Nothing ever happens in Edmonds – Right??

Chief Compaan_2
Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan

Well, not really. The perception among many of our residents is that Edmonds is an oasis somewhat unto itself, free of crime and free of many of the challenges facing other Puget Sound communities. As with many perceptions, there is some truth to it. Edmonds does enjoy a lower crime rate than other local cities. Edmonds is a safe community with residents who care deeply about quality of life. The Edmonds Police Department is on the front line, providing 24/7 law enforcement services, diligently working to enhance the safety and security of this great city. Much of our work is done in a low-profile way, and our residents just expect us to do our job. To some degree, that’s how we like to do business.

But regardless of how much any of us would like to say “Nothing ever happens in Edmonds,” the statistics point to a different conclusion. In 2013, our officers responded to 21,789 dispatched calls for service, covering the gamut from barking dogs, shoplifts, and vandalism to burglaries, robberies, vehicle thefts, and violent assaults. We made 7,914 traffic stops, issued 5,472 citations, and arrested 132 persons for driving under the influence. We arrested 1,414 adults and 125 juveniles for various crimes, investigated 710 traffic collisions, issued 1,640 parking infractions, and we wrote 4,879 police reports, plus 873 field interview reports.

There were 18 robberies reported to us, 230 residential and commercial burglaries, 197 assaults, 55 vehicle thefts, and 706 other thefts. Of those, we solved 72 percent of the robberies, 14 percent of the burglaries, 87 percent of the assaults, 24 percent of the vehicle thefts, and 35 percent of the other thefts.

This year, our Police Department budget is $8,904,737. Looking at it another way, this is an investment of $223 for each of our 39,950 residents. We provide 24/7 policing services from our team of 63 professional, highly qualified and dedicated employees – 53 police officers and 10 support staff – who work diligently to firmly and fairly enforce the law, who patrol our neighborhoods and conduct detailed follow-up investigations, and who provide the high level of customer service that our residents have come to expect.

Going forward, two of our goals are to re-institute our Street Crimes Unit and to hire a Crime Prevention Officer/Crime Analyst. Both of these endeavors are dependent upon budget. Both will enhance our ability as a law enforcement agency to be proactive with our enforcement initiatives, particularly with street level crime that quickly impacts quality of life and the community’s feeling of safety and security – vehicle prowling, vandalism, organized shoplifting, prostitution, and street level drugs. We will also further enhance our ability to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in surrounding communities to tie criminal activity in Edmonds with criminals who have no respect for jurisdictional lines, let alone respect for victims and their personal safety and property.

Given that things DO happen in Edmonds, our community remains among the safest in the Puget Sound region. But safety and security is a partnership – law enforcement and the community working together – staying watchful, being proactive with crime prevention by locking home and vehicle doors, keeping valuables out of sight, knowing one’s neighbors, and not sharing personal or financial information with those you do not know. Most of all, do not hesitate to call 911. If something appears suspicious or out of place, it probably is. Please call 911 – that’s why we’re here for you.

We know that in order for us to do an effective job, we must continually earn the community’s trust and must actively engage our residents. We take this responsibility very seriously. As part of that, we are accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs – one of only 53 accredited law enforcement agencies in this state. We subscribe to the highest standards of professionalism and accountability in law enforcement – and we continually strive to live up to those standards and demonstrate in what we do our core values of Service, Integrity, Respect, and Stewardship.

So despite the notion that “Nothing ever happens in Edmonds”, you now know there’s more to that story. We thank you for being a community partner with us. Stay vigilant; stay safe; and enjoy the quality of life in this community of ours – Edmonds!!

— By Al Compaan, City of Edmonds Police Chief



  1. Thanks for helping make Edmonds a great place to live! As someone who lives up close to 99, I’d love to see more of a police presence up this way. You know even better than I do what sort of shenanigans go on around here.

  2. I’ve encountered quick response to any of my requests. I do hope the focus on pedestrian vs. car problems will remain in place.
    People respond to being stopped for violations. A grass roots effort could be good also. Should there be more of the orange flag containers? I’ve noticed cars responding when they see a pedestrian with an orange flag.

  3. The only time I’ve had to use 911 while in Edmonds the police were on scene within two minutes. I was very impressed, even in my mangled state. They beat the EMTs by several minutes. Everybody, police and fire, was thoroughly professional. We are all lucky here to have top notch services. Well, I suppose the criminals may not like it so much.

  4. The Edmonds Police Department truly deserves public and city appreciation and support. They feature dedicated engaged and responsive leadership and officers committed to public safety. The department is an asset to the community and this article by Chief Compaan is the exactly how they approach a very challenging community role.


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