OP-ED: Please join me in supporting
Measure 34-295, the Tigard Police Services Levy
By Margaret Doherty, State Representative, HD-35
In my House legislative district, the city of Tigard is struggling to ensure their police coverage keeps up with population growth and a rising number of police calls. Tigard’s population has grown by almost 15% since 2010, while the number of officers in the police department has decreased by three. Meanwhile, there are many more police calls each day than a decade ago. A related challenge is the rise in calls related to people experiencing a crisis related to mental health, drugs and alcohol, or homelessness.
Tigard’s police department is under-staffed and becoming over-worked. And with budget constraints is nearing a crisis in terms of being able to keep a strong, well-trained team of police officers out in the community to prevent and solve crimes. That puts all of us at risk and threatens to diminish the quality of life that draws us to Washington County and Tigard in the first place.
The Tigard Police Services Levy, Measure 34-295 on our May ballots, addresses this challenge in a sensible and highly focused way. It adds 8 new police officers and enables critically needed training for all Tigard police officers in crisis intervention and de-escalation. I support this levy and believe it warrants your support for the following reasons:
More patrols, safer neighborhoods
Right now the patrol coverage is mostly on major streets. Neighborhoods are not getting enough patrols. Adding just 8 officers is the difference in getting more patrols into neighborhoods and makes us safer.
Increasing police staffing levels helps with the growing workload and means reduced response times, imperative for solving certain crimes and the apprehension of criminals. More police officers also means improved ability to handle multiple urgent calls simultaneously.
Training in crisis intervention and de-escalation
When police receive training to intervene in a mental health crisis, they’re better equipped to successfully de-escalate a situation, resulting in safer and more effective outcomes for all in our community. Funds from the Tigard Police Levy will enable providing advanced, and best-practice based training in crisis intervention and de-escalation to all city police officers. This will allow more people in crisis to receive the mental health interventions they need instead of being locked in jail. This is a safer, more cost-effective, and more humane way for Tigard’s police to handle these difficult situations.
Levy brings vital benefits at a limited cost
With the economic challenges we now face along with our virus response, some are wary of a property tax increase. This levy brings a new yearly expense of about $80 for the average homeowner in Tigard. All things considered, I believe this is a reasonable cost and that it will pay off with significant benefits to Tigard’s community security and business climate.
Please vote YES on 34-295 to help keep Tigard safe and secure.
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