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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/15/08

February 15, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Crime Early Warning System: On February 4th, the Tacoma Police Department hosted the grant kick-off for the “Crime Early Warning System – CEWS”. This grant is a multi-agency endeavor involving Tacoma and Lakewood Police Departments. The focus of this grant is to have informational alerts based on data received from 9-1-1 calls and reports sent to first-level supervisors and patrol officers when a crime “spikes” in an area. When the supervisors and officers receive the alerts, the goal is to have appropriate resources dedicated to the problem with a quick resolution. The expectation is to have the system operational mid-fall.
  • "State of the City" at Lakewood United: The city manager presented a “state of the city” talk to Lakewood United at its Thursday morning meeting this week, and discussed the Year-End report for 2007. The report is available on the City’s website. He also presented to the Clover Park Rotary Club at their February 6th meeting.
  • Police Department Awards Ceremony: At today’s awards program, the Medal of Distinguished Service was awarded to Officer Jeremy Prater, and the Life-saving Award to Officers Dan Tenney, James Lofland, Adam Leonard, Vince Sivankeo, and Charles Porche. Alex Kasuske was formally commissioned as Lieutenant. The Police Chief's Commendation was awarded to SWAT team members Sergeant Mark Eakes, Officers Vince Sivankeo, Charles Porche, Jeremy Vahle, Mark Renninger, Brian Markert, Matt Brown, Jon Waller, and Mike Wiley; and the Police Chief's Citation to Officer Austin Lee and Kris Nash
  • Volunteer Recognition Ceremony: At the February 14th Police Volunteers Recognition reception, Kristy Kernen and Sharron Kanter were nominated for the National Points of Light Citizen Outstanding Volunteer Award, and the Police Chief's Commendation was give to Terry Roy, Maddi Wivel and the Police Explorers. The Police Chief's Citation was awarded to Mike Kanter, Sharron Kanter, Kristy Kernen, and Chaplain Alvie Robbins.
  • Special Olympics kick off: Several members of the Lakewood Police Department attended the Special Olympics 2008 kick-off campaign in Seattle on February 8th. The Lakewood Police Department is involved in several fund raisers for Special Olympics. On April 12th will be the “Tip-A-Cop” fund raiser at all Red Robin restaurants. On May 2-3-4 will be the “Krispy Kreme Roof Sit”, where police will be sitting on the roofs of Krispy Kreme doughnut shops. June 6th will be the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Lakewood will be hosting a golf tournament and a fun run in August.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/8/08

February 8, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Police Station Ground Breaking: The Police Station Ground Breaking Ceremony will be held on February 21st at 10:00 a.m. at the site on the east side of Lakewood Drive, south of Steilacoom Blvd.
  • Building on the Grassy Knoll: Construction is about to begin on the “grassy knoll” next to City Hall. The developer, MJR Development, will be building a 40,000 SF office building that may include some retail. They have scheduled a ground breaking ceremony for Thursday, February 21st at 2:30 p.m.
  • Meeting on the Lakewood Evening Report Center: Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson, Juvenile Court Administrator Shelly Maluo, Leslie Swalley representing County Councilmember Dick Muri, Mayor Doug Richardson, City Manager Andrew Neiditz, Police Chief Larry Saunders, Assistant Chief Bret Farrar, Lt. Heidi Hoffman - LPD Community Outreach Unit supervisor, Assistant School Superintendents Gary Wilson and Robin Sweeney, Carrie Holden from Pierce County Boys and Girls, and Beth Wilson representing Tacoma Pierce County Health Department met February 6th to discuss preliminary concepts for opening an evening report center for Lakewood youth under custody of the juvenile court. The Juvenile Court will require youth under probation or pending trial to report to the center in the evenings where they will receive tutoring, counseling and be able to participate in chaperoned, healthy activities. It is one of three such pilot programs in the County and will be fully funded by the County. City representatives also discussed plans to expand the evening report center into a broader youth assessment center concept with the ability to provide similar services to chronically truant or undisciplined youth not yet under the jurisdiction of the Court.
  • Report on Neighborhood Police Staffing: Currently NPO for all 6 districts are in place and working. They are having a dramatic effect on property crime in particular. The 6 CSO have all been identified; 5 are assigned and 1 is pending assignment once we complete hiring for staffing shortfalls at the front desk and in the automated traffic enforcement section. One of the assigned Neighborhood CSOs is on extended medical leave. While these hiring actions are underway, neighborhood CSOs are back-filling traffic enforcement and front desk duties on a rotating basis.
  • Lakeview Business Owners Meeting: On Tuesday February 5th, the Lakewood Police Department hosted a meeting for businesses in the Lakeview area who had experienced numerous burglaries and thefts to their business properties. The meeting was organized by the Community Policing team. A total of about 30 business owners and representatives attend the meeting.
    The following were strategies recommended and agreed upon by those attending:
    • Form a local business block watch
    • Develop an e-mail list of participating businesses so they can share information
    • Conduct walk around inspections of businesses trained Police staff to recommend physical improvements that would help prevent crimes
    • Continue to pursue having Sound Transit remove vegetation along the rear of these businesses that provides concealment to suspects
    • Pursue purchasing (by the business owners) a specialized surveillance and alert system for use by the Police Department.
    • Request our local state representative to come and discuss stricter metal theft/sale laws
  • 142 Years and Counting: The Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers: In commemoration of Black History Month the Lakewood Historical Society is presenting a program entitled “142 Years and Counting: The Continuing Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers” on Tues, Feb 12th, 2008, 7 PM in the Council Chambers of Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW. We are privileged to have COL (Ret) James Manning and other members of the Greater Puget Sound Chapter of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association present the program.
  • Meet the Police Chief Candidates: There will be a community reception on February 13th to “meet and greet” the finalist candidates for the position of Lakewood Police Chief, to replace Chief Larry Saunders who will be leaving the City later this month to take an Army assignment in Iraq. The reception will be from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Clover Park Technical College Student Service Building, and it is open to the public.
  • Orchestra at Work: The Northwest Sinfonietta is bringing its innovative new program, “Orchestra at Work” in cooperation with the City of Lakewood at 10 a.m. on Wednesday February 13th at the newly completed Sharon M. McGavick Center at the Clover Park Technical College. Lakewood residents of all ages are welcome to listen this rehearsal and “observe both the artistic and practical considerations that guide the rehearsal process.” Please visit www.nwsinfonietta.com to learn more about the orchestra.
  • Adult Coed Soccer: Lakewood Parks & Recreation Department’s Winter 2008 Adult Coed Soccer season kicks off Sunday, February 10th and continues through April 13. With six teams participating, over 100 adults will be getting active each Sunday afternoon at Fort Steilacoom Park. GO LAKEWOOD!
  • Sewer Project Update: This week the City received from the Public Works Trust Fund board for execution the loan agreement in the amount of $1,840,000 for our American Lake Gardens/Tillicum sanitary sewer project. The terms of the loan are for 20 year at ½% interest rate. $1,140,000 of the loan is associated with providing financial assistance to requesting property owners with regards to their sewer connection costs with the balance associated with financing the city’s sewer project.
  • Gambling Public Hearing: On Wednesday, February 6th, the Planning Advisory Board conducted a public hearing to take testimony on gambling in Lakewood. There were approximately 80 people in attendance. Eighteen persons spoke - 16 in support of continuing gambling in Lakewood, and two persons opposed. The PAB is expected to take up the issue again at its meeting on February 20th.
  • Lakewood Chamber Annual Chili Cook-Off: The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce held their 9th annual Chili Cook-off on Thursday, February 7th, at Clover Park Technical College, Sharon McGavick Student and Conference Center. The Cook-Off is a fundraiser sponsored by the Education Committee of the Chamber for the Business Students of the Year Scholarship Program. All of the proceeds from the Auction benefit local scholarship recipients.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 1/25/08

January 25, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Parks & Recreation’s GO Lakewood campaign: Join your community in getting active in 2008! Start the year off right at the GO Lakewood kick-off celebration and registration event at Fort Steilacoom Park on Saturday, January 26th from 10:00am – 1:00pm. GO Lakewood is a community-wide campaign to promote healthy lifestyles. Participants of all ages and fitness levels are encouraged to set goals and report their progress throughout the year. You can register on-site and be on your way to a healthier 2008. Entertainment, demonstrations, vendors, games and activities will be free for this event and a one mile walk/run will be held at 11:00am around Waughop Lake. The highlight of the kick-off celebration will be SNOW and attendees can try one of the fastest growing winter sports; snowshoeing. Snowshoes and poles will be available for people to try a new activity, which requires no previous experience. For more information contact Parks and Recreation at (253) 589-2489, or www.golakewood.cityoflakewood.us .
  • Pac Highway Open House for Ponders: Public Works will be hosting an open house with Pac Highway property/business owners on January 30th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at the Pacific Hwy Fire Station regarding roadway design options for Pacific Highway from Gravelly Lake Drive to Bridgeport Way.
  • America’s Promise Alliance for Youth designates Lakewood again as one of 100 Best Communities: Lakewood joins Bellevue and Spokane County as one of Washington’s 3-time winners of the “100 Best Communities” status from America’s Promise for its service to young people. The news release states about Lakewood that it has a high transient population due to the military, and that young people in this community attend schools that are committed to student success and have high expectations of not only the students but their parents, and school faculty and staff...
  • Bridgeport Way at Flanegan Road Retaining Wall: Wall construction on the west side of Bridgeport Way from Flanegan Road to Leach Creek will require closure of the outside southbound lane starting on January 28th. There will be full closure for the first two months of construction and then during daytime hours for the remaining three months of construction. The project is currently scheduled to be completed June 2, 2008.
  • Police Chief recruitment status: WASPC (the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs) is assisting the city manager in screening applications for the Lakewood police chief position in order to identify finalist candidates. The next step will be to schedule a series of panels to include community members, police department members, and other management staff. The panels will interview and provide advice and input to the appointment process. There will also be a community reception where the general public will be able to meet the candidates.
  • Economic Development Manager recruitment underway: The City has launched its recruitment effort for a new economic development manager to replace Joe Hannan, who left to take the city administrator position in Mukilteo. The position has been revised to take on more integrated Community Development responsibilities.
  • Blood Drive: The employee Wellness Committee organized a blood drive through Cascade Regional Blood Services who brought their bloodmobile to City Hall to collect blood donations from City employees on January 22nd in recognition of January as National Blood Donor Month. Cascade was able to collect 17 units, which are broken down, for 51 total units for local hospitals, and they were pleased as blood levels are at an extremely low level. Donations were also given from other citizen donors who saw the bloodmobile at City Hall.
  • Homeless Count with Neighborhood Police support: The Community Policing team participated in the Pierce County Homeless count on January 24th and 25th. All district NPOs and CSOs were out in the field canvassing their districts on foot in wooded areas, on the railroad tracks, checking abandoned buildings, and culverts. Very few were found on the first day, but the few that were contacted spoke freely with the officers about their situations. A number of homeless individuals left Tacoma after their homeless camp enforcement effort. The focus on the second day was on people living in local motels.
  • LPD Responds to Unknown Trouble: A female texted her friend and said she was being held at gunpoint by friends at an unknown house in Oakbrook. Dispatch eventually got a hold of the alleged victim on her cell phone. She was not making a lot of sense but was insistent someone was holding her at gunpoint. We located the house and did a surround and call out. Several people were in the residence and none of them knew about a gun. Most of them were sleeping. The alleged victim did admit she recently discovered meth and took some within the last hour. She was arrested for a warrant. Her story appeared to be unfounded but a report was written.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/1/08

February 1, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Meet the Police Chief candidates: There will be a community reception on February 13th to “meet and greet” the finalist candidates for the position of Lakewood Police Chief, to replace Chief Larry Saunders who will be leaving the City later this month to take an Army assignment in Iraq. The reception will be from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Clover Park Technical College Student Service Building, and it is open to the public.
  • Military Improvement Zone bill: Mayor Richardson joined City staff and lobbyists, as well as community representatives, to testify at the House Committee on Community & Economic Development & Trade this week on behalf of the Military Improvement Zone legislation. The bill would provide State support for improvements to infrastructure and affordable housing in areas adjacent to military bases such as Tillicum.
  • City Legislative Action Conference: Councilmember Thomas, communications director Brewster, and the city manager attended the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) annual conference in connection with the legislative session this week in Olympia. About 360 attendees representing cities across the State were present for discussion with the leadership of the State Senate and House. Governor Gregoire also addressed the conference and expressed her appreciation for the work city officials do. There was emphasis on infrastructure needs across the State, and a new AWC report on the subject was presented. There was also discussion about the proposed legislation to require the taping of executive sessions.
  • Abatement update: The City’s Code Enforcement Team issued two abatement notices this week for burned out structures where the owners have failed to secure or repair the properties. In both instances the properties also have numerous property maintenance violations including the presence of junk and inoperable vehicles in the yard spaces.
  • Pac Highway Project Community Meeting: The Public Works Department held a public meeting on January 30th at the Pacific Highway Fire Station with the property and business owners who front along Pacific Highway from Gravelly Lake Drive to Bridgeport Way. The purpose of the meeting was to gather input regarding the 3 possible road way configurations (5 lanes centered on the right of way center line, 3 lanes centered on the right of way center line and 3 lanes centered shifted towards the freeway) associated with the Pacific Highway improvement project. Over 200 notices were sent out, and about 20-25 people were in attendance. Staff presented the options along with their respective positives and negatives. Design level for all options was at 15%. The next step will be to evaluate the input received plus solicit additional input through another mailing, and to address any individual concerns a property/business owner may have about the project. The Public Works Department will then prepare a recommendation to City Council for action.
  • Domestic Victim Assistance at City Hall Kiosk: In the month of January, the City’s victim advocates, with help from the LPD Special Assault Unit, assisted victims in obtaining 27 Temporary Protection Orders through the kiosk located on the third floor of Lakewood City Hall.
  • Chief’s presentation on Offender Reentry program: The King County Law and Justice Council invited Chief Saunders to their monthly meeting on January 31st to provide an overview on the recently passed offender reentry legislation and the organization and operation of the Pierce County Law and Justice Council.
  • Guilty Verdict on Domestic Violence Case: The prosecution team received a GUILTY verdict in a domestic violence case last Friday. Prosecutor Sean Parrent faced some unique challenges as the victim and the two other witnesses in the case changed their stories on the day of trial. Victim Advocate Rebecca Hendricks was called to impeach the recanting witnesses, and the City relied on sworn witness statements that were written by the witnesses on the day of the assault to get the conviction.
  • DV/Assault 3: Officers responded to a DV in progress. The male subject was intoxicated and struck his wife several times. The suspect’s sister tried to intervene and was also assaulted. Officers arrested him after a brief struggle. While being walked to the car the suspect head-butted an officer. The suspect was taken to the ground and restrained.
  • DV/Injury: Patrol responded to a fight/DV. Upon arrival they found the female victim unconscious with the suspect having already fled on foot. Apparently husband and wife got into an argument over husband wanting to take the vehicle since he was intoxicated. The husband pushed his wife to the ground outside of the apartment and began kicking her while she was on the ground. She got up and they continued to argue and he charged her and forced her back to the ground where she hit her head and was knocked out. The husband again began kicking her while she was on the ground and was unconscious. Other family members separated the husband and pulled the wife into the trailer. The victim was unconscious for a minimum of 10 minutes and was immediately transported by fire to TG for her head trauma. Detectives from the LPD Special Assault Unit are continuing the investigation.
  • Assault 2/Burglary 2 Arrest: Officers responded to a home invasion/robbery that was dispatched one day last week at 1:10am. . After a significant amount of investigation, the suspect was located and arrested. Officers obtained a full confession and recovered significant evidence. It turned out that the suspect entered the apartment to commit an assault, not rob anyone, and so was charged with assault and burglary.
  • January 2008 Domestic Violence Case Results
  • GO Lakewood! program: The citywide campaign for better health and fitness began with a celebration and registration event at Fort Steilacoom Park on Saturday, January 26th. We are combining resources with businesses and organizations throughout the city to help people reach their goal. The celebration and registration event was held under cloudy skies and cool temperatures that were offset by the performances of such groups as the Clover Park Islander Dancers, the Y dance teams, and the Clover Park Step Team. A walk/run event was held around Waughop Lake but the highlight of the day was the pile of snow that was brought in for the event. Equipment was available for anyone who wanted to try one of the fastest growing winter sports; snowshoeing. For more information visit our website at: www.golakewood.cityoflakewood.us . So far, we have had over 100 people register for Go Lakewood, 50 people completed the one mile fun run/walk and approximately 200 people attended the event.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 1/18/08

January 18, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • New Police Station Construction: Community Development has issued an administrative use permit to allow construction of the new police station, and the Building Division is nearing completion of its review of the police station construction drawings. Bid award should be presented for Council action on January 28th, with construction starting in February.
  • Lakes High School Expansion: The City’s hearing examiner has issued his decision approving the conditional use permit for the Lakes High School expansion.
  • Victory Motel: Demolition of the Victory Motel will occur late this month or early February.
  • Lakefront Street Ends Review: The next meeting in the planning process will be at City Hall on January 23rd at 6pm regarding street ends on Lake Steilacoom.
  • Hill Ward Demolition: The demolition phase of the restoration project in Fort Steilacoom Park commenced last week. Below is one of the first photos from the Hill Ward Demolition Project.
  • Lakewood “Founding Father” Honored at McChord Memorial Service: Longtime Lakewood resident and a leading advocate for incorporation, Colonel (retired) Gerald Auger passed away on Christmas Eve. During his memorial service at McChord AFB on January 11th, this decorated World War Two combat pilot was remembered as a loving father and trusted friend. During a eulogy, friend Bob Arndt relayed that “one of Jerry’s proudest achievements was being associated with the Lakewood city hood effort.” Colonel Auger was honored by McChord AFB with a C-17 flyover immediately following the ceremony – a rare Air Force honor. Colonel Auger’s three adult children were joined by Lakewood Mayor Emeritus Bill Harrison and many other friends and family paying their respects. He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy in November and his son, Jeffrey in 1947.
  • 2008 Homeless Count Survey: The Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition for the Homeless is conducting its annual one-day count of the county's homeless population. The point-in-time survey is scheduled for January 24th and 25th. More than 100 community volunteers will contact homeless individuals and ask a few questions about their situations. Human Services Division staff (General Services) is partnering with Police in an attempt to locate unsheltered homeless persons by doing walking surveys of areas in Lakewood where homelessness exists, as well as by surveying patrons of the motels in Lakewood. Volunteers also will staff "give away" sites, where homeless persons can obtain personal items such as clothes, blankets and toiletries. All City volunteers will be attending training on January 22nd. Data collected during the annual survey helps provide a picture of the homeless issue in Pierce County, drives planning efforts such as the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and leverages funding for homeless housing and services from the public and private.
Police Actions:
  • Adult Entertainment Violations: Special Ops did a compliance check at Déjà Vu this week. In one night, 21 dancers and the manager were cited for Adult Entertainment Ordinance violations, including improper collection of tips, violating 4-foot distances rules for lap dances and 8-foot rules from stage dances. All of these constituted illegal contact between dancer and customer. This continues the City’s nine year record of never doing an undercover operation in a strip club without finding significant violations by dancers.
  • Counterfeit Ring: As our now fully staffed NPO (neighborhood police officer) cadre takes charge, we are beginning to see more proactive investigation of property crime. What began as a simple case of a counterfeit $20 bill to a 7-11 in District 3 (Lakeview) was not of appropriate value to assign to a property crimes detective for follow up investigation. However, with full NPO staff on board, this was given to newly-assigned NPO Brian Wurts to follow up, and it turned up a much bigger counterfeit ring. It was given back to the Property ProAc unit to handle, and they have engaged the Secret Service. This is a good example of the lower level crime follow up and interdepartmental coordination.
  • Embezzlement Case Investigated: An employee embezzled over $300,000 from her Lakewood employer where she was employed as the bookkeeper. During the investigation, the Property ProAc unit obtained a search warrant for her bank records, which showed all the checks from the employer that were deposited into her checking account. The financial investigation was then turned over to Brinks and Sadler CPA firm, who confirmed she had embezzled $309,000. The suspect was arrested in June 2007 and booked on four counts of Theft 1st. She was subsequently charged with 32 counts of Theft 1st, and on January 10th, a plea agreement was reached whereby she was sentenced to 43 months at Purdy Correctional Center. The Property Pro-Ac unit is currently working on another case where the employee embezzled $400,000 from another Lakewood business.
  • Theft from Wal-Mart: During a shoplift, a female suspect reportedly pulled a knife when confronted by store security. Police units arrived and detained the suspect and one accomplice, with one more female accomplice outstanding. She was eventually located on the payphone next to the front door talking to her attorney. As it turned out, the suspect was not pulling a knife, but a plastic hair pick, which was mistaken by security for a weapon. Three out of state suspects were booked for Theft 3rd.
  • Armed Robbery Arrest: Two males, one armed with a handgun and the other armed with a knife, entered a pizza restaurant, displayed the weapons and demanded money. Employees told them they didn’t have any money, and the two fled the business. Officers in the area had run the license plate of a suspicious vehicle exiting a nearby parking lot about a minute prior to the robbery call. Further checking on the suspicious vehicle revealed the registered owner had been arrested for Armed Robbery in Puyallup in September. The vehicle information was then immediately broadcast by LESA throughout Pierce County. A short time later a Pierce County deputy located the vehicle driving in University Place and initiated a felony stop. The two were detained; LPD arrived and confirmed they matched the suspect descriptions and a handgun was plainly visible in the back seat. The car was impounded to the station for a search warrant. Patrol Officers interviewed both suspects independently at the station and obtained confessions from both.