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Safety of Bothell in jeopardy if voters don’t pass levy, mayor says

BOTHELL, Wash. - The November election is a few weeks away and voters in Bothell have a public safety levy to consider.

Mayor Andy Rheaume says he worries the safety of Bothell could be in jeopardy if it doesn’t pass.

Bothell has grown rapidly in the past decade, home now to about 45,000 people, Rheaume says with the growth has come more crime.

“The crimes are here, they’re increasing and they are becoming more brutal and intense crimes,” said Rheaume.

“Bothell is a pretty safe city but this region is experiencing some trends that can overwhelm any police department,” said Captain Mike Johnson with the Bothell Police Department. He adds the city may have grown but the police department hasn’t.

“When I started in 1994 we had three officer and one sergeant as our staffing, and today if the schedule lines up that way we'll go with three officers and a sergeant,” said Johnson.

The city says the levy would add:

  • New Patrol Swing Shift during times of highest call volume, allowing for more officers on the street when accidents and crime are highest;
  • New Community Crime Reduction Team to focus on early and coordinated response to problematic and recurring trends such as burglaries, traffic issues, property theft and neighborhood nuisances;
  • Additional police officers to address traffic enforcement, school safety and community engagement;
  • A mental health professional to effectively connect people to resources.

“Some of the issues speak for themselves. Last year the Northshore school district reported 200 students who are homeless, sleeping in their cars,” said Johnson.

The levy would also benefit the fire department with 6 new firefighters and a new aid car to ensure full-time emergency medical services at Station 45 (Canyon Park) to respond to growing calls for services in North Bothell.

“That’s going to improve our response time for the north end of the city,” said Johnson.

The city limits of Bothell spread across both King and Snohomish counties which Rheaume says puts the city in the cross path for homelessness and crime migration from both north and south.

“We have issues in Snohomish County with heroin and gangs and we’re kind of in the middle so if we don’t do something now I worry about the future of the city from a public safety standpoint,” said Rheaume.

The city of Bothell says the investment is approximately $220/year on $500,000 home (44 cents/$1,000 assessed value; expires in 12 years)

Ballots will be mailed out October 17.