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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/8/06

December 8, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • American Lake Gardens/Tillicum Sewer Grant: On December 8th, US Ass’t Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Sandy K. Baruah announced a grant award of $1,500,000 to the City of Lakewood and Pierce County for the City’s American Lake Gardens/Tillicum sewer project.  Secretary Baruah’s announcement included presentation of the symbolic check, which was accepted by Deputy Mayor Arbeeny, County Councilman Dick Muir, County Public Works Director Brian Ziegler, REDAB members Linn Larsen, Dan Durr and Jim Charboneau, and City Public Works Director Don Wickstrom.  Joshua Johnston also attended, representing Rep. Norm Dicks.
  • NLC Congress of Cities: The mayor and city manager participated this week in the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Reno with over 3,500 attendees from cities across the nation. A central theme of the conference was “Inclusive Communities” and there were reports from several cities on their efforts to bring together members of their respective communities.
  • Continuing Legal Education Seminar: On Saturday, December 2nd, City Attorney Heidi Wachter facilitated a Continuing Legal Education Seminar (CLE) sponsored by the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association. The CLE covered a variety of different topics with presentations made by local attorneys and judges.
  • DUI Case Dismissal: Associate City Attorney Rocio Guerra successfully appealed the dismissal of a DUI case.  The trial court ruled that the officer’s observation of weaving on a public roadway was insufficient to justify a traffic stop and dismissed the case.  The Superior Court and the Court of Appeals reversed the ruling and remanded the case back to the Municipal Court.
  • Lakewood Police Drug Dog in Action: Officer Jeremy Prater and “Duke” recovered nearly 10 grams of crystal methamphetamine on a routine search incident to result in an arrest following a traffic stop.
  • Fatal Accident: On December 7th, at 0613 hrs., Officer Latimer and Officer Knott were flagged down by a citizen regarding a hit and run that had just occurred. Officer Knott located the suspect vehicle at 72nd St. and I-5.  Officer Knott initiated a traffic stop on the on N/B on ramp to I-5 from 72nd St.  The suspect slowed but never pulled over.  As they continued on to the freeway, Officer Knott notified dispatch that the suspect was failing to yield.  A few seconds later, he called out in pursuit.  A few seconds after that, Officer Knott called out that the suspect vehicle had crashed. Moments later, he updated that the suspect had been ejected from the vehicle.  Apparently, the suspect swerved across all lanes of traffic and hit the cement barrier/divider of the N/B and S/B lanes of traffic. After the suspect was ejected, the vehicle continued down the barrier/divider for approximately 300 feet before coming to a stop.  The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.  No other people were injured or involved in the accident.  I-5 was shut down for several hours and LPD and WSP are doing a joint investigation of the accident.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/1/06

December 1, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood assists Steilacoom with Dangerous Person: LPD assisted Steilacoom PD this week with an armed and barricaded subject near the border of Lakewood. The subject had just gotten out of the Army where he spent two tours in Iraq. He held Police at bay for over two hours and claimed to suffer from PTSD. SWAT negotiators were called to the scene just before the subject became more aggressive, exiting his home with knives in both hands, closing in on officers and demanding to be shot. LPD officers applied multiple rounds from a less-lethal shotgun at long distance which struck the subject in his torso and hit one of the knives in his hand. He gave up a short time later and was transported for medical evaluation by Steilacoom Fire.
  • Bond Rating Presentations to get City rated: The city manager, mayor, and finance director made three presentations in San Francisco this week to Standard & Poor’s, XL Capital Assurance, and Financial Security Assurance (FSA) to establish the City’s first rating for bonded indebtedness. This will allow the City to move forward on its LID (Local Improvement District) financing as well as the proposed LTGO (Limited Term General Obligation) Bond for the police station project.
  • DUI Grant awarded: The City was awarded $3,500 in grant money for LPD’s December DUI patrols. This will cover nine 6-hour shifts form December 1 through January 1. These funds are part of the “Drive Hammered Get Nailed” campaign and will be provided by LPD Traffic and Patrol Response units.
  • WASPC Conference: Chief Saunders attended the annual State Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Conference November 13-16. For the second consecutive year Lakewood Police Department was celebrated as a Washington state Circle of Honor Member for our successful fund raising towards Special Olympics.
  • Cyclocross: The City received a very special compliment from the organizers of last week’s Cyclocross event at Fort Steilacoom Park, thanking the City for its support and for their participation in the cyclocross race on last Saturday at Steilacoom Park.  “…nice, friendly officers, I hope they had as good a time at the event as the riders and spectators did.  By the way, I noticed on the national bicycle racing website, this race was touted as being held in LAKEWOOD, WA.  So, a little national recognition for your town...”
  • Motorcycle Protective Suits: LPD recently received a grant from the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission for the purchase and wear of the Aerostich motorcycle suits. All five motorcycle officers are now wearing these all-weather suits which add an increased level of protection and enables all-weather, all-season motorcycle enforcement.
  • Speed Projects through WTSC: The first phase of the East Pierce County Speed Project ended with over 11,000 tickets issued for speeding within the predetermined safety concern corridor. This is one of two test sites in the State sponsored by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.   LPD provided staffing for the project that was funded 100% by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Our officers are set to participate in the second phase of the program which will start late January of 2007. The overall goal of the program is to reduce speed-related collisions thus reducing the amount of serious-injury and fatal collisions. LPD was recognized for its effort by receiving grant funding from the WTSC for three laser speed measuring devices. The LIDAR devices will be arriving later this month and will be placed into service with the traffic and patrol divisions.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/9/06

November 10, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lowest Crime Rate: For the 7th straight month, Tillicum has the lowest crime rate of any district in the entire city.  The also have the highest number of block-watches and crime-free certified apartment complexes of any district and the most active neighborhood and merchant associations. We give credit and thanks to the neighbors there who are mobilizing against crime in partnerships with Police and City government.
  • Fort Steilacoom Park Cyclocross Event: A national cyclocross event with up to 1,000 participants will take place on Saturday, November 18th, at Fort Steilacoom Park.   Cyclocross racers navigate mud, sand, pavement, grass, gravel, pasture and mulch.  When the terrain is too steep to ride or when riders are confronted by wooden barriers, they dismount, shoulder their bikes and run.  Cyclocross is currently the fastest growing cycling discipline in the United States.  Racers will complete laps every six or seven minutes, so there will be plenty of action.  Our course will feature the strongest and fastest racers competing on the circuit.  This is the 16th year Lakewood has been chosen as a race site.
  • Blue Star Memorial Marker: The Interlaaken Garden Club has asked to place a Blue Star Memorial Marker within the Gravelly Lake Dr/Nyanza Rd gateway landscaped area. Blue Star Memorial Markers are designed to pay tribute to the Armed Forces.  There presently are only two in Pierce County.  One is near the Narrows Bridge and the other is at the VA Hospital on Veterans Dr. Since the Gravelly Lake Dr/Nyanza Rd Gate Way area was funded by Keep Lakewood Beautiful (KLB), we will be coordinating the specifics of the location with them. City costs associated with the installation would be minimal if any.  The Interlaaken Garden Club has over a 60 year history of beautification in Lakewood.
  • DUI Sentencing Decision: Rocio Guerra, Associate City Attorney, successfully appealed the trial court’s DUI sentencing decision.  The appellate court ruled that repeat DUI offenders must face increased jail time, regardless of whether the conviction occurred before or after the arrest date.  When this particular defendant is re-sentenced, she will face a minimum of 45 days in jail.
  • Domestic Violence Statistics: The statistics for Domestic Violence cases that were prosecuted in Lakewood Municipal Court for the period of April 1, 2006 through October 31, 2006 are as follows:
    • 55% resulted in convictions.
    • 30% resulted in deferrals/stipulations.
    • 10% dismissed
    • Less than 1% resulted in an acquittal.
    • 4% were bargained for pleas on other cases.
    Accordingly, 85% of our cases have resulted in some level of batterer accountability, whether it is treatment, being placed on probation, abiding by a NCO (no contact order), etc.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/17/06

November 17, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Council Voting Record: The Clerk's Office and Information Systems have deployed the Council's Voting Record with associated links to a database of Council minutes, ordinances and resolutions on the City's website. These records can be found under City Council Meeting Minutes/Council Voting Record.
  • Lakewood Historical Society: The Lakewood Historical Society received official notice from the IRS with a determination that it is exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3). In addition, they accepted the Society’s request to make the effective date October 15, 1998, the formation date of the Society. Now that the Society is approved, they can move ahead with fund raising plans, with emphasis on the Annual Fund for this year.
  • 1st Degree Burglary Arrest:  Patrol was dispatched for a home invasion robbery in which the known suspect had just fled. Arriving units were setting up containment and Officer Fraser saw a male matching the suspect description running from the scene. He was able to apprehend and detain him and the subject was positively identified by the victim as the suspect. The suspect entered the victim’s house through a back window when the victim was gone. The victim arrived home to find him, a neighbor from across the street, still in the house holding a bunch of the victim’s property, to include the victim’s gun. The victim made the suspect drop the gun and the rest of the property. Suspect then fled the house until caught by Fraser. He was booked for 1st degree burglary.
  • Foot Pursuit/Warrant Arrest: Officer Noble attempted a traffic stop on a moped rider for not wearing a helmet. The rider laid the moped down and fled on foot from the area of 109th and Montgrove. The suspect was found by Officer Russell near the railroad tracks at 108th and Lakeview. There was a brief foot chase before the suspect was taken in to custody. Once we got his real name we found a warrant out of California for 2nd degree robbery parole violation.
  • Domestic Violence Conference: Rebecca Hendricks, Victim Advocate, attended a conference titled “The Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence Conference.”  It was held at the University of Washington and had over 500 participants.  One of the keynote speakers was from the University of Toronto and had developed a program called Caring Dads, which is a parenting program for Dads, which appears to have some success in the area of domestic violence.  The other keynote speaker was from the University of Michigan, and works with a program called Kids’ Club, a kind of support group for kids affected by domestic violence.  The speaker spoke to the realities that children are incredibly traumatized and damaged by domestic violence, even if they only hear the violence and don’t personally witness it.   The training was very beneficial, and highlighted a lot of great ideas, while also addressing the reality that funding and implementation of services is essential.
  • Legal Training: Mike McKenzie, Assistant City Attorney, attended a legal ethics training about amendments to the Washington State Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys, taught by two Seattle University law professors and the Washington State Bar’s disciplinary counsel.  Cynthia Wright, Paralegal, attending training in Seattle this week entitled Trial Preparation from Start to Finish.  The course covered case management and organization, discovery techniques, document control and organization, witness preparation for deposition and trial, use of evidence and exhibits and legal ethics.
  • Police Department Commissioning and Awards Ceremony: LPD’s quarterly commissioning ceremony on November 17th included new commissions for new officers and promotions for Asst Chief Farrar, Lt Maurer, Sgt Zaro, and Det. Miller. Special awards were also awarded to several citizens for their roles in assisting police in major arrests. The Chief’s commendation was awarded to former CSO Jason Jennings and Explorer Lisa Cree, and also to Officer David Butts; and the Chief’s Citation Award was issued to Office James Syler.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/03/06

November 3, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Make A Difference Day: The Youth Council organized and coordinated projects throughout the city in observance of the largest national day of helping others, Make a Difference Day. The day began with the Kick-Off event held in City Hall and attended by Mayor Thomas and Lakewood’s Promise executive director Eric Renz. Also in attendance were 65 soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, representatives from the Lakeview Neighborhood Association, Caring for Kids and the National Honor Society. The projects for our city were Bicycles from Heaven, Caring for Kids, and park beautification at Active Park and Fort Steilacoom Park. An additional 85 soldiers participated at the Fort Steilacoom Park site.
  • Successful John Op: Lakewood Officers conducted a prostitution John operation on Friday October 27th during the afternoon and evening hours. Members of Special Operations, Community Policing, Patrol, Traffic, and Detectives all worked together to make it a success. They were supported by a command post and team from Pierce County DEM. There were 18 arrests total: 16 for soliciting prostitution and 2 felony UPCS-crack cocaine. The drug charges were on two working prostitutes in the area.
  • Community Policing Training to the Military: October 24th was the first of several training days for non-commissioned officers of the 2d Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, part of our community connector unit. After an officer professional development session conducted by Chief Saunders and SGT Mike Noel for battalion officers on the correlation between our community policing operations and nation-building, the battalion commander asked for similar instruction for all his 300+ non-commissioned officers prior to departure for Iraq. They will also have an opportunity to ride along on patrol as the final phase of their training.
  • Truck and Tractor Day: 100 children celebrated the season at Ft. Steilacoom Park on October 21st at the Parks & Recreation’s first annual Truck and Tractor Day event. Kids climbed up in a variety of big rigs including tractors, fire engines, a huge tow truck and bucket and garbage trucks. They also made a craft project, received a hard hat and took a hayride around Lake Waughop with their families. Several local businesses coordinated with Parks Maintenance staff to make this first-time event a success.
  • Special Olympics Campaign: Our final dollar count for 2006 is $9,464.92 for Special Olympics, which is significantly higher than last year.
  • Crime Stats:  In the third quarter of 2006,overall crime is down 24% compared to the same period in 2005. Property crime is down 28%. Violent crime is up 13%. The majority of that increase is explained by increased gang violence, a situation common to most large cities in the State. Lakewood began an emphasis on gang crime in May and has been successful with nearly 90 gang arrests. Since the implementation of this emphasis violent crime has been on a down-trend, in September actually falling below 2005 levels. Through third quarter of 2006 vehicle accident rates have dropped 16%. In September they dropped to 58 total accidents, the lowest level we have experienced since forming the police department. We cautiously attribute this to our school zone enforcement program.
  • Housing First Program: The City of Tacoma and the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) are attempting to house the homeless and reduce encampments in a program called Housing First.  Six housing providers in Lakewood have recently agreed to accept these tenants in their units.  The residents submit to a background check and agree to abstain from criminal activity in exchange for housing assistance.  Since this program began there has been a six fold decrease in needed services (i.e. visits to hospital emergency rooms and mental health triage centers, etc). The cost of providing housing is minor compared to the cost of jail or hospital space. We are also connecting with MDC and each of the complexes that will be housing homeless to create police/community housing partnerships.
  • Lakewood Firefighter Hero: On October 31st, Firefighter Jonathan Tinsley, who was off duty and in his personal vehicle driving on Steilacoom Blvd., observed a male who appeared to be attempting to hit a female on the side of the road across the street from the Lakewood Fire Station. Tinsley stopped his vehicle and approached on foot. The male suspect was still attempting to “hit” the female who was frantically attempting to get away. As Tinsley’s friend distracted the suspect, who was still attempting to assault the female, Firefighter Tinsley tackled the suspect. As he did so, a large butcher knife came free from the suspect’s hands. As the suspect violently attempted to free himself, possibly in an attempt to regain the knife, Tinsley used the force necessary to detain the suspect until Police arrived and took him into custody. It later became apparent that the suspect was still actively attempting to stab the victim with the butcher knife when Firefighter Tinsley tackled him. She had been stabbed several times in a vehicle from which she fled. Tinsley’s actions saved the life of the victim; had it not been for his actions, this very likely could have been a homicide investigation.