City of University Place announcement.
U.P. Police Chief Greg Premo has a message for the city’s business owners: please don’t wait for a problem to reach out to the police.
“We will always be there when there is an emergency or a crime in progress,” said Premo. “But we welcome the opportunity to speak with individual business owners—or groups of businesses—before there is an issue to better understand what they need and for them to understand the challenges we face in protecting our community.”
Some of those challenges will be discussed in great detail in two upcoming public safety forums on June 23 at noon and on July 14 at 6 p.m. Business owners and residents are encouraged to participate in person or virtually to learn more about the staffing challenges U.P.P.D. faces given the city’s growth over the last few decades.
“We know from recent polling that public safety is a top priority for residents and business owners in U.P.,” Premo said. “But from 2011 to 2020, U.P. added three times the number of new residents compared to the previous decade. We had 869 active business licenses in 2011 but by 2020 that number had more than doubled to close to 1,600. Yet as of 2022, we have only netted one new position. We have the fewest officers per 1,000 residents in the state. Cities with populations from 20,000-60,000 have average staffing of 1.19 officers per 1,000 residents. We have 0.45 officers per 1,000.”
Premo said this disparity affects the department’s response times to calls, as well as efforts to engage in proactive policing and crime prevention efforts. That is why the City Council is considering a November ballot proposal for a public safety levy.
Learn more here about the upcoming public forums and make plans to listen, learn and be informed.