EVERETT, Wash. -- Leaders in Everett are looking to increase the police presence in the city over the next couple of years.
Mayor Cassie Franklin says crime in Everett is down, but she says people who live in the city report not feeling safe.
“That is something as a law enforcement agency, I feel we still need to address,” said Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman.
He says the way to address those concerns is to have a visible police presence in the city. However, that is a challenge due to the rapid growth of Everett.
In 2015, Everett’s population was 105,800. In 2020, it’s projected to be 112,775. That is an increase of 6,975 people in about five years.
During the same time, the budgeted number of officers for the city has increased by five, from 201 to 206.
This year the city will have a ration of 1.84 officers per 1,000 population.
“We are projected this year, in 2020, to be at our lowest ratio since 2007 in terms of police officers per thousand,” said Templeman.
Keeping officers has also been a challenge.
“We’ve had a hard time keeping a full department,” said Franklin.
In the about five years, Everett police filled 92 officer positions. Right now, the department is still not at full staff. Franklin believes retaining officers, as well as creating new positions is worth investing in.
“As we move forward into the budget process for 2021, I think it’s important that we ask our residence and community leaders where they would like to see us invest the dollars we have and where they would suggest we create more opportunities for revenue to come into the city so that we can increase investments in areas that we know our city is passionate about,” said Franklin.
The city is hoping to add 24 new officers by 2022, bringing the total number to 230.
Chief Templeman says this effort will not just help keep crime numbers low, but make the community feel safer.