Police chief gives upbeat report to Edmonds Chamber

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Police chief Al Compaan speaks to Edmonds Chamber members.

Edmonds Chief of Police Al Compaan provided attendees at Thursday’s Edmonds Chamber luncheon with a comprehensive run-down of recent accomplishments, challenges and changes — plus a peek at what’s to come in our community’s law enforcement activities.

“One of our biggest successes this year is the return of our Street Crimes Unit,” he said. “We’d lost this in past budget cuts, and now I’m happy to report that as of Sept. 1 the Street Crimes Unit is staffed, trained and back at work. And in just those few weeks they’ve made 51 arrests for crimes in our community.”

Compaan went on to explain that the Street Crimes Unit handles “the seamier side of Edmonds,” focusing on what he described as “quality of life crimes” including such things as graffiti, street drug use, vehicle prowls and prostitution.

“I like to think of this as insurance,” he added. “By taking care of what many see as lower level crimes, we can help insulate our community from more serious criminal activity. Stated another way, if you don’t take care of the little stuff, it’s more likely that big stuff will follow.”

Running through some numbers from last year, Compaan reported that his department responded to 23,874 dispatch calls (that’s an average of 65 calls per day), made 5,552 traffic stops, and handled 1,100 animal control incidents (the full report on Edmonds Police Department crime statistics is available here).

One area that’s seen rapid change is recruitment and hiring. “With traditional hiring avenues like classified and newspaper ads no longer viable, we’ve had to look to new ways to bring in both fresh recruits and experienced law enforcement officers looking to relocate in Edmonds,” he explained. “In addition to being very active in local job fairs, our new recruitment videos have generated a lot of interest, and brought a number of new officers to our department.”

Reflecting on his 38 years with the Edmonds Police Department, Compaan has seen lots of changes in law enforcement over the years. (See My Edmonds News interview with Compaan on his 35th anniversary with the Edmonds PD here). But one thing that’s stayed the same for him is the joy of working in a great community and with great people.

“Our officers and civilian employees are the best in the business,” he said. “I may wear the chief’s badge, but they’re the ones that make the place run. I may wave the baton and conduct the orchestra, but they make the music.”

— Story and photo by Larry Vogel

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