July 24, 2018
Meeting was called to order by Matthew Rainwater at 7:30am.
Kevin H. moved to accept July 17 minutes, seconded by Jack G. Motion passed.
Betsy Reed-Schultz announced Aug 4 auction for Captain Joseph House featuring artist Michael Reagan who had created portraits for gold star families.
Shenna Younger announced an Olympic Cellars concert by Longstride on Aug 18 to support VIMO.
Jack G. announced an invite to a luncheon in Sequim by the WA Policy Center.
Pennies for Quarters announced working on a project with VIMO and reminded of this weekend’s benefit by Black Diamond Junction.
Andrew May announced the Aug 5 Annual Corn Roast. Also, this Thurs. at 145 Marigold Ln., is the Chamber mixer in one of his best gardens. Captain Crystal will set up her balloon.
Jon Fager moved to extend the meeting up to 15 minutes, seconded by Cherie Kidd. Motion passed.
Program: Candidates running for Clallam County Sheriff – Sheriff Bill Benedict and Jim McLaughlin.
Rules were explained.
Jim McLaughlin (JM): Was born in Vermont and served in the Coast Guard and as deputy and detective. He stated there are many programs the Sheriff’s office can expand on and more opportunity to engage the community.
Bill Benedict (BB): His first promise was to run an open, transparent, frugal office and he has created a citizen’s advisory committee which meets quarterly. Second was to end the silo mentality and now agencies have committed to working together. Third promise was to get accredited by WA Association of Sheriffs and Policy Chiefs which he achieved in 2009. Jail is now accredited, too.
What is the biggest challenge for law enforcement over the next 4-5 years?
BB: Recruiting officers. In 1994 there were about 250 people for 4 positions, now we get about 6 applicants. The socially disadvantaged consume most of their time. All budgets are going up.
JM: He doesn’t see problems, only ways to be better and be proactive. He doesn’t plan to adjust the budget in year one, but can reduce it by $25K each year by reducing his pay. Property crime can be improved.
BB: It’s vision that needs to get us into the future. There’s a coming distrust in everything the police do.
What can be done about controlling first offenders not being jailed until after multiple arrests?
JM: Second hand dealers cannot by law work with those convicted within 10 years. Stolen property and drugs go hand in hand.
BB: There has been a decrease in violent crime. Property crime has decreased or been flat for 5 years. Community policing is what works. You are reactive once it’s happened. They have 115 neighborhood watch groups and over the past 10 years, property crimes have been lowest in the past two years.
JM: Agrees with community policing and neighborhood watch and could use things like the NextDoor App.
BB: They started using that app 2 years ago. Most ideas come from the community.
How do you solicit good candidates and why is it hard?
BB: Demographics, not as many are in the pool. As a nation we are unhealthy or unfit. Military and locals are a focus and he can’t compete with Seattle.
JM: Not enough interest out there, he believes. People should see that the sheriff’s office is a positive force and that they get involved in the community. They need to get info out on how to apply and work with youth to help them understand how the law affects their own community.
Is there opportunity for cutting the budget and where would it be an advantage?
JM: Is willing to give up $25K of his salary. Unit he can sit with the bookkeeper he will not suggest anywhere to cut for the first year.
BB: The $13.5M budget is not set for next year. His salary is set by survey and pay is market driven. He returns $200-500K to the budget because he doesn’t use it. He applied for grants that brought $30M revenue beyond budget over the years.
JM: Virtue and honor are important. If there is too much money left over why aren’t more deputies on the road, out west, etc.
BB: It’s one-time money that rolls over. They are staffed average for WA state.
Are there programs where the sheriff goes to schools to talk about conduct, drugs, driving habits, etc.?
BB: DARE studies showed program didn’t work and is expensive for a sheriff to be in a classroom. The participate in career day in Sequim. Deputies are expected to be in the county. Port Angeles has a school resource officer and employed parents will stop at schools.
JM: Would assign collateral duties. Juvenile liaisons can stay in touch with Boys & Girls Clubs, he knows they would like a presence. There is a hunger for law enforcement connection and they are not at Crescent School or Grey Wolf.
BB: That would entail new contract negotiations with deputies, not in their job duties. They’re more than willing in their spare time to go to schools. It’s not effective to put those duties on deputies.
JM: It’s their ownership in the community to do these things and doesn’t see it as an expense.
What can be done about opioids?
BB: One goal is using the jail as an instrument for positive change. At an opioid arrest the addiction is not treated. Abstinence is not the key, now he treats in jail. Those treated typically do not recommit. Key work is with after care.
JM: Jail is an important resource. They could turn the jail program into outreach. If it’s suboxone that helps, they need to make it more readily available.
BB: The cost is not that high: $2-3/day to treat. Generally stolen property is traded for drugs. Few will deal with pawn shops.
Talk about the boat program and what would you do to put more deputies on the road?
JM: They need a boating program, he learned to leave the program alone and it’ snot practical to sell it to hire. He’d appeal to community to ask for more money.
BB: The boat program pays for itself and they can wok with border patrol that way. They got the boat from a port security grant and it’s statutory responsibility to have a boating program.
How to you move into todays world with policing?
BB: Follows rational choice theory. People see laws and penalties then decide to commit the crime. Most people are not rational. Process of arrest, jail, litigation can take more than 6 months, swifter justice is needed. Mental health court will help.
JM: Can’t record sound with body cams but they would be good. We can make crime maps more available and must evolve with technology. It will affect the budget. Internet access is important.
BB: Tough issues with body camps including redacting youth and how do you store them? He’d look at better methods at arrest instead.
JM: He saw the pawn shop method work, it just takes commitment.
Why are people of a certain image drawn to the city? People research before they move here, Port Angeles has a bad reputation (naked guy at the ATM).
BB: It’s marketing. They work in the county; the crime rate is no higher in PA than Sequim. Crime happens in the cities. It’s an image issue.
JM: Every community has issues, it happens everywhere. Giving law enforcement a more positive image will help. Work with Peninsula Behavioral Health, Boys & Girls Club, have a more positive appearance. Interagency collaboration helps.
BB: He collaborates with Port Angeles. Violent crimes against strangers is almost non-existent.
JM: Downtown is safe. The majority of experiences is not bad.
Bill Benedict: Next goal is a new emerency operations center, the old one is from 1978 and needs to survive a quake. He also will work towards a new dispatch center. He’ll make the jail an instrument for change, foster community engagement, continue accreditation and collaboration.
Jim McLaughlin: Looks forward to working with all current staff. He would interview all of them for their input. People want a solution to the opioid crisis and property crime and he will work for solutions. Victim care could also be better.
July 31: Commissioner Mark Ozias. He is President of the Olympic View Community Foundation and has been compiling information on the economic impact of the non-profit sector on the community.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45am.