As Chief of the Edmonds Police Department, I am periodically afforded the opportunity to report on various activities of interest in this column. Today, I am bringing you two items of interest — the first, a community event, and the second, a bit about our Street Crimes Unit.
First, as a reprise to my column last July, we have now rescheduled our “Surviving Sexual Assault: An Evening of Education and Awareness” community event. The idea for this event had its genesis with one of our newer police officers, Officer Ashley Saunders. Shortly after graduating from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy 18 months ago, Officer Saunders was called to investigate her first sexual assault. The victim was feeling vulnerable, violated, and not sure about reporting to police. Officer Saunders did a fine job with the investigation, helping the victim find strength and courage along the way, and ensuring aftercare resources. But that wasn’t enough — she wanted to do more for other victims of sexual assault.
Due to Officer Saunders’ efforts, “Surviving Sexual Assault: An Evening of Education and Awareness” is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, at Westgate Chapel, 22901 Edmonds Way. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with an opportunity for the public to provide written, anonymous questions for our panel. There is no cost to attend, and all are welcome.
We will hear from our moderator for the evening, Amity Addrisi of KING-5 News, herself a survivor of sexual abuse. Members of our panel will include Jill Schick, Edmonds PD Domestic Violence Coordinator; Detective Stacie Trykar, Edmonds PD Sex Crimes Detective; Minda Phillips, Providence Hospital Victim Advocate; Lori Moore, Providence Hospital Forensic Nurse Examiner; and Matthew Baldock, Lead Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Special Assault Unit; and Officer Saunders herself.
Our goals? To help remove the veil from this all-too-often taboo subject, to increase education and awareness, and to empower victims. After our Q&A panel discussion, a meet and greet among panel and audience will conclude the evening, along with an opportunity to learn some self-defense tips and tactics.
Our message: It is important for any victim to know that sexual abuse is not OK, occurring all too often at the hands of family members or others known to the victim; it’s OK to take control and to report it; and that our community cares and can provide support for those feeling vulnerable and violated. Oftentimes the first step is gathering courage to tell someone. Please come to our Community Conversation to find out more.
Now on to our Street Crimes Unit, staffed by a sergeant and two police officers, part of our Patrol Division. Depending upon the assignment, they may be either plain clothes or uniformed, focused on short and longer-term criminal investigations of assault, theft, narcotics, financial crimes, stolen property and stolen vehicles, as well as serving arrest warrants. They also execute planned arrests of suspects involved in a variety of crimes including violent offenses such as homicide, robbery, assault and sexual assault.
In addition to pursuing their own investigations, Street Crimes support and assist patrol officers and detectives with their investigations. For example, support to patrol is usually in the form of technical or tactical assistance, or taking-on more time-consuming investigations that patrol may not be able to work because of pressing 911 calls. Street Crimes frequently assist our detective unit with locating witnesses and suspects, or with serving search warrants.
Street Crimes also emphasize enforcement of so-called “quality of life crimes” — those crimes that have a negative and aggravating impact on our residents, such as narcotics, shoplift, mail theft, vehicle theft, trafficking in stolen property, prostitution, and even graffiti.
Since the start of 2019, Street Crimes have worked or assisted in many cases ranging from homicides, burglaries, extortion, theft, serious assaults, drug related offenses and financial fraud to numerous misdemeanor crimes. All of these crimes require thorough investigations by our dedicated team that has the flexibility to work in plain clothes or uniforms, and to work collaboratively with patrol, detectives and surrounding law enforcement agencies. Successful and thorough investigations result in arrests and subsequent convictions, which improve the quality of life and safety in the City of Edmonds.
— By Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan