Public Safety Building, Yelm
The Yelm Community Watch Facebook page [click under Sherie Suter, Oct. 7] has a very healthy and robust conversation for our community about Yelm Police Dept. officer staffing, or lack thereof. This has also been a campaign issue presented by three city council candidate challengers.
– Yelm City Councilor up for re-election Jenn Littlefield’s remarks last night beg for facts:
“I know there is an election going on and some people are using the police dept as a political tool, which I find distasteful. The issue is complicated and trying to “facebook” (sic) it does a disservice to our police department and the elected officials who both serve our city.”
“We all want our city to be safe and well cared for. Police in general have been such targets for critics that we want to show our support for them.”
“When someone has already formed an opinion, it is difficult to present any facts that will suffice, and it just turns into a facebook (sic) free for all.”
– The Yelm Community Blog posted these facts last month, underscoring the issue –
The Mayor’s and City Council’s police staffing have not kept pace with Yelm’s growth:
* In 1995, the Yelm Police Dept had a budget of $489,000 for 7 officers.
For the approx. 2,500 Yelm residents in 1995, that equated to $196 spent for Police officers per resident.
* In 2014, the Yelm Police Dept had a budget of $1.6 million for 12 officers.
For the approx. 8,223 Yelm residents in 2014, that equated to $195 spent for Police officers per resident.
The $196 dollars spent for Police officers per resident in 1995, equal to the value of 2015 dollars, was 50% more in value spent 20 years ago than in 2014.
* In 1995, the Yelm Police Dept. staffing of 7 officers was one for every 357 residents.
* In 2014, the Yelm Police Dept. staffing of 12 officers was one for every 685 residents.
Compared with 20 years ago, Yelm Police have approximately half the officers to cover our town’s 2014 population.
– BOTTOM LINE:
The statistics reflect the Mayor’s & City Council’s lack in current Police Department officer staffing:
– The same amount of dollars spent per resident today is equal to 20 years ago, not including inflation, 35% less factoring inflation.
– The dollars spent per resident in 1995, equal to the value of 2015 dollars, was worth 50% more 20 years ago.
– The Yelm Police Dept. is operating with almost half the officers for our town, as compared to 20 years ago.
– Between 2000-2014, Yelm had a 151.8% growth rate.
– Three unfilled Police Dept. positions have been on the city’s website for awhile.
– Yelm Police Dept. officer staffing is a public safety conversation that needs to be in the open.
As was proven with White Horse Tavern banners last summer with a social media storm, the mayor can no longer keep city issues confined to City Hall and Council Executive Sessions, thanks to FB.
– Yelm City Council candidate Tad Stillwell put together this informative list of facts.
Stillwell contacted each Chief to request their numbers, available to the public:
Credit: Tads Stillwell