We are pleased to announce our support for a proposed restructuring of the Mount Rainier Police Department from a patrol-based to community policing model.
First off, the restructuring will reflect the recommendation the city received from a consultant that performed an organizational review of the city’s departments when our current City Manager, Miranda Braatz, was brought on board. The review recommended eliminating the Deputy Chief position which, for a city our size, created a top-heavy structure.
In addition, the restructuring will include the elimination of several patrol positions that went unfilled for at least three years. Continuing to budget for positions that remain unfilled is not the best way to appropriate your tax dollars. It also prevented the department from investing in other positions that would provide current staff with promotion potential or the chance to learn new skills. It will also aid in recruiting and retaining officers.
Towards that end, the department will now have two lieutenant level positions to lead what will now be two distinct branches within MRPD – a patrol-based function and a new community policing and administrative function. The former will retain the patrol levels the city has enjoyed over the past few years when crime has declined (including a drop of 13% in the last year), while the latter will include a new Detective position and Community Policing Officer position. Although the county does most of the follow-up detective work when a crime happens in Mount Rainier, the county is spread thin which means there can be delays in crime solving. Having our own detective will help the city address criminal activity faster, while allowing for quicker follow-up with victims of crime. In addition, a Community Policing Officer can engage with businesses, residents, and our schools to build relationships across the community. This will help to expand the eyes and ears of the department’s reach and increase trust in our police.
And while MRPD is a small force, you may start to notice this focus on community policing providing you more opportunities to see our officers on foot – whether on the sidewalk or in our businesses. We hope you’ll take those opportunities to introduce yourself and get to know the MRPD better.
Finally, the restructuring will be cost neutral so taxpayers are not paying anything more for police services.
These changes could not have been possible without the City Manager’s hiring of MRPD Chief Anthony Morgan, who is wasting no time at improving the city’s largest asset, the individuals who serve to protect us.
Luke and Celina