Snohomish County mayors launch coalition to address public safety concerns

L-R: Brier Mayor Dale Kaemingk, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson and Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell

Mayors from 15 Snohomish County cities — including Dale Kaemingk of Brier, Mike Nelson of Edmonds and Christine Frizzell of Lynnwood — on Tuesday launched a new coalition to develop and implement policies that address ongoing community concerns about public safety in the county.

The group — Mayors and Business Leaders for Public Safety — was created in response to increased incidents of property and violent crime across Snohomish County, and to address mental health and homelessness challenges that are primary drivers of the increase. The coalition will also address legislative actions that have contributed to the problem and constrained local efforts to stem criminal activity.

“My fellow Snohomish County mayors and I share a deep and growing concern for the safety of our communities. We must find a balanced approach where we can enforce our laws and ensure everyone’s safety,” said Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, co-chair of the coalition.

“Unfortunately, there is not currently balance in our ability to respond,” Franklin continued. “As someone who has worked extensively within the world of social services, I can tell you this will require enacting criminal justice reforms that allow our officers to use their training, experience and judgement in the field if we are going to actually make progress in enforcing the law, and administering justice.”

While the group currently includes only local government leaders, Franklin said the coalition plans to add business and community leaders who share a vision of improving public safety. It will also require help from the Washington State Legislature to address policy changes that have had negative impacts on crime in local communities.

In the coming legislative session, Franklin said the coalition will pursue a coordinated agenda that includes:

– Legislation addressing the Blake decision, which decriminalized nearly all drug possession in Washington state.

– Criminal justice policies that will allow officers to more effectively use their training, experience and judgment in the field.

– Increased funding for both law enforcement and social services.

“Homelessness, mental health and public safety are all interrelated problems demanding comprehensive solutions,” said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, coaltiion co-chair. “We cannot expect our dedicated law enforcement professionals or social service agencies to solve these issues independent of one another. We have to look holistically at the challenges confronting our cities, and work collaboratively to solve these problems.

“We believe that our coalition is the first in the state to pull together the public and private sector leadership countywide to address these problems.  As such, we have an opportunity to serve as a model for other communities,” Nehring added. “Public safety is the most important part of what we do as elected officials, and all of the mayors involved agree that it’s time for a new approach in order to get a better handle on crime and help restore balance to our communities.”

To learn more about the coalition, including a full list of member cities, visit

  1. A good starting point might be deciding which laws will be enforced and which groups will be expected to comply? Fifteen miles to our South, you can be ticketed for jaywalking while standing next to someone shooting up. That level of insanity will only hold up for so long.

    1. Remember when you were a kid and they had the picture of different things and you were supposed to pick the one that wasn’t like the others. First impression just saying.

  2. It does not take much to understand what has lead to the degree of lawlessness and degrading of society. Defunding of police, prosecutors not holding criminals accountable, illegal drugs pouring across our non existing borders. Taxing people out of existence, inflation out of control, a outrageous gas prices, all brought on by failed policies. Coddling criminals is A failure of leadership. Citizens need to vote in people who believe in the constitution and the upholding of laws. Poor choices in government leaders in all three branches have damaged many communities and cities horribly. After how law enforcement has been treated by sections of society, good luck finding recruits. That horse has left the barn. Lesson is elections have consequences. Vote wisely going forward.

  3. We moved here in 2005 and I’ve always felt safe. We have an excellent police force that are trying their best. But now I don’t go far from Edmonds. I’m afraid of being harmed. Our communities have turned into a free for all for homeless drug addicted citizens who are a major danger to themselves and others. They need help but being allowed to live on the streets and continue to victimize home owners, businesses, and private citizens is not the way to deal with this issue. Laws must be changed and enforced. People must be held accountable for their actions. And if that means jail or mandatory inpatient treatment then so be it. As a retired nurse I know that what we’re doing now won’t ever work.

    1. Thank you for your comments. Many times I have reflected on the first learning from my psych nursing experience in college followed by my pediatric experience learnings – humans function best with clear limits on acceptable behavior that are made known and enforced. We continue to fail on both these fronts – being clear in language about behaviors that are acceptable and being clear in enforcing consequences for not abiding within the limits. It is simply not acceptable civil behavior to urinate or defecate in public spaces anywhere. Likewise, it is far less than charitable to ignore someone living in the nightmare of mental illness and allow them to roam streets searching for a way out of their illness on their own. I was living in CA when the changes in mental health treatment began. It was sad then; it is far more than sad now. I, too, am a retired nurse and agree that what we are doing now will never work.

  4. Guns and drugs are a big issue, and both seem to be easy for young people access. Young adults are having a hard time, so let’s ask them for input and go from there.

  5. Call me a “cock eyed optimist” but I think this is a good first step. I commend Mayor Nelson for being a part of it.

  6. I too commend Mayor Nelson for finally taking a step forward on this. His second step should be to determine what legislation our city can enact to further improve public safety and work with our City Council to approve it. We shouldn’t wait for the State to dictate when there is plenty we can do to help ourselves.

  7. While it was a sad, painful process to watch, I also commend our City Council for finally voting to put some teeth in the city code to keep people from being allowed to just camp out in our public parks or common spaces based solely on their demand to do so. I came pretty close to hooking up the camper and heading up to Yost to live for awhile, just to make a point. Progress and baby steps, that’s all it takes to get somewhere.

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