City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/22/08

February 22, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Appointment of Bret Farrar as Police Chief: The city manager announced today the appointment of Bret Farrar as Police Chief effective February 23rd. Bret has been a police officer for 20 years, and has been with the Lakewood Police Department since its inception, serving as Assistant Chief since September 2006. He has earned the respect of the department, many people in the community, and key players in the criminal justice system. He is well prepared to do a good job of leading the excellent performance of the department.
  • Police Station Groundbreaking: The City broke ground at a well attended ceremony on Thursday for the new Lakewood Police Station at 9401 Lakewood Drive. The general contractor, Porter Brothers, will receive official notice to proceed with the work as early as next week. Construction is anticipated to be completed by early spring 2009.
  • Code Enforcement and Neighborhood Patrol Teams: This week, Community Development (CD) staff met with the City's Police neighborhood patrol team. The purpose of the meeting was to train community service officers (CSO's) on code enforcement administrative procedures and ACCESS database management so they could assist with the current backlog of code enforcement property maintenance cases. It is common that CD operates with a large backlog - code enforcement remains a very popular program. Currently, the department has 174 outstanding property maintenance and LOCRS investigations, plus abatements, and dangerous buildings. By coordinating our efforts with community policing, we can improve our service levels.
  • Lakefront Street Ends - Next Steps: Lakefront Street Ends will not be an agenda item at the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on February 26th as previously announced. Before any further public discussion, staff will conduct additional research regarding property/boundary line adjustments and easements, and related issues. Follow-on meetings on this subject will be announced in subsequent issues of the city's "Lakewood Connections"
  • Open House - Storm Water Management Program: There will be an Open House in the Council Chambers on Wednesday, February 27th, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, at which time the public is invited to review and comment on the proposed changes to the City's Storm Water Management Program. The program revisions are a part of the City's compliance efforts with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which is a requirement of the federal Clean Water Act. A draft of the program is also available on the City's website at: /images/stories/PublicWorks/resources/Lakewood_SWMP_2008_Draft.pdf.
  • DUI Sentence: Lakewood's Associate City Attorney Matt Kaser successfully tried the case to a jury of a repeat drunk driver who was ultimately sentenced to a total of 940 days in jail followed by 300 days on Electric Home Monitoring, together with five years probation. The offender had prior convictions for DUI as well as being on a "deferred prosecution" at the time of the arrest which would have allowed her to avoid a DUI conviction by completing treatment for alcoholism. Between the time of conviction and the sentencing the offender accrued a new violation which the Court considered in rendering this sentence.
  • Senior Center Valentine's Day Celebration: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center joined together for friendship and the spirit of love last Thursday at the "Heart to Heart" Valentines Day Celebration. Dorothy Wilhelm, guest speaker and "My Home Town" commentator, inspired friendship and told stories; over 65 older adults attended this event.
  • AWC's "Engaging Citizens in Gov't Performance": Councilmembers Thomas, Finnigan, and Neary attended the new one-day conference of the Association of Washington Cities this week in Tacoma, along with assistant city manager David Bugher and communications director Jeff Brewster.
  • Speed Enforcement Emphasis: Motorists are advised to watch their speed this weekend because law enforcement will be watching. 32 officers from 15 law enforcement agencies in Pierce County will begin ticketing law breakers this Saturday on Highways 161 (Meridian), 7 and 512 as part of a concentrated statewide mobilization targeting speeding drivers. Officers also will be looking for speeders on 176th East and Sunrise Blvd. The purpose of the special emphasis, dubbed "X-52" is to stop crashes before they happen by implementing a patrol involving multiple agencies somewhere in the state every week of the year. Similar mobilizations, conducted last year in Pierce County by 13 law enforcement agencies in conjunction with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, resulted in speeds on some roads in the area being reduced as much as 70% for drivers going at least 11 miles over the speed limit. The public does not make the connection between speeding and fatal crashes as readily as it does between impaired driving and fatalities. Yet, drivers in Washington driving over the speed limit have been responsible for almost 40% of all traffic deaths in recent years. The Tacoma Pierce County DUI Task Force received an $85,000 grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to conduct both Speed and DUI patrols through the end of September. Motorists can expect to see the following agencies outside their usual jurisdictions beginning this weekend: Ruston, Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Fircrest, Sumner, Steilacoom, Puyallup, Lakewood, Fife, University Place, Bonney Lake, Dupont and Milton Police Departments, along with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. The Washington State Patrol is participating by providing dispatch and assigning extra troopers to the effort.
  • City Bids Farewell to Chief Saunders: The Lakewood City Council recognized Police Chief Larry Saunders with a proclamation at its February 19th meeting. The Council recognized his ten years of outstanding service to the Lakewood community under Pierce County and the City. Among other things, the Council recognized Saunders' efforts to reduce crime, partner with other regional agencies, start up the City's police department in 2004, and advocate for a new police station on Lakewood Drive. Fire Chief Ken Sharp also recognized the Chief for his cooperation with the Lakewood Fire Department, presented him with a leather Fire Department jacket, and spoke of the excellent working relationship Chief Saunders had helped cultivate. Chief Saunders will officially retire on February 29th and shortly thereafter will report to Fort Jackson to "re-green" with the Army and prepare for his deployment to Iraq. Colonel Larry Saunders will train Iraqi police officers during his 12-15 month deployment.