April 12th, 2022
Reported by Billie Overgaard
The first thing brought up was the semi-trucks that obstruct the view when exiting onto Myers Way, and the many accidents that happen where people are trying to merge off of 2nd Avenue onto Olson Place. Lt. Watson basically said that if the semis are parked legally there's nothing to be done. My suggestion that a yellow painted curb be placed down the length of one semi, thereby keeping them from obstructing the view, was apparently not a viable one. As for the cars from here trying to merge onto Olson Place, he said it would take a major traffic flow revision to do anything about it. I guess we haven't met the accident quota for that corner to be considered a problem by the city.
The unsanctioned homeless camps around us were brought up. The Lt. said that while enforcement is through either the Seattle Police Dept or the County Sheriff’s Dept., because they are understaffed, they don't really do anything about the unsanctioned camps right now unless there is a specific problem. If they are blocking roads or sidewalks, that's something the police and sheriffs will address. If we see garbage or other sanitation issues, we can report those via the “Find-It-Fix-It” app, and the Parks Department will be called in to get that cleaned up. And of course, we should always report any illegal drug activity or violent behavior we see.
Lt Watson reiterated that their department is very understaffed. He says there are recruits in the making, but that it takes 18 months from sign-up to being put out on the streets, and that on top of that not many people are going into policing right now. Even so, every report will get a response, even if it's only over the phone. Due to the shortage in staff, certain calls must be given priority over others. But keep in mind, even if all that happens is that a report is taken over the phone, police resources are data driven. If it's not reported, they won't know there's a need.
As an aside, the horses for the mounted patrols have been rehomed. It takes four police officers to maintain a horse. That, coupled with feed, care and housing of the horses makes them no longer a justifiable expense.
He was surprised that a facility this size doesn't have a security guard, and that the C-D garage is unlocked during part of the day. He was also surprised that there are no key-card locks on the doors between the garages and the apartment part of the buildings themselves. He was gratified to hear of the upgrades Diane mentioned at the last General Meeting and hopes that will help.
We then asked the Lt. about the ivy on the trees. There is interest among some of the residents to clean the ivy off because it is choking the trees to death. Lt Watson told us we can't legally do anything about it, even though a simple snip of the ivy near the bottom of the tree would kill the ivy and save the tree. The green spaces are controlled by the city and county (depending on which side of the road) and interested parties would have to go through them to gain permission. This includes even the green spaces right outside our fences, on our side of the roads.
Procedures for residents with dementia who have wandered off and not returned home in a reasonable amount of time was discussed. Lt. Watson said that as long as the person has a cell phone on them, the police can find him within a few feet. They would have to have a judge's permission to do it, but all the judge would need to hear is that there are medical issues (such as the person has dementia) and that they would more than likely agree to the search. This service is available 24/7 and is called the Silver Alert.
We briefly talked about personal safety. Lt Watson gave us the usual suggestions:
1) Be aware of your surroundings, especially who is around you.
2) Have your cell phone on you, already turned on and easily accessed.
3) When going through doors, do it sideways, keeping yourself aware of all surroundings and people. Don't turn your back to anyone. This is important not only at the entry door to the building, but even your own apartment door.
4) Be aware of who you are letting into the building and whether they belong there.
Finally, Block Watch, or Neighborhood Watch was touched on. Jennifer Danner came by at that point and told me that she and Diane have set up a tentative date in May. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. if we want to discuss anything about this with her. Meanwhile, Lt. Watson suggested that we ask if there would be a way for residents to tune into the new camera system feeds via our home computers so that we can help watch our own neighborhood through the new security system from the safety of our apartments. I’m hopeful that this is something Diane R can look into with Jackie, our manager.
It has been suggested that this will be the first of a series of “Coffee with a Cop”, and I look forward to attending future get-togethers.
Building “A” Emergency Captain