Lakewood community policing program included in House and Senate budget plans
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (SMCC) and House Democrats have each included funding for the Lakewood Community Policing Program in their proposed operating budgets for the 2017-19 biennium. Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, submitted the community proposal for funding consideration and was part of a group of lawmakers instrumental in getting the project added to both the Senate and House budget proposals.
The Lakewood Community Policing Program has been in place since 2007 and has been highly effective in assisting with police services at Western State Hospital. Over the years, a higher number of residents, and the growing needs of the hospital, caused the costs of the program to increase. The funding proposed in both the Senate and House budgets would cover those costs, and provide for the permanent staffing needs for the program.
“Every incident at Western State Hospital is a sobering event. This is a terrific partnership program that makes a huge difference for the city of Lakewood and the surrounding communities,” said Muri. “It is critically important that we do all we can to increase safety for community members, staff, and patients. I was glad to be a part of getting this funding into the proposed budgets this year.”
Adequate funding for the Lakewood Community Policing Program would reduce calls for police service and help maintain a safer environment for Western State Hospital, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Some of the services provided include assistance with court-ordered mandates on the hospital, publicity around escapes, unauthorized leaves, and walkaways from the hospital. The program also funds police personnel to proactively address public safety issues at the hospital, conduct training for hospital staff and investigate complaints of patient and staff-related incidents.
The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn the regular session on April 23.
###Washington State House Republican Communications