General Government & Public Safety CommitteeCouncil Present:
September 15, 2010
2:00 – 2:55 p.m.
Chair, Ron Lawson, Virgil Clarkson, Cynthia Pratt
Ken Ahlf, Joe Upton, Scott Egger, Carol Litten
Commander Joe Upton, briefed the Committee on the police department’s process for enforcing the City’s law banning fireworks within City limits. In response to a request from Councilmember Pratt, he researched a call from a citizen during the July 4 holiday reporting fireworks in her neighborhood.
Joe noted that most of the calls received during this time period were related to fireworks in surrounding neighborhoods adjacent to Lacey. In relation to the call in question, the call was logged by the dispatcher as Yelm Highway/Rainier Road, instead of the actual street address. Although the fireworks were heard within the City limits, they were discharged in the County.
Joe explained the process for managing citizen calls regarding fireworks disturbances. The dispatcher will ask the caller if they want to be contacted by the police in person, by phone, or no contact. He noted that 90% of the calls are made to report information, and don’t require police contact. If contact is requested, then an officer will respond to investigate, and issue a ticket or warning if warranted. He noted, however, that in compliance with state law, the violation must be witnessed by a police officer.
Joe stated that regarding the call in question, there was a domestic violence call just prior to the fireworks call, which required officers to divert their resources to respond to the domestic all. He added that hundreds of calls are received during the July 4 holiday, and officers prioritize the calls to respond to the most serious first.
Joe stated that the police department has taken additional steps to be proactive, by reminding residents of the new fireworks law in their utility billing, by alerting citizens to the fireworks ban on City reader boards, and by contacting the local newspaper which ran an article on the restrictions. He said participation by HOA organizations is helpful, prior to the holiday, by alerting neighbors at meetings or in mailings, and during the holiday by contacting the police when a violation occurs and relaying to the officer that the message is important. In addition, the fire department promotes public awareness through its newsletter, reader board and in person. Another suggestion involves scheduling officers to visit HOA meetings prior to the holiday to remind residents and answer questions about the fireworks ban.
Deputy Mayor Virgil Clarkson remarked that this issue was discussed in 2002 at the Mayor’s Forum, but there was not enough interest from the other jurisdictions to participate, so Lacey moved forward alone. The fireworks ban would be more effective and easier to enforce if all jurisdictions participated. Joe noted that calls regarding the fireworks discharge have been decreasing 10% each year. He added that the law also restricts the sale of fireworks within city limits.
Committee members thanked Commander Upton for the information and agreed to continue to discuss the idea at intergovernmental meetings. Proposed LMC Revisions for Holding Period for Used Property
Commander Joe Upton requested Council consider amending LMC 5.32.120 to comply with RCW 19.60.055 which regulates the retention of property items purchased by the business. According to RCW 19.60.055, the business must retain the items purchased on the premises for 30 days. According to LMC 5.32.120, the business must retain the items purchased on premises for only four days:
Joe reported there have been two occasions in the recent past where a Lacey second hand dealer purchased a firearm that was sold within a week where later research determined that it was stolen. In accordance to LMC 5.32.120, Section H, the dealer reported the serial number of the firearm to the police department and then retained the property they received for four days. When the police department researched the serial number and discovered it was stolen, the business was contacted so a hold could be placed on the firearm, but discovered the firearm had already been sold. The business satisfied the LMC requirements, but not the state requirements. COUNCILMEMBER PRATT MOVED TO FORWARD A RECOMMENDATION TO FULL COUNCIL TO AMEND LMC 5.32.120 TO EXTEND THE HOLDING PERIOD FOR USED PROPERTY TO 30 DAYS IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH STATE LAW. DEPUTY MAYOR CLARKSON SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED. Extension of IGA for Cooperative Law Enforcement and Mutual Aid Relating to Narcotics Task Force
Ken Ahlf, City Attorney, requested Council authorize the City Manager to sign Amendment No. 1 to the Interlocal Agreement for Cooperative Law Enforcement and Mutual Aid Agreement signed in June of 2006. This Amendment makes no change to the existing Agreement for the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force (Drug Unit) except to extend the term of that Agreement. The current Agreement expires on December 31, 2010. This Amendment will extend the Agreement until December 31, 2011, and provides for automatic renewal of the Agreement for one year terms through December 31, 2014 unless terminated or modified in writing.
Ken stated for a number of years there has existed an Agreement between the Washington State Patrol, Thurston County and the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater for the organization and operation of the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force. Historically, each of the parties has assigned law enforcement personnel to serve within the unit. Also, the City of Lacey has, for some years, been tasked with the responsibility for managing the funds of the unit and employing support personnel. Additionally, a member of the Lacey Police Department has been responsible as the commanding officer of the unit for several years. In 2006, the Agreement was reviewed and prepared in a more comprehensive style. The 2006 Agreement expires at the end of 2010 and therefore there is need for renewal.
Ken noted that one of the parties to the Agreement has reduced their commitment for funding. Therefore, the parties will need to continue to examine their relationship. From a policy standpoint, narcotics enforcement needs to be regional.
The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force has been a very effective organization and this Agreement will allow its continuance.DEPUTY MAYOR CLARKSON MOVED TO FORWARD A RECOMMENDATION TO FULL COUNCIL TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY MANAGER TO SIGN AN AMENDMENT TO THE IGA FOR COOPERATIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND MUTUAL AID RELATING TO NARCOTICS TASK FORCE. COUNCILMEMBER PRATT SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED.