife when Firefighter Tinsley tackled him. She had been stabbed several times in a vehicle from which she fled. Tinsley’s actions saved the life of the victim; had it not been for his actions, this very likely could have been a homicide investigation.